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Allen Brothers Lightning 368 2019 Inland Championship at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club

by John Butler 11 Nov 2019 14:59 GMT 9 November 2019

A hardcore group of 13 intrepid Lightning 368 sailors made their way to West Oxfordshire SC on Saturday 9th November for the Allen Brothers Lightning 368 Inland Championship. It was the finale of the class's racing season, and also the final set of races in the Noble Marine Lightning 368 Travellers Trophy Series.

The troupe of regular travellers came from as far afield as Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool, Chester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Walsall, Lymington and across from Essex to join the locals. National Champion Robbie Claridge also made an appearance, but not a sailing one as he was sidelined due to a recurring severe hip injury.

It was a sunny icy start for most as they rigged their boats, and with the Yorkshire contingent severely delayed on the M1 due to an overturned lorry, there was a group effort to get them onto the water in time for the first race once they arrived.

Dead on cue at the first race start time of 11.30am the forecasted heavy icy rain started, and lasted all day and into the following night. The rain certainly dampened what what appeared to be a keen Force 3 morning breeze, and the wind gradually decreased throughout the day. All the competitors headed into the clubhouse after the first race for a welcome lunch break, and more importantly to regain feeling in their cold fingers and toes.

In Race 1, local sailor Caroline Hollier was first to the windward mark followed by Simon Hopkins, with Penny Yarwood and Jeremy Cooper in hot pursuit. Penny quickly passed Simon, then set off in pursuit of Caroline who had established a good sized gap to the rest. Penny eventually overtook Caroline, but Caroline's resistance was strong, and she came back at Penny towards the end to really challenge for the lead, whilst further back Simon and Jeremy Cooper swapped places regularly, with Jeremy clinching 3rd.

In the second Race Simon Hopkins had a great start, whilst Yorkshireman Stephen Hodgson also had a good one and they rounded in order metres apart. Penny wasn't far behind and proceeded to pass them both offwind and cleared off into the distance. Meanwhile class builder, John Claridge, stormed past both Simon & Stephen upwind to grab second place, but the fun incident behind them was when Jason Gallagher was challenging Jeremy, then inadvertently lost his tiller extension resulting in him doing a full 360 degree manoeuvre which almost took out Jeremy in the process.

In the final race Penny got to the windward mark first, never to be headed, and extended her lead on every leg. Ian Ranson and Simon drifted around next in a gaggle with Jason & Jeremy, with Ian, Jason & Jeremy then leaving Simon trailing in their wakes. John Claridge then had another great beat, emerging from the pack and surging past all the challenging group except Jeremy, who by then had consolidated 2nd place, with Jason holding off Simon for 4th and Ian fading at the end.

So overall Penny Yarwood became Inland Champion with 3 straight wins, with Jeremy 2nd due to his last race placing, and veteran John Claridge grabbing 3rd.

A special mention must go to 14 year old local sailor James Bull in an older Mk1 boat, who with a 6th place in the final race managed a very creditable 9th overall, and with it secured the Junior Inland Trophy.

Once ashore, all the competitors were treated to a tot of Rum and Mince Pies that has become the tradition for the event. Our grateful thanks must also go to the Club race officers and rescue boat teams who endured a very testing day of inclement and freezing weather out on the lake in open dory boats.

Penny immediately left after the last race to attend a special evening prize giving event back in Essex, so she was presented with her trophy the following day at her home club, Up River YC, by her fellow club member Simon Hopkins.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st425Penny YarwoodUp River YC‑1112
2nd117Jeremy CooperShotwick Lake SC3‑725
3rd429John ClaridgeRoyal Lymington YC‑5235
4th428Simon HopkinsUp River YC43‑57
5th413Caroline HollierWest Oxfordshire SC26‑128
6th417Jason GallagherDenholme SC6‑11410
7th402Stephen HodgsonDenholme SC84‑912
8th441Ian RansonBolton SC‑105712
9th186James BullWest Oxfordshire SC‑118614
10th433John ButlerSutton‑in‑Ashfield SC7‑9815
11th432Chris HillUlley SC9‑101019
12th407Bryan WestleyAldridge SC‑12121123
13th250Sue WeinstockWest Oxfordshire SC13(DNC)DNC27

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