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Noble Marine Streaker National Championship at the WPNSA

by Veronica Falat & Alan Gillard 12 Jun 03:04 PDT 7-9 June 2019

32 Streaker sailors headed to the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy for the 2019 Noble Marine Streaker National Championships and those that rigged up on the Thursday afternoon enjoyed pleasant sunshine and blue sky. Those that arrived on Friday morning were greeted with pouring rain and strong wind!

Conditions did not look promising but, at the briefing, Race Officer Paul Jackson said he expected the wind to ease and, because the forecast was for even stronger winds on the Saturday, he hoped to run 3 rather than 2 races on Friday afternoon.

The Race Officer was right. By the time the fleet launched for a 1 pm start the sun was out and the wind had moderated enough for most people to give it a go. Because of the need to get 3 races in, the starts were under the U flag to make sure we were well behaved on the line. Each race consisted of two laps, the first a triangle, the second a windward-leeward, with a target time of 50 minutes and this worked very well. The wind was a south-easterly, gusting over 20 knots, and even in Portland Harbour there were good waves to surf down. And it was sunny - at least for the first two races.

Race 1

Alan Gillard won the battle for the committee boat end and was able to tack away to the right towards Portland. Tom Gillard, Steve Blackburn, Martin Penty and Phil Manning were all in attendance as they converged at the windward mark. Tom rounded 1st followed by Alan, Martin, Phil and Steve.

Alan slipped to 5th by the leeward mark. On the 2nd beat Tom disappeared into the distance while Martin led the chasing group followed by Steve. Alan passed Phil to regain 4th and these positions were held to the finish. 5th was Phil Manning.

Race 2

It was the pin end that was favoured and Alan, along with newcomer to the Streaker class Chris Jones, recognised this. Alan crossed the fleet on port and Tom was quick to join his father heading towards Portland again. These two were 1st and 2nd around the windward mark. Martin Penty rounded 3rd and passed Alan down the 1st reach to the gybe mark. Tom again had built up quite a lead by the time the chasing few had rounded the leeward mark for a 2nd lap. But the 2nd beat was where disaster struck, as Tom's mainsail parted company from the halyard and was slowly coming down the mast. Tom was nothing but quick in his actions as he capsized his Streaker, swam to the top of the mast, retied the halyard to the top of the sail and then re-righted the boat before hoisting sail and carrying on in the race. He probably slipped to 6th or 7th after this. At the next windward mark Martin led from Alan and Steve. But close behind was Tom on a charge to recover places lost. Martin extended his lead to win the race comfortably. Alan was hoping to retain 2nd place but Tom pipped him to the leeward mark to take 2nd at the finish followed by Alan and then Steve Blackburn. James Dawes headed the rest of the fleet to take 5th.

Race 3

By now the sky had clouded over and it was starting to rain. The forecast had suggested the breeze would fade but it stayed strong for the entire race.

From the start it paid to get over to the Portland side of the course early and again Tom and Alan were 1st and 2nd at the windward mark. The usual faces of the day were again in attendance but also included Neil Firth who rounded 3rd closely followed by Martin and Steve. Tom again disappeared into the distance; Alan held on to 2nd until the last 25 metres of the final run to the leeward mark. In trying to defend his position he made a mess of a gybe, which let Martin through and then Steve came through them both. Steve grabbed 2nd with millimetres in it from Martin 3rd and Alan settling for 4th. Neil Firth took a well deserved 5th.

Day one over, some tired exhausted sailors headed back to shore at WPNSA.

On Saturday we congregated in the cafeteria to watch the wind readings on the wall display. With average wind speeds well over 20 knots and gusts reaching 38, the RO gave us an hour's postponement to see if things improved. The wind was now out of the west so, from WPNSA, we were looking at the backs of waves in the harbour but even so there was plenty of white water to be seen. Momentarily there seemed to be a lull - but the wind filled in again with a vengeance and it was decided to abandon racing for the day and fit 3 races (instead of 2) into Sunday's programme.

Overnight the wind died down and Sunday provided very different conditions. In sunshine and a light, shifty westerly, the fleet set sail. Again, the races were held under the U flag and consisted of the triangle/w-l course.

Race 4

Martin Penty dominated this race. He worked the left-hand side of the course on the first beat and arrived at the first mark in the lead. Brenda Hoult, Veronica Falat and Steve Blackburn were next to get there having played the shifts up the middle of the beat. Things hadn't gone so well for the Gillards; they arrived in the following bunch and found it hard to get clear on the long downwind legs. Eventually Martin finished first, Steve overtook Brenda to come 2nd and Tom Gillard was 4th just ahead of Veronica.

This meant that Martin now held a slender one-point lead over Tom.

Race 5

This followed a similar pattern to race 4. The wind was still light and shifty and it was crucial to play the shifts well or just be lucky! Martin and Steve were the leaders with Veronica also going well, following them round in 3rd place. Again Tom was back in 4th. Lawrence Creaser was 5th.

