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19/04/2020
Banbury open meeting Banbury Sailing Club

Streaker Virtual Open Meeting at Banbury Sailing Club
19 April 2020
by Neil Firth
 
Having been forced to cancel their first Streaker Open Meeting, Banbury Sailing Club decided to hold a Virtual Open Meeting in