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07/06/2019
National Championships Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Acadamy

Report by Veronica Falat and Alan Gillard

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 1-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!

 

Trophy Winners:

Tate & Lyle Championship Trophy    Martin Penty

National Open Trophy                       Martin Penty

Over Trophy                                      Martin Penty

Well Over Trophy                              Alan Gillard

Past It Trophy                                   Veronica Falat

Well Past It Trophy                           Alan Bennett

Still At It Trophy                                Sam Hood

Cadzow Trophy                                Streaker 2121   Ian Bradley

Scaling Belle Cup                             Veronica Falat

Altogether Shield                              Waveney & Oulton Broad Y.C.

Fifteen Transom Trophy                   Streaker 1296   James Harcourt

Steve Gentry Shield (1st in Silver Fleet)    Neil Firth

Tune It Up Trophy                             Rupert Smith

Race 1 Downs Cup                           Tom Gillard

Race 2 Viking Trophy                        Martin Penty

Race 3 Ripon Horn                            Tom Gillard

Race 4 Herne Salver                         Martin Penty

Race 5 Blackpool Bailer                    Martin Penty

Race 6 Rooster Trophy                     Steve Blackburn

Race 7 P&B Cup        not sailed for



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Noble MarineRoosterNorth SailsPinnell and BaxSail Register
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