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North Sails Streaker Northern Paddle Series concludes

by Ian Priest 25 Oct 2019 00:18 PDT 19 October 2019

The final event of the North Sails sponsored Streaker Northern Paddle series took place on Saturday 19th October at Elton Sailing Club. The series ran across much of the north of England and part of Scotland encompassing a planned total of 16 one-day open meetings.

The most northerly event was East Lothian, the most southerly Tamworth, Hornsea was the furthest east and Shotwick the furthest West. Unfortunately two events were completely lost to the weather, Shotwick because of too much wind and Leigh & Lowton because of none at all. A total of 74 different sailors competed in the series, and 15 completed enough races to qualify.

The series started in mid March with 10 boats in an event at Tamworth sailing club, sailed in very light winds and was also the northernmost event of the Southern Paddle Series. Debbie Degge from Bartley Sailing Club won the open meeting, with a number of series frontrunners also scoring their first points here. The following Saturday, the travelling sailors headed north to Ripon for the second event. Ripon has the largest fleet of Streakers in the country, and this combined with a good number of travellers was the best attended event of the season with 24 boats. This event was won by local sailor Mike Eggleston.

Easter, and some very strong winds causing the cancellation of the event at Shotwick meant a longer than expected wait for the next event, a new venue for the class at Annandale Sailing Club. Phil Manning took his first open meeting win of the season here in a ten boat fleet, the first time he showed his intent to claim the overall series title with two first places and a second. It was also good to see a number of new faces from Scotland and the far north of England joining in the fun on the Streaker circuit for the first time.

Events at Hornsea and Hykeham followed, both well attended with 15 boats competing at each. Alan Gillard (Sheffield Viking SC) won the Hornsea open meeting, and soon to be national champion Martin Penty (Beaver SC) the Hykeham event. Martin then took the long trip up to East Lothian to join the Scottish fleet for the event there which was also the Scottish National Championship. His effort was rewarded though with another event win, and already at this early stage was starting to stake his claim on the overall series.

Following a break in the series to make room for the National Championships, the series resumed at Burwain in mid June. This event was won by Steve Blackburn (West Lancs YC), closely chased by Phil Manning. South Windermere was next, won by Phil Manning, and then a couple of weeks later the fleet headed to Manning's home club, Delph. At this was also the Northern Championships, this event attracted most of the front-runners in the series and was very closely contested. A bit of local knowledge was just enough to give Phil the edge over Martin Penty at this event, which incredibly was also the first time the top two series contenders had raced against each other in an open meeting that year.

Delph was also the first of three very windy events, which goes to show that even in the middle of summer there is plenty of wind to be found at the right venues. The second of these was at Pennine Sailing Club, an event again dominated by Phil Manning. After a short break for the summer holidays, the series resumed at Scaling Dam. Scaling Dam has a reputation for being windy and this year was no exception being the windiest event of the year where races were sailed.

Despite the wind, the Scaling Dam event had incredibly close racing, and was eventually won on a three way tie break by Neil Dyer from Hykeham Sailing Club. Neil later discovered this was rather an expensive victory as the wind had taken its toll on his mast, which was no longer straight when he came take it out of the boat and explained why the boat had been going rather better on one tack than the other.

Unfortunately the event at Scaling had used up all the wind for early September, and the event the following weekend at Leigh & Lowton had to be abandoned with no races sailed due to a lack of wind. More normal conditions resumed for the next series event at Welton SC, which attracted 14 boats. Local sailor Dave Smith won that event, with newcomer to the class Phil Priestley (Yorkshire Dales SC) showing his intent for the series next year by taking second place. The penultimate event was at Yeadon SC, where Steve Blackburn dominated the event with three first places, a result which also put him in the running for the overall series title.

Going into the final event at Elton with a highly competitive 22 boat fleet, the overall positions at the top of the fleet were very close. Phil Manning and Martin Penty were separated by just one point, and Steve Blackburn only a few points further behind. Any one of them could have still won the series at this point, and all three were there to compete in this final event. None of these three front runners managed to improve on their series score in the first two races at Elton, one of which was won by Alan Gillard and the other by Veronica Falat.

A win for Martin Penty in the final race however, was enough for him to tie on points with Phil Manning for first place, and take overall victory from Phil on the tie break. This meant that Martin had completed the highly prized "treble" of winning the National Championships, the Inland Championships and his local Northern Paddle Series for 2019.

At the series prize-giving, as well as the usual prizes for the top three places, all qualifiers for the series were presented with an exclusive Streaker Class branded cool bag, ideal for keeping lunch (or beer) cool in when travelling to future events.

The final, and most valuable prize of the series was then drawn. This was a brand new sail from North Sails, the winner for which was selected from a prize draw. Every race entry in the series 'bought' one raffle ticket, and a single winning ticket then picked at random. The lucky winner this year was Andrew Hague from Ripon Sailing Club.

Full results for the Northern Paddle Series can be found at www.streaker-class.org.uk/index.asp?selection=ResultsDetail&rid=124

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