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Noble Marine 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Noble Marine Lightning 368 Open at Cookham Reach Sailing Club

by John Butler 28 Jul 05:48 BST 24 July 2021

Seven visitors joined eight locals for the Cookham Reach SC Open Meeting, part of the 2021 Noble Marine Insurance Lightning 368 Travellers Trophy Series.

All in all, it was a testing time on the River Thames, with light & drifting conditions from an easterly direction making it a frustrating time for all the competitors, with the majority of the large trees on the opposite east bank of the river from the club casting a huge wind shadow.

Those more familiar with the venue often displayed their light wind technique & local knowledge to lead away at the front. Fortunately, after a week or two of no rain, the river current was relatively weak.

In the 1st Race, the fleet drifted off down-current to a turning mark close to Cookham Bridge, in which boats were both beating and running on the same leg within 100 metres of each other. It was only when they cleared the home stretch of trees by plugging back upriver towards Bourne End that there was more certainty about the wind direction.

The leading local sailor, David Phillips, was followed closely by visitors John Claridge & Jeremy Cooper, close tacking on the west bank close to the moored boats, avoiding the trees and weed, with plenty of shouting involved for water to tack. Whilst John faded badly, others made up ground, especially Terry Hunt and Martin Evans, who slipped by into 3rd and 4th respectively. Jeremy eventually overtook David and held the lead to the finish.

The second race provided more of the same, except the race team reversed the figure of eight course, sending the fleet away up-current from the fixed start line. The windward mark was strategically placed close to a large tree on the shore, which made rounding it an interesting experience when a number of boats arrived at the same time.

Whilst the majority favoured a tacking duel up the west bank, Jeremy ventured out into the main river current, and got a lift that accelerated him to the windward mark, never to be headed. Behind him, John worked his way into a comfortable second place, that is until the final lap when Martin and then Terry caught a gust from behind on the final run, and their momentum took them past the hapless and becalmed John to grab 2nd & 3rd at the finish. David had his worst result of the day back in 5th.

For the final race, the race team upped sticks and moved the start line up-current to the stretch of water least affected by interference from trees. The minimal wind dropped to almost nothing, making mark rounding an interesting experience.

From a fantastic start, David Phillips disappeared off into a massive lead, closely hugging the bank, with John a very distant second. John didn't fade this time around, and was never challenged for second. Although mid-fleet for a lot of the race, Terry clawed his way back to 3rd with an impressive display of roll tacking technique, and Jeremy could only muster a 4th place by the end.

With his two straight early wins, Jeremy was a clear winner, but David kept him honest with his last race win.

Fortunately the forecast thunderstorms held off for the whole day, and concentrated their fury a few miles further up the Thames Valley. A big thank you must go to the host club and their volunteers who made the day a success despite the trying wind conditions.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1Jilly Flower410Jeremy CooperShotwick Lake SC11‑42
2Freya259David PhillipsCRSC2‑513
3Buzz427John ClaridgeLymington YC‑8426
4(no name)150Martin EvansCRSC42‑56
5(no name)226Terry HuntNetley SC‑3336
6Synchornicity251Gary AdsheadCRSC5‑8611
7Aurora279Andrew BoxerCRSC6‑9713
8Aurura438Caroline HollierWest Oxfordshire SC97(DNC.16)16
9Fright'ning431Duncan WattsCRSC‑1261117
10Sheeet155Jerome DreuxCRSC7‑111017
11Hangover289Sam HealNetley SC11‑13819
12Oceans Razor417Jason GallagherDenholme SC1010‑1220
13Calculus412Martin ChurchCRSC‑1312921
14Amadou433John ButlerSutton in Ashfield SC1414(DNC.16)28
15(no name)304Nick ReuterCRSC(DNF.16)15DNF.1429

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