Things were now looking difficult for Tom and very encouraging for Martin who was 3 points ahead, while Steve was only 1 point behind Tom.

Race 6

This time it was Steve who led throughout. Veronica and Martin were close behind on the 1st lap. On the 2nd, Veronica dropped back and by the finish Tom had moved up to 3rd place but this must have been of little consolation to him as Martin had now done enough to take the championship and in fact, Steve's race win pushed Tom down into 3rd place overall.

Alan Gillard had retired from this race but had already done enough to come 4th overall, 1 point ahead of Veronica who had moved up to 5th from 9th after the first day.

Elsewhere in the fleet there were other good battles. Neil Firth was the 1st of the North Sails Silver Fleet sailors, with Paul Grace 2nd and Ian Bradley 3rd; these three were presented with North Sails vouchers.

The only two female sailors, Brenda Hoult and Veronica Falat, had been extremely close throughout the first 4 races, whether the wind was strong or light, but Veronica finished ahead thanks to good results in the final two races.

The winners of the Altogether Shield for the best club team were Veronica and her team-mates, Mark Langston and Pete Matthews, from Waveney & Oulton Broad Y.C.

It was particularly good to see 3 boats competing for the trophy for boats over 15 years old and, despite the tough conditions on the first day, the winner was the oldest boat in the fleet, the 34-yr old 'Nik Nak' (sail no. 1296) which won the championships back in 1986. Her current owner is James Harcourt from Sutton Bingham SC.

The race management had been excellent to enable 6 of the scheduled 7 races to be completed and the class would like to thank everyone at WPNSA for their positive attitude and helpfulness. It was a super event.

Thank you also to our sponsors Noble Marine Insurance, Rooster Sailing and North Sails.

It had certainly been a Championship of two halves. Tom Gillard had been outstanding in the windy conditions of Friday and everyone had been in awe of his recovery from gear failure in race 2 but in the end it was Martin Penty's consistency that won through. Steve Blackburn also sailed extremely well on both days to take 2nd spot.

So, Tom's 7-year hold on the Championship title has come to an end but this makes the prospect of next year's Championship all the more exciting. Only 12 months to go - game on!

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Streaker nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmDivisionClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1982 Martin PentygoldBeaver SC21‑31127
2nd1942 Steve BlackburngoldWest Lancs. YC3‑4222110
3rd2111Single Use PlasticTom GillardgoldSheffield Viking SC121‑44311
4th1961 Alan GillardgoldSheffield Viking SC434117(RET)29
5th1972PickleVeronica FalatgoldWaveney & Oulton Broad YC89‑1153530
6th1977White SatinNeil FirthsilverBanbury SC965‑2491342
7th2112 James DawesgoldRedditch SC657‑18111443
8th1995Pen‑a‑lopePhil ManninggoldDelph SC51496‑161044
9th1975Lady GodivaBrenda HoultgoldHayling Island SC7814313(RET)45
10th1887 Paul GracesilverChipstead SC111512‑238753
11th2121Phantom PharmacistIan BradleysilverOuse Amateur SC1713(DNC)106854
12th1923 Lawrence CreasergoldHayling Island SC(DNC)DNC685457
13th1681ScoundrelRupert SmithgoldNewhaven & Seaford SC137819‑281764
14th1920RevenantMark LangstonsilverWaveney & Oulton Broad YC1211181510‑2566
15th2106 Ian PriestgoldRipon SC1616‑2116121171
16th1901Ecto‑1Matthew WhitfieldsilverTamworth SC151216‑20141673
17th1922 Chris Jones Sutton Bingham SC101015‑26261980
18th1783RaptorAlan BennettsilverStaunton Harold SC2521(DNS)1217681
19th1777SamanthaHoward FrearsilverSutton Bingham SC2418(DNC)7201584
20th1611 Ceri ThomassilverBroadstairs SC14231021‑252088
21st1618PaxoDavid ButlersilverWelton SC21(DNS)DNS9181294
22nd1808 Peter HeyessilverWhitstable YC19191717‑232294
23rd2109HermionePhil HalldronsilverDowns SC232013‑29221896
24th1654SkippyPeter MatthewssilverWaveney & Oulton Broad YC26(RET)DNS14219104
25th1844 Chris SmithsilverIsland Barn Reservoir SC181720‑272426105
26th1958 Simon HerringtonsilverDowns SC22221928‑3221112
27th1870 Peter AngwinsilverBurghfield SC29(DNS)DNS221923127
28th1296Nik NakJames HarcourtsilverSutton Bingham SC2025(DNS)312924129
29th1953EliseAlex ReindorpsilverChipstead SC(DNC)DNCDNC1315DNS130
30th1490 Mark TinklersilverBurghfield SC272422‑323028131
31st1568ErikaJonathan BlankleysilverBeccles Amateur SC28(DNS)DNS2531UFD152
32nd1845 Sam HoodsilverCotswold SC(DNS)DNSDNS302727152
33rd1716 Paul Noblesilver (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC170

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