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Inland Championships Beaver Sailing Club

Report by Veronica Falat

27 boats from 15 clubs, including 2 boats from Scotland and 10 from the host club, competed in the Streaker Inland Championships at Beaver SC in Yorkshire on 14th-15th September. It was a very enjoyable event with good race management and excellent hospitality. What a splendid idea to have free tea and cake throughout the weekend!

For Saturday’s 3 races the breeze was a south-westerly that provided some good planing gusts and shifts that could be played to advantage – or catch you out!

Having won the Nationals in June, local sailor Martin Penty was definitely the man to beat but Phil Manning, who just pipped Martin in the Northern Championships in July, also had high hopes for the weekend. Indeed, race 1 saw Penty soon leading the fleet, chased hard by Manning, and these two pulled clear of the fleet. Ian Priest was 3rd, Sam Waller (sailing Race Officer Jon Aldhous’s boat) was 4th and Phil Priestley 5th.

The course was changed after lunch for race 2 as the breeze had swung slightly. James Dawes attempted a port tack start which looked great for a while but by the first mark he had dropped back as the breeze favoured the boats on the left. The leading bunch soon sorted itself out with Penty in front and this time it was Priest who took 2nd ahead of Manning and Waller.

Waller had gear failure in Race 3 (his forestay came adrift) and had to retire while fighting for the lead with Penty and Manning who went on to finish in that order. Behind them Priest was 3rd, followed by Ian Bradley.

So, at the end of play on Saturday, Penty was comfortably in the lead with 3 straight wins, and Manning was 2nd, 1 point ahead of Priest.

While Saturday had been bright and sunny, Sunday was overcast with a breeze out of the north-west. Race 4 had a rather hectic first beat. Some boats sailed too far to the left and over-stood the windward mark and so came in fast on port and had to duck those on starboard. The fleet was well bunched on the next leg, a broad reach, but Penty was well placed and on the next beat he took the lead and, from then on, stayed ahead to claim his 4th win and so take the Championship with a race to spare. In contrast Priest and Manning were back in 5th and 7th places respectively while it was the turn of Priestley and Waller to take 2nd and 3rd.  Probably few people realised that Priestley’s boat was one of the oldest in the fleet. He was using a sail with a high sail number but the boat is actually 1502 which is nearly 20 years old, proving that older Streakers can be very competitive in the right hands. In 4th place was Giles Therkelson-Smith, who is at least a couple of years younger than Priestley’s boat!

Penty could sit out the 5th and final race and did so by helping on the committee boat. The first beat was tricky. The breeze had been gradually clocking right but a late shift favoured the boats on port tack and some attempted to come into the mark ahead of the starboard-tackers. Dave Smith and Veronica Falat got away with it but many didn’t! Waller was leading and he gradually pulled ahead while Falat and Priest fought for 2nd place. The breeze was getting lighter and more northerly and it was becoming harder to find overtaking opportunities. Waller, Falat and Priest took the first 3 places while Gemma Francis-Burnett was 4th. Manning had a disappointing race, finishing 8th, and so dropped to 4th overall. Priest had done well enough to take 2nd overall, 1 point ahead of Waller. Falat was 5th overall.

The top 3 Silver Fleet sailors were Giles Therkelson-Smith (7th overall), Ben Dennis-Smither (9th) and Gemma Francis-Burnett (10th). Please note it’s not a rule that you have to have a double-barrelled surname to qualify for the Silver Fleet!

This was the penultimate event in this year’s Streaker Super Series sponsored by Rooster Sailing and now, with wins in the Scottish, National and Inland Championships, Martin Penty is assured of victory. The final event in the series will be the End of Season Championships at Elton SC on October 19th.

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