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Noble Marine 2022 YY - LEADERBOARD

Noble Marine Lightning 368 Northern Championship at Shotwick Lake Sailing

by John Butler 15 Jun 06:36 BST 11 June 2022

After their first foray into Wales for the Bala Easter Regatta, Lightning 368 sailors again ventured marginally across the border into Wales for the Noble Marine Lightning 368 Northern Championship at Shotwick Lake Sailing near Chester on Saturday 11th June.

The day dawned on a bright, sunny but windy morning, with the breeze building throughout the day to Force 5-6 gusts that severely tested the 14 competitors, and resulted in some blasting reaches, multiple spectacular wipe-out capsizes, and the two rescue boats seeing plenty of action.

In Race 1 it was Simon Hopkins who led round the windward mark, closely followed by Duncan Cheshire and Jeremy Cooper. There was a big gaggle of boats some 50 metres back who rounded the mark together, which made for a lot of close quarters manoeuvring in the difficult conditions.

Ceri James emerged from the chasing pack, whilst on the 2nd beat Duncan got stuck in irons and dropped back into the bunch. Simon cleared off into the distance with Jeremy struggling to keep up, but once Duncan sorted himself out he clawed back to 2nd again, only to lose out to Jeremy on the final lap. In the battle of the locals, Mark Heaton managed to displace Ceri, the two finishing 4th & 5th respectively.

After a break for lunch, and multiple post mortems on the rigours, thrills & spills of sailing in a heavy breeze, a reduced number of boats headed down the lake in a cloud of spray to start the final two back-to-back races.

Once again, in Race 2, Simon won the pin end starting battle and proceeded to clear off into the distance. Jeremy started on Simon's transom with Ceri & Duncan dicing it out as they tacked upwind. Meanwhile Tony Jacks and Mark were having their own private battle further back.

Jeremy was heading Ceri until he capsized, letting a few of the other chasing boats through. These included Duncan, who planed past Mark offwind. Ceri consolidated 2nd, with Mark taking Duncan on the last beat, and Jeremy could only manage 5th. Caroline Hollier, sporting a 5.7m2 smaller rig, found it no disadvantage in the conditions and got up to 6th by the finish as the wind increased further.

In the final race there were some surprising developments. The wait for the final contest was mercifully short, and Duncan got the best of the start, forcing Simon to duck below him. Once through Duncan's lee, Simon for once didn't do a disappearing act, and had Duncan close on his transom at the top mark.

On the 2nd beat Duncan got stuck in irons, but then when the wind moderated for a short while Tony sliced up from the mid-field to second. Meanwhile, Ian Ranson, who was late getting to the start line after capsizing, astounded everybody by racing up from last to 3rd as the heavy breeze resumed.

Simon finally disappeared away up front in his usual fashion with the increase in wind strength, whilst behind Tony & Ian it was Ceri, Mark & Duncan having a battle royal. Ceri held out for 4th, Duncan got through to 5th and Mark upheld his advantage over Jeremy.

All in all it was a challenging and exhausting day for all the competitors, except for Simon who sailed serenely to record a dominant victory overall with his 3 bullets. In the battle to be the best sailor from the home club, it was Ceri who took the overall honours in 2nd from Jeremy in 3rd, with Duncan 4th.

Next up in the Noble Marine Travellers Trophy Series is the Lord Birkett Trophy Weekend on 2nd/3rd July, when the Lightning 368 Class will have a fleet status in the prestigious multi-class long distance handicap event on Ullswater.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st428Simon HopkinsUp River YC‑1112
2nd87Ceri JamesShotwick SC‑5246
3rd410Jeremy CooperShotwick SC25‑77
4th438Duncan CheshireWindsford Flash SC34‑57
5th331Mark HeatonShotwick SC43‑67
6th444Tony JacksBartley SC‑8729
7th441Ian RansonBolton SC7(DNF)310
8th438Caroline HollierWOSC66(DNF)12
9th407Bryan WestleyAldridge SC‑98816
10th433John ButlerSutton in Ashfield SC(RET)9918
11th417Jason GallagherDenholme SC10(DNF)DNS25
12th402Stephen HodgsonDenholme SC11(DNS)DNS26
13th228Ian PostingsShotwick SC(DNF)DNSDNS30
13th439Judith StrattonWest Kirby SC(DNF)DNSDNS30

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