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End of Season Lightning 368 Open at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club

by John Claridge 12 Nov 2018 11:07 GMT 10 November 2018

The final event of the season for the Lightning 368 class was held at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club, with the results to the Traveller Series very much depending on the outcome.

Penny Yarwood had been in the lead most of the year and only needed one good result, but her closest rival Robert Claridge needed three wins to overtake her. The results were close all the way down the fleet with third-place position Caroline Hollier also under threat from John Claridge.

Traditionally a no wind venue, the weather gods decided to make it more interesting this year, with the first race starting in about a force 3 to 4 breeze. Robbie, Penny and Simon Hopkins battled it out for the lead, with Jason Gallagher, Sophie Kitchen and Caroline not far behind. Robbie pulled out a good lead over Simon who in turn was well ahead of Penny, and it really looked as if this was how it would stay. However the fore-mentioned weather gods had other ideas. From apparently nowhere, torrential rain and 40 knot gusts shifting all over the place turned the race into a survival course. There were capsizes all over the lake, but John made the most of this catching Penny and putting Simon under pressure. Then, just as quickly as it got up, the wind reverted back to a force three, allowing Robbie to take the win and Penny and John to overtake Simon at the last mark to take a second and third with Simon fourth and Caroline who also was one of the few who had not capsized 5th.

After a very welcome lunch break, the fleet returned to the course not knowing what to expect, however the gods had had that bit of fun and the wind remained an almost pleasant 3 to 4. Penny lead Robbie round the first mark, but again he managed to break away, with Penny a comfortable second, but the race for third between John, Caroline, Simon, Jason and Sophie was hotly contested all around the course, but eventually finished in that order.

The back-to-back final race, again saw what seemed inevitable, with Robbie working his way clear of the fleet after yet another epic battle with Penny, who certainly hadn't thrown in the towel. Simon who had consistently made some of the best starts, only to be at times almost cruelly overtaken, salvaged a good third place, with Jason fourth, John 5th and Caroline sixth.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st429Robbie ClaridgeRoyal Lymington YC‑1112
2nd425Penny YarwoodUp River YC‑2224
3rd427John ClaridgeRoyal Lymington YC33‑56
4th428Simon HopkinsUp River YC4‑537
5th413Caroline HollierWest Oxfordshire SC54‑69
6th417Jason GallagherDenholme SC‑66410
7th92Sophie KitchenWest Oxfordshire SC‑107714
8th435Ben TwistBroadstairs SC7‑9815
9th110Ian RansonBolton SC‑98917
10th407Bryan WestleyChase SC8‑111018
11th422Andrew GriffinSevern SC‑11101121
12th430Graham LazellUp River YC(DNF)121224
13th49Mark GoddenWest Oxfordshire SC(DNF)DNSDNS28

With the season over Robbie has stolen the travellers series from Penny by 1 point and Caroline comfortably held on in 3rd despite a late charge by John. Finishing 5th overall Jason retained the Silver Fleet trophy.

Gold Fleet
1st - Robbie Claridge
2nd - Penny Yarwood
3rd - Caroline Hollier

Silver Fleet
1st - Jason Gallaher
2nd Matt Pickett
3rd Jeremy (Germany) Cooper


Robbie was on unbeatable form, and Penny certainly showed why she had led the series all season, it was a great spectacle for all those watching from further down the fleet to see them battle it out in every race. John proved to be the best of the rest at the meeting, But did not do enough to overtake a consistent Caroline.

In all a brilliant event and a fitting climax to the season, as always West Oxford sailing club did a great job, and for those who stayed for the fantastic fish and chip supper, and consumption of all the alcoholic prices had a great evening. Unfortunately although hotly contested, nobody was able to win the prize for guessing where Jason had put his car key.

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