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Ripon open meeting Ripon Sailing Club

Saturday 30 March saw Ripon SC hosting the second event in the Streaker Northern Paddle series sponsored by North Sails, with 24 boats taking part. Ripon SC is home to a large Streaker fleet and is historically one of the better attended open meetings in the series. Local hotshots, visiting hotshots and a mixture of local and visiting not-so-hotshots provided competition for all levels throughout the fleet.

The wind made a rather delayed appearance, leading to a postponement before racing could get under way. The Race Officer had the unenviable task of setting a course that provided an opening beat in a very light wind that was shifting through 90 degrees. Finally it settled to the forecast westerly direction, though there was never much of it for the first race and what there was disappeared at random intervals.

The fleet was keen to get going after the postponement, too keen in fact and there was a general recall. Away at the second attempt they were led around the course by Mike Eggleston (Ripon SC), negotiating plenty of holes and shifts en route. As the race progressed the lead Solos, sharing the lake for their own open meeting, caught up with the back and middle of the Streaker fleet when the wind filled in from behind on the final run. Cue congestion at the downwind mark! The leading Streakers were never troubled by the leading Solos and the finishing order was Mike Eggleston, followed by James Dawes (Redditch SC) and Steve Blackburn (West Lancs SC).

While both fleets were ashore for lunch the wind improved significantly, with the glassy patches replaced by a reasonably consistent breeze even enough for some sitting out. The fleet was again over keen to start and after another general recall the black flag went up. Only one boat was caught out by this, none other than the winner of race 1. The fact that he was right by the Committee boat when he was OCS left no room for doubt and he was sent back to the clubhouse for an early cup of tea.

With a bit more breeze this was a much more satisfactory race than the first, though there were still times when holes caused the fleet to compress or spread out. Steve Blackburn stayed clear and on the final lap enjoyed better wind through the narrows section of the lake to fight off any challenge from Peter Robinson (Ripon SC) and take the win, with James Dawes consistently quick downwind taking third place. This time the fleet was untroubled by Solos, who stayed a respectful distance behind.

The final race was sailed in the best breeze of the day and the fleet was away first time with no need for recalls or black flags. The opening beat was of necessity rather one-sided but the usual suspects worked out where they needed to be on the lake and a familiar pattern soon emerged with Mike Eggleston taking a good lead ahead of Steve Blackburn, with Class Association Chairman Ian Priest holding off a challenge from Phil Manning (Delph SC) to take third place.

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