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Noble Marine 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Lightning 368 Noble Marine Insurance Travellers Trophy Series at Aldridge Sailing Club

by John Butler 4 Oct 2020 21:16 BST 3 October 2020

The weather forecast was for an extremely wet and windy weekend, and Storm Alex certainly put some visitors off travelling, whilst others were prevented by local lockdown measures in North Wales from making the journey down to the diminutive lake called "The Swag", home of Aldridge SC near Walsall in the West Midlands.

In the end seven Lightning 368 sailors contested the Open Meeting, with 4 visitors joining the locals for a "drownathon", with force 2-3 winds and occasional savage force 4 gusts.

Race 1

Mervyn Berry and John Butler led away from the port end of the start line, crossing the rest, but Caroline Hollier soon overtook John before the windward mark with Jason Gallagher in hot pursuit.

Mervyn held onto the lead, but Caroline's superior downwind speed on the run meant that she closed on Mervyn, whilst Jason got past John at the turning mark. Once past Mervyn, Caroline drew well clear, leaving Jason & Mervyn dicing for second, with Jason eventually getting ahead, but Caroline was out of sight at this stage.

Race 2

John Butler again had a decent start leading up the majority of the 1st leg, but overstood the windward mark letting Caroline and Jason through. Mervyn took John on the reach to the turning mark, and the race looked to be a typical procession at this point.

Caroline went clear, and Mervyn was catching Jason fast on the run. On the next lap Mervyn caught Jason on starboard and Jason hit the mark whilst taking avoiding action. Meanwhile, up front Caroline succumbed to a strong gust and capsized, allowing all the chasing bunch to get past except John.

Whilst Jason was doing his penalty turn, Caroline got past him again and she closed fast on Mervyn on the final run, but he held his nerve to take his maiden win in a Lightning competition, although there was only a second or two in it at the end.

Race 3

Mervyn Berry & local Jim Griffin both had superb port tack starts, with Mervyn consolidating his lead for a complete lap, initially ahead of Jim, with Bryan Westley third.

Jason made short work of the two immediately in front, and rapidly pulled through to second. At the gybe mark, the wind had again increased and Mervyn did a spectacular "splat" capsize whilst attempting to gybe, embedding his mast in the black silt of the lake.

Jason carried on past the upside down Mervyn without gybing, with Jim still in contention, and Caroline steadily making up ground from a long way back to take advantage of Mervyn's misfortune, then passing Jim, who dropped into third.

Mervyn, sporting a very muddy sail, never got back in contention to put Jim under pressure, so the order was maintained to the finish with Jason well ahead of Caroline in the end.

Thanks go to Rear Commodore Sue Cornes and her "drowned rat" race team in what were really challenging conditions.

Overall Results:

1stCaroline HollierWest Oxfordshire SC1‑223
2ndJason GallagherDenholme SC2‑313
3rdMervyn BerryChase SC31‑44
4thJohn ButlerSutton‑in‑Ashfield SC54‑69
4thTom TaylorAldridge SC45(DNC)9
6thBryan WestleyAldridge SC‑66511
6thJim GriffinAldridge SC(DNC)DNC311

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