Lightning 368 Open 2016
The now regular visit to Up River YC in Essex for a training and open weekend coincided with the brief arrival of summer! Seven boats took up the offer of some training on the river and learn the tides. Saturday evening once again lived up to the hype and ended as usual on the jetty at Penny’s house in the early hours of the morning. Nobody was lost during the drunken walk along the river bank.
Sunday dawned even hotter with a nice easterly breeze coming straight up the river. The late start gave time for hangovers to recover and people to arrive and 14 boats took to the water for the first race. Keeping with the tradition started at Manor Park, with Robbie Claridge still without a new boat Lightning number 39 was loaned for the weekend. New compared to LN21 he had sailed at Manor Park and no holes in the hull!
On the first start Simon Hopkins obviously not realising how quick his new Claridge boat is was well over and had to return. The fleet split to the north and south bank for the 2 mile beat up the river against the tide. The charge on the North bank was a mix of Paul White, Paul Beven and Penny Yarwood. South Bank was lead by Spike Daniels and Robbie Claridge and a chasing Simon. Half way down the river the fleet converged on the north bank which on hindsight was the right way to go. The recovering Simon slotted into second just ahead of Paul Beven and Penny. After a nice reach at Brandy Hole Simon had caught Paul W and on the beat to Stow Post slipped passed to take the win with Paul Beven coming in third.
Race 2 started down the river with a beat to Stow Post and this time Spike decided Simon’s advice from the first race was no good and shot off the line into a clear lead followed by Penny and Robbie. Simon found the mud and was out of contention at the start and Paul W recovered from a bad start to be in contention by the first mark back. As they headed back down the river it was Spike ahead of Penny, Paul W but not knowing the river Paul and Penny passed spike to finish in that order.
After tea and cakes the fleet set up for the final race Up the river this time and anyone could still win the meeting. Starting upwind with the falling tide it was a quick sprint to the first mark. Simon, obviously recovered from his exertions in the first race was hot off the line and lead by a considerable margin at the first mark. The fleet rounded together and in the attempt to stay as close to the bank as possible let Simon extend his lead. As the fleet got ‘up river’ Penny and Robbie had broken clear and both briefly challenged Simon but the lead was too much and Simon took the last race ahead of Robbie and the fast finishing Spike.
Overall Simon Hopkins, racing his new Claridge boat for the first time, took the win ahead of Paul White and Robbie Claridge. As usual Up River YC had put on a fantastic event and everyone headed home promising to return in 2017! Next event stays in Essex for the fleet’s first visit to Thorpe Bay YC for the Sea Champs on 28th -29th May.
Click HERE for full results
Lightning 368 Open 2015
Sunday – race day – was a compete contrast to forecast and 19 Lightning sailors sat over breakfast watching the odd zephyr of wind drift across the river. Ever hopeful, the fleet launched for the first of 2 races back to back.
Race one started just as the wind turned off completely leaving most of the fleet wondering how you sail against the tide with no wind. It was locals Ian Gore, Mike Ince, Simon Hopkins and Penny Yarwood who showed them how, whilst John Claridge was the chasing visitor.
On the long run down river with the tide, Ian Gore did the proverbial horizon job never to be caught. Penny put her new boat (delivered that morning to work and sailed through Mike and Simon only to have it all undone when the wind arrived and bought a large portion of the fleet back together. In the resulting chaos of trying to get back up tide to the finish, Penny was the big loser whilst Mike Ince slipped through to second ahead of Simon.
Race 2 was back to back and with a gentle breeze now blowing across the river, the fleet once again headed up tide to the first mark. Hot off the line were Ian, Simon and Ben Harris but making the mistake of staying too far out in the tide.
Hugging the south bank, locals Graham Lazell and Nathan Beven found some private wind and surged forward hotly chased by the ladies Penny, Caroline Key and Sue Thomas. Penny eventually rounded first and Ian joined in the mix just getting ahead of Caroline and Sue. This was the order all the way to the finish with Nathan hanging on for fifth.
After a fine break with tea and cakes provide by Mrs H, the fleet launched for the final race against the flooding tide.
