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Noble Marine 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Noble Marine Lightning 368 Sea Championships at the Lymington Town Sailing Club Dinghy Regatta

by John Butler 16 Jul 2019 11:46 BST 13-14 July 2019

With both John and Robbie Claridge not racing Lightnings on their home water, there was a chance for mere mortals to show their mettle, with seven contenders making the journey down to the South Coast.

The racing took place on a quadrilateral course on both days, with reasonable force three northerly winds on the Saturday, although the change of the strong tide after race 2 led to some complications in the final race of the day.

Race 1

John Butler had the best start but was soon overhauled by both Jeremy Cooper and Caroline Hollier who rounded together, with John and Ben Twist in close contention behind. Ben then rapidly pulled through to challenge Caroline, who had passed Jeremy on the short reach and long run.

Up the beat Ben then overtook Caroline, whilst Jeremy took the lead again and pulled away to an unassailable lead. At the top mark Ben was ahead of Caroline, but she reeled him in again downwind, and when Ben was baulked by two boats from the prior-starting medium handicap fleet at the bottom mark, Caroline slipped through to take second from Ben.

Race 2

It was an even spread this time at the starboard end of the line, and at the windward mark Jeremy was ahead again with John and Jason Gallagher battling it out for second. Meanwhile Caroline was recovering from fifth and got through to second on the run. Ben then moved ahead of John and Jason, and John had to backtrack on the second beat as he forgot the gate mark, got caught on port by Peter Withrington, and had to do a 720 penalty. At the end, Jeremy was well ahead of Caroline, with Ben third. Meanwhile, further down the order, Bryan Westley lost his hat!

Race 3

By the time of the third race, the tide had turned and became a major factor.

Jeremy started at the port end despite having a contretemps with a large sailing cruiser that interfered with the start. John started mid-line and the rest of the fleet at the starboard end.

Jeremy crossed the whole fleet on port, then tacked and leebowed the tide to the windward mark in one go, followed at a distance behind by John who also crossed the fleet on port, with Jason, Ben and Caroline immediately behind. All the others caught up on the run and passed John, but then he envisioned what might happen at the turning mark and went up-tide west towards Hurst Castle, which proved to be a savvy move.

The Lightnings caught the majority of the medium handicap fleet on the run when the wind dropped, and then both fleets eventually arrived at the first leeward turning mark against the strong tide which turned into a shouting, banging melee of 30 or so boats.

Jeremy emerged ahead whilst Jason found a gap in the logjam, but the real winner was John who sailed a circle around the whole mess to move up to third by the finish.

With less wind on the Sunday, combined with a change of wind direction to the North East, the usual ripping ebb tide made it a more challenging day throughout for all concerned.

Race 4

John started clear of the rest at the port end in the lesser tide, but over-stood the mark by a mile, whilst most of the fleet went up the centre. Of them, Ben went left like John, but judged the lay line to the mark correctly and rounded first with Jeremy behind him. Some way back, Caroline rounded fifth after a few short hitches to get around the windward mark against the strong ebb tide, a fate suffered by most of the rest of the fleet. Caroline then made huge gains downwind, followed by passing Ben up the second beat.

Jeremy's boatspeed from the first day failed to materialise and so he never managed to gain on Ben. As for the rest of the fleet, including Bryan, it was big time frustration trying to round the windward mark with a failing breeze. Peter Withrington had a good race, passing John and Jason upwind to notch up a fourth, but in the lighter stuff it was Caroline who cleaned up despite not having the best of starts.

Race 5

John started mid-line this time in clear air, but remembered to work the left centre like Ben and they rounded together in a gaggle, together with Jason, who then passed both John and Ben downwind.

Jason was seemingly distracted on the second beat, and staying middle right in the tide, but with more wind, John pulled away and judging the approach to the windward mark correctly, slipped around whilst others struggled, and got well clear. Behind him Ben kept his consistency, but Jason faded badly, allowing Jeremy to nip in for third with Caroline a distant fourth.

Race 6

The fleet all started at the committee boat end, with Ben continuing up the shore side whilst others tacked relatively early into the stronger tide. Ben was well clear at the first mark, with Jeremy in hot pursuit, but behind him it was tight racing between Jason, John and Caroline. Caroline pulled clear offwind, but not sufficiently to catch Jeremy until he touched the windward mark on the last lap. Caroline closed whilst Jeremy took his penalty turn, then promptly touched the mark herself and joined in the turning game. Jason faded again at the end, and that let John get him on the line for fourth.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st117Jeremy Cooper111‑3328
3rd413Caroline Hollier22‑514312
4th433John Butler4‑6351417
5th417Jason Gallagher552‑65522
6th442Peter Withrington‑74446624
7th407Bryan Westley677(DNF)DNCDNC36

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