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08/07/2016
National Championships Rutland SC

Report by Veronica Falat  

 Noble Marine Streaker National Championships 2016

 Rutland SC hosted this year’s Streaker Nationals with 7 races over the three days of Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July – and all three days were windy! This no doubt contributed to the lower than expected number of entries as those who had been watching the forecast perhaps decided this looked a bit much and stayed at home. However, those who did compete were treated to some extremely exciting sailing, not just in dealing with the gusts but also with the tight racing that saw plenty of place changing on every lap. It was certainly never dull!

 Friday’s two races were sailed in a shifty westerly and the course was set with the gybe and leeward marks close to the shore. In race 1 Tom Gillard picked his way up the first beat to round the mark ahead of Isaac Marsh, with Veronica Falat in 3rd place. They held these positions for the first triangle but gradually Falat dropped back and it was Ian Jones who eventually secured 3rd ahead of Doug Horner and newcomer to the class, Mark Lunn sailing a borrowed boat. In race 2 Gillard again got away well and pulled out a good lead while Marsh gained another 2nd place and Lunn took 3rd ahead of Jones. There were plenty of capsizes especially at the gybe mark and on the run; with the leeward shore approaching it was always tricky to find the right spot to gybe and several boats perfected the art of wearing round rather than running the risk of capsizing and getting blown towards shallow water.

 The forecast for Saturday promised similar wind strength but the conditions for Race 3 were not so gusty which came as a bit of relief. The start time had been delayed because of a heavy rain storm which killed the wind for a while and it was not until the end of the race that the strong gusts were back in action. Race 3 saw Marsh ahead on the first lap but Gillard eventually caught him and there was a good battle for the lead, with Gillard coming out on top. Alan Gillard showed his skill in picking the shifts and took 3rd, with Jones 4th.

In Race 4 Graeme Bristow led to the first mark and there was a good fight at the front of the fleet with Tom Gillard eventually winning again while Doug Horner was 2nd ahead of Marsh. Bristow had the misfortune of gear failure and had to retire. By the end of the race the wind was again very strong and the race officer kindly took pity on the fleet and let us come ashore for lunch. Some people decided to stay ashore and only 23 boats attempted Race 5 which lived up to expectations in terms of thrills and excitement! Ian Jones took charge, picking up good shifts on the beat and showing lots of speed on the planing reaches, and for once Gillard was unable to catch him. These two pulled ahead of the rest, with Mark Lunn leading the next bunch.

 A gusty westerly again greeted competitors on Sunday morning for the final 2 races. Bristow had another good first lap but Gillard and Jones pulled ahead. Marsh finished 3rd with Lunn 4th, while Alan Gillard sat the race out, sheltering in the lee of trees on the windward bank, having realised he had been called OCS.

Now with one race to go, Tom Gillard knew for sure that the Championship was his but it was extremely close between Marsh and Jones for 2nd place. Marsh looked to have blown his chances at the start of Race 7, having to tack twice in a melee of boats, but he was able to get out to the starboard side of the course and pick up a good lift and so led at the first mark. He stayed ahead for much of the race until the wind shifted even further to the right. Gillard had spotted the black cloud causing the disturbance, tacked towards it and took the lead. The beat now became almost a fetch and the next reach was a run, all adding to the drama of sailing in very gusty conditions! At the end of the final beat to the finish the breeze started to go back to the left and there were some vicious gusts to round the day off!  Gillard added another race win to his collection and, despite losing out to Jones, a third place was good enough for Marsh to secure 2nd place overall, beating Jones by just 1 point.

 Despite the low entry of just 32 boats and the difficult conditions, the Championships was a success and the class would like to thank Rutland Sailing Club for their hospitality and the race officer, William Jeffcoate, for providing good courses and a quick turn  around between races.

This is the 5th consecutive Nationals win for Tom Gillard and although he dominated the results, he was pushed hard by a bunch of boats that included several newcomers to the fleet such as Doug Horner, Graeme Bristow and 20 year old Isaac Marsh who have bought Streakers this year.  

Under Trophy (under 20 yrs):             Alex Butler   Hayling Island SC (12th overall)

Over Trophy (over 45 yrs):                   Ian Jones   Dovestone SC (3rd overall)

Well Over Trophy (over 55 yrs):          Alan Gillard   Sheffield Viking SC  (6th overall)

Past It Trophy (over 65 yrs):                Alan Bennett   Staunton Harold SC  (24th overall)

Still At It Trophy (over 75 yrs)              Nick Carter    Burghfield SC  (29th overall)

Cadzow Trophy (best presented boat)  1912  Richard Beech  Hickling Broad SC

Altogether Trophy                                  Welton SC



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