The first beat was easy this time as 5 knots of tide helps your upwind speed. John Claridge was the man on a charge and rounded ahead of Simon, Penny, Ben and Ian. Unfortunately local knowledge at this point paid as John went to the south bank whilst all the locals headed for the North bank. As we drifted down the bank (yes the wind had gone again) much credit was given to John for being the first boat to sail this particular leg all the way along the south bank and still get a creditable sixth place! Meanwhile back on the ‘right’ side of the river Penny and Ben slipped past Simon and Ian by staying out on the tide for longer where there was still a small bit of breeze, with Ian getting inside Simon for third.
With nearly zero wind it was a seriously long run/reach/beat all the way back and several boats had enough and went home.
Ian and Simon caught Ben at the headland as he drifted backward with the tide and demoted him to fourth before the wind arrived again and the whole fleet charged home line abreast, with Ben unlucky to lose out to Paul White on the line.
With two wins, the Open meeting was won by Penny Yarwood, who had taken delivery of her Claridge boat just a couple of hours before the start. Should we all be worried now? Ian Gore took second and Simon came home third.
The fleet retired to the club house where team Hopkins had prepared a lavish spread to feed the weary sailors after a spectacularly good start to the new season.
ClickHERE for full results
Lightning 368 Open 2014
With very little wind promised for Saturday a hopeful 6 boats turned up and went for a play on the river. There was some training but the best game turned out to be chase the beer can which were floating down river faster than we could sail! This was followed by the traditional take away, too much beer; the chairman falling of a bar stool and cutting his leg and a wet night spent on Penny’s yacht listening to the thunder storms roll through.
A Sunday arrived we sat in the club house watching the torrential rain kill the wind dead and wondered if we were actually going to get any racing in at all. However right on cue the sun came out and a breeze picked up. It was patchy over the course and looked to favour the lightweights but we put 12 boats on the water for the first race, new to the class Rob unfortunately having to pack up before he started and go home as his wife was ill.
Race one and joining Paul, Simon and Penny at the front up the beat was Ian Gore, ex Lightning National champion in Mike Ince’s boat. Paul led Ian and Simon round but they made a huge mistake of staying on the south bank. Penny crossed early to the north bank for a substantial lead whilst the early leaders were swallowed up as the pack followed Penny’s course. The long run down the river allowed the light weights through and Ben Harris (back from Canada) in 172 and Paul Beven joined Paul W and Ian to try to chase Penny down. This they failed to do and Penny took a fine win ahead of the two Paul’s, Beven leading White home.
Race 2 was back to back over the same course and the wind was getting lighter. The same 4 culprits were at the windward mark but this time everyone crossed the river not letting Penny through. Paul W and Ian sailed off for their own private battle for the win with honours to Ian. Simon sailed backwards through the fleet as in the first race to allow Penny to take third and Ben to take his second fourth of the day.
After a fine break with tea and cakes provide by Mrs H (worth coming to URYC for this alone) the fleet launched for the final race against the flooding tide. Finally Matt woke up and as the fleet roll tacked up the North bank he sailed through to an early lead. However as with most of his season so far he had to retire as his boat started sinking as the buoyancy tanks filled up. This left Ian and Paul W to battle it out for the race and Open win. Simon bravely fended of Ben for the first lap before a cruel wind shift at the leeward mark allowed Ben to sail up the middle of the river whilst Simon who had rounded first was headed to the bank. Back at the front it looked like Ian had enough to hold Paul off but a slight mistake in crossing the tide let Paul through to take the win and tie them on 1,2 each. Ben led Simon home from Penny.
The open meeting therefore went to Paul White for the third year running with Ian Gore Second and Penny Yarwood third.
Once again a great days sailing with close tactical racing right through the fleet at a club that has the most talented Lightning Sailors in the Class. Maybe that’s why visitors are too scared to come to sail here! Roll on the next event the infamous Sea Camps at Weston SC. One not to be missed but watch out Up River YC will be bringing at least 7 boats!
