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Lightning 368 Open at Winsford Flash Sailing Club

by Duncan Cheshire 22 Apr 16:45 BST 13 April 2024

A visiting fleet of 11 boats joined the 3 local boats for the opening Lightning 368 Travellers event of 2024 at Winsford Flash Sailing Club in Cheshire.

Fortunately, the recent stormy winds had calmed down leaving us with a decent 9kts breeze from a South Westerly direction. Not the best wind direction for Winsford Flash, as competitors soon discovered the shifty nature of the gusts. The race officers got us under way for one race before a hearty warm lunch and two back-to-back races after lunch.

Race 1

The committee boat was the favoured end of the start line, however the winds further up the course favoured the middle to the left, keeping away from the wind shadow of the right hand side. Jeremy Cooper, Tony Jacks along with locals Duncan Cheshire and Clayton Parker had stayed left for longer before tacking onto the port lay line. That paid off, keeping them ahead of others who had tacked earlier to get to the starboard lay line.

A short reach across the lake and then a second beat up the lake. Duncan passed ahead of Simon Hopkins who was catching up, but in tacking to cover he rolled too far to leeward and hit Simon's mast with his! After completing his 720, Jeremy, Tony and Simon were disappearing down towards the leeward mark, and Bryan Westley along with Clayton Parker and Caroline Hollier were leading the chasing pack.

On the second lap, Jeremy increased his lead, Simon and Tony were having a battle for second place and Caroline and Ian Ranson were working their way through the fleet. Duncan was not making his local knowledge count and was picking bad shifts and getting overtaken by those making better decisions.

At the finish it was Jeremy 1st, followed by Simon, Tony and Caroline. The remaining fleet was well spread out over the race course, so in the interest of getting everyone off the water quickly for lunch, the Race Office sent the rescue boat round the fleet with the Whiskey Flag!

Race 2

The wind had increased a notch or two after lunch (but still from the notorious shifty directions). Bryan decided not to risk sinking his boat, realising after the 1st race that the reason he was being overtaken was the fact he'd sprung a leak! Again, the middle of the lake / left side was favourite, and again Jeremy was first to the windward mark followed by Tony, Duncan and Caroline.

Duncan squeezed past Tony on the reach and managed to stay just behind Jeremy until the broad reach to the leeward mark. On the second lap, Caroline picked the best shifts and got ahead of Duncan and Tony into 2nd place. On the broad reach to the leeward mark it was a case of being in the right place at the right time and making the most of the gust that came through. Simon was able to catch a great gust and stay with it, making ground on the leaders and jumping from 7th to 3rd.

On the next lap the gusts got a little stronger and Tony was hit by a shifty gust causing him to capsize and allowing Caroline and Duncan to pass. Positions at the finish were: 1st Jeremy (again), followed by Caroline, Simon, Duncan and Tony.

Race 3

Race 3 followed immediately after the finish to race 2. The gusts were up another notch or two, allowing for some planing fun before the start. Although a few of the boats didn't manage to keep their masts pointing at the sky and resulted in a few retiring before or shortly after the start. Most of the visitors had now learned that the right bank was not the place to be and kept to the middle of the race track. Simon was 1st to the windward mark followed by Tony, Duncan and Jeremy.

Tony and Simon were trading places for the lead, and Jeremy was able to work his way towards the front too. Further back, Duncan clipped a mark and completed his 360 allowing Ian to get within touching distance, too close in fact and Ian was next to do turns, allowing Caroline to pass.

There were some close battles up the final beat to the finish where Jeremy claimed his 3rd win of the day (very impressive), followed by Tony, Simon, Duncan and Caroline.

Prize Giving:

  • 1st Place = Jeremy Cooper (410) - Shotwick SC
  • 2nd Place = Tony Jacks (444) - Bartley SC
  • 3rd Place = Simon Hopkins (428) - Up River SC
  • 1st Silver Fleet = Duncan Cheshire (416) - Winsford Flash SC
  • Mid-Fleet Hero = Steven Hodgson (402) - ex Denholme SC
  • 1st Junior = Clayton Parker (257) - Winsford Flash SC
  • 2nd Junior = Georgie Parker (298) - Winsford Flash SC
  • 3rd Junior = Elanwy Hopkins (167) - Chase SC

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm NameClubR1R2R3Pts
1410Jeremy CooperShotwick SC‑1112
2444Tony JacksBartley3‑525
3428Simon HopkinsUp River2‑335
4438Caroline HollierWOSC42‑56
5416Duncan CheshireWFSC‑6448
6441Ian RansonBolton SC5‑6611
7257Clayton ParkerWFSC77(DNC)14
8402Stephen HodgsonTBC‑88715
9228Steve AshtonShotwick SC‑1211819
10298Georgina ParkerWFSC109(DNC)19
11334Allison HopkinsChase1110(DNC)21
12407Bryan WestleyChase9(DNC)DNC24
13175Spencer HopkinsChase1312(DNC)25
14167Elanwy HopkinsChase1413(DNC)27

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