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Streaker Northern Championship at Elton Sailing Club

by Neil Firth 19 Oct 2023 21:25 PDT 7 October 2023
Alan Gillard wins the Streaker P&B Northern Paddle travellers series © Sue Firth

Arriving at Elton Sailing Club for the Streaker Northern Championship, it was immediately apparent that this was going to be a super-competitive event, with the top three helms from the Nationals amongst the visitors rigging their boats for the day's racing. Would this be an opportunity for Alan Gillard (Sheffield Viking SC) or Steve Blackburn (WLYC/Leigh & Lowton SC) to get one over on the reigning National Champion, Martin Penty (Beaver SC)? Or could someone else spoil their party?

The wind looked decidedly absent first thing, but by the time we got to the scheduled 11am start it had filled in enough for some excellent racing, albeit with plenty of opportunity to find the inevitable light spot and watch helplessly as the fleet sailed around you. Of course, these things never seem to happen to National Champions and that proved to be the case for Martin. Despite a poor start in the first race, he soon opened up a comfortable lead. Steve was next to break free from the pack leaving Alan, Dave Borrett (Beaver SC) and Neil Firth (Banbury SC) to fight it out for third, ultimately finishing in that order.

Races 2 and 3 followed back-to-back after a hearty Lancashire lunch. The afternoon breeze was much the same as the morning, with the occasional stronger puff allowing some periods of full hiking. Steve found his best form in race 2 and went head-to-head with Martin for the whole race. After countless place changes it was Martin who snuck the last leg and the win. Meanwhile Alan was, once again, in a battle for third, this time against Phil Priestley (Yorkshire Dales SC) and Katie Masterson (St Mary's Loch SC). Phil hung on to third, followed by Alan, then Katie.

Steve was first off the line in race 3, or so we all thought until the Elton SC tannoy announced him OCS! He returned to restart, allowing Martin and Phil to break away at the front and never be caught. The battle for third was a lot less clearcut, especially when the breeze conspired to bring the whole fleet together at the leeward mark. Alan was obviously thereabouts, but so too was local youth hot-shot, 13 year-old Ava Harris-Scott. She is more accustomed to her ILCA 4, but demonstrated her versatility by stepping into a borrowed Streaker and mixing it with some gold-fleet regulars! In the end, Steve fought his way back to third and Alan just pipped Ava on the line to take fourth.

So, Martin Penty becomes Streaker Northern Champion 2023, with Steve Blackburn in second. Phil Priestley and Alan Gillard were tied on points for third which went to Phil on countback. Thank you to all the volunteers on and off the water at Elton SC for a well organised and competitive event.

This event was also the final open meeting of the Streaker P&B Northern Paddle series. Alan Gillard did enough on the day to win this prestigious title and hold last year's winner, Phil Priesley, to second. Dave Borrett completed the podium in third.

After the prize-giving, we held a draw for a P&B Streaker sail. This is awarded at random to a class member who competed in the P&B Northern Paddle traveller series. Congratulations to the winner, Wendy Alexander from Rutland SC, and thank you to P&B!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
11982Martin PentyBeaver SC‑1112
21942Steve BlackburnLeigh & Lowton SC22‑34
31700Phil PriestleyYorkshire Dales SC‑6325
42171Alan GillardSheffield Viking SC3‑447
51977Neil FirthBanbury SC5‑7611
61722Ava Harris‑ScottElton SC7‑8512
72112Katie MastersonSt Mary's Loch SC‑105712
81864Dave BorrettBeaver SC4‑9913
91914Peter KitchenTees & Hartlepool YC‑86814
102165Sandy MillWinsford Flash SC910‑1119
111656Steve YatesElton SC‑12111021
121587Lee StrappElton SC11‑121223

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