Click HERE for full results
Comet Open 2013
Six visiting boats joined the single local boat for a day of excitement in rather windy conditions on the upper part of the River Crouch.
For the first race the committee set a short up wind, down wind course. As the wind built before the start Henry Jaggers sensibly didn’t launch, while Clive Chapman capsized and after tasting the River Crouch decided he’d had enough for the day. John Sturgeon was going well, including a brief period in the lead, until a capsize resulted in entanglement with a moored boat and retirement. Andy Dale from Eyott Sailing Club lead the middle part of race, until repeated failed attempts to safely round the up wind mark without gybing put him back to 3rd, allowing Bob Dodds to take the lead which he held to the finish. When Michael Ettershank also had problems at the upwind mark Andy Dale slipped back into 2nd. John Coppenhall gently sailed his boat round the course into a 4th position.
Towards the end of the race the windy built heavily and with the safety boats being too busy to provide a lead boat for the second race the fleet came ashore for a break. With racing taking longer then planned with so many capsizes in both the Comet fleet and Lightning’s, who where also running an open, it was decided to reduce the meeting to 2 races from the planned 3.
The second race started in similar conditions to the first with this time only Andy, Michael, Bob and John Coppenhall lining up for the start. With the course set in different part of river the race officer took the option of including some blistering reaches much to everyone’s enjoyment. This time Michael had a slight lead off the start but was quickly overtaken by Andy during the first beat against the ebbing tide. Unfamiliarity with the local conditions lead both John and Bob to fall back someway at this point but that didn’t last. As the race wore on Michael fell in multiple times and Bob soon overtook to place himself in second. When John capsized at a gybe mark this caused some panic for Michael and Bob, who now had to gybe into a rather small space between the top of John’s mast and the mark.
With no-one showing any sign of getting near Andy, he crossed the line to win the race and the event, followed by Bob in 2nd, Michael in 3rd and lastly John.
1st 788 Andy Dale – Eyott SC
2nd 869 Bob Dodds – Crawley Mariners SC
3rd 84 Michael Ettershank – Up River YC
4th 532 John Coppenhall – Hunt SC
5th 00X John Sturgeon – Hawley Lake SC
6th 500 Henry Jaggers – Beer SC
6th 821 Clive Chapmen – Shearwater SC
Lightning 368 Open 2013
Saturday was meant to be a training day and 3 visitors turned up who obviously had not looked at the weather forecast. With 30kt gusts rolling down the river and an open meeting the following day nobody was keen to risk their boats. After much tea and deliberation it was decide to launch the club Lightning’s and safety boats and go for a blast before the tide disappeared. Great fun was had as everyone switched in and out of the safety boat. Bryan was the stalwart repeatedly testing the water whilst under the instruction of Simon and Paul on his heavy weather technique. But his perseverance was to pay back on the following day.
Sunday dawned much too early with several sore heads and aching limbs from the day before but another visitor tuned up and 11 boats were ready to take to the water for the first race. The RO sensibly kept the racing close to the club house but in the prestart the first casualty was Matt Hopkins whose season’s bad luck continued as his mast converted back to a two piece permanently in a particularly savage gust. This was him out for the day and Chris Abela who had followed him out decided he wanted a boat left for his trip to the Lord Birkett and called it a day also.
Race one started with a short beat to windward and then a bear away for a windward leeward course up and down the river. Simon Hopkins powered off the line and in the short beat managed to open a sizable lead at the windward mark. Surviving the bear away the lightweights followed him round and soon Paul White, Penny Yarwood and Paul Beven were off chasing hard on a dead run down the river. At the leeward mark Paul B had the overlap and rounded ahead of Penny, Paul W & Simon and started the long beat back up the river. Simon moved back in to second by the next windward mark and although there were no more place changes the race was far from uneventful. Credit went to Bryan Westley for keeping the stick in the air for the entire race and coming home a excellent 5th, his best ever open meeting result proving the training the day before did have some benefit.
Race 2 should have been back to back but as race 1 ended with extreme squall conditions and all safety boats being fully occupied it was decided to take an early lunch and see if it was going to be possible to sail later. After about an hour the wind dropped significantly making it only ‘extremely windy’ rather than ‘you must be joking’ windy and it was decided to attempt one more race so there could be a result.
With a long beat up the river against the ebbing tide Simon once again took the lead showing his knowledge of the river and pulled well clear of the chasing pack led by the two Paul’s and Penny. The RO had set an excellent course with spectacularly fast reaches and many gybes to sort the men from the boys. An early casualty was Paul B who went for a swim on the gybe, got washed onto the sea wall and the resultant torn sail ended his challenge after a strong first race. Having pulled out a considerable lead over Paul W the open meeting was Simon’s to lose and almost predictably his first swim in nearly a year just before the last leeward mark let Paul through; who then capsized in sympathy. The open meeting was then to be decided by who could get his boat up first!
This honour went to Paul who had obviously had more practice and Simon had to follow him home thinking he must add capsize recovery to his training routine! Penny battled round to claim third place and third overall ahead of the star of the day Bryan who once again keep it upright to record a new personal best of 4th place and 4th overall at the meeting.
Click HERE for full results
Phantom Open 2013
HERE for full results
Lightning 368 Open 2012
Sunday dawned cloudy with less wind than predicted but the weather gods would not disappoint later on. With only one visitor joining the locals there were 11 boats on the water.
Race 1 started with the club line offering a very port bias, but only Matt Hopkins was brave enough to go for the port flier and as fortune favours the young got away with it. He was chased up the beat by Dad Simon, Paul White and Penny Yarwood with these four soon pulling away into their own private battle. As predictable Simon dropped behind Paul and Penny on the runs and made up on the beats so all four boats stayed in a group. It was Matt kept his nose in front to take the win with Penny keeping closest to the bank on the run for the line to sneak second ahead of Simon and Paul. In the following group Mike Ince and Luke Lazell had their own battle which would continue all day with Mike taking the first round.
Race 2 was sailed back to back and the wind was straighter down the river for this one and a bit stronger.
The wind may have changed but Matt was once again first away and as in the first race it was Simon, Paul and Penny following him round the windward mark. With the wind now really getting up to the F5 predicted and a long run down to Brandy hole the order was turned on its head with most of the fleet keeping the safety boats busy. Paul does what he does best in a big wind and sailed through to the lead with Penny slipping through into third behind Matt. A couple of loops later and Penny struggling in the big winds dropped back which left Paul clear ahead and Simon and Matt fighting for second. It should have gone to Simon but in a moment of brain fade he failed to tack for the line, and Matt suitable punished him to take second by about 4 inches. Mike and Luke continuing their battle reversed the order of the first race with Paul Beven, surviving a hull inspection being the last boat home.
A brief break for tea and cakes saw 9 of the fleet head out into what was now a nasty, shifty, big wind with the tide at full ebb and the prospect of some long beats against the tide to come. To complete the hatrick Matt was once again hot off the line closely followed by Simon and Mike Ince. After some intensive short tacking up the North Bank first round the bend was Matt, Simon and Paul and then it was a long slog to the top of the river. Simon stayed high and managed to sail over Matt to be first at the windward mark before the blast down the river. Matt rounded ahead of Paul and knowing he had to beat Paul for the open meeting stayed in close cover mode leaving Simon to sail his own race.
It stayed in Matt’s favour until the last leeward mark when Penny came charging back to get water inside the pair of them. Being a tight rounding for the first two it allowed Paul and Mike to round cleanly and tack off early to the north bank to get out of the tide. Paul chased Simon up the final beat but 27 tacks later (yes I was counting) Simon held on for the win. Matt put in a major charge to reel in Mike and pinch 3rd on the line with Penny coming in 5th and Luke 6th.
So for the second year running the Up River YC open meeting had two boats tied at the top and Paul White was awarded the meeting on the last race decider. Matt Hopkins had to settle for second but won the Up River Lightning trophy for 2012 and Simon Hopkins came in third. Strangely the race winners were the same as last year just a different order.
Click HERE for full results
Lightning 368 Open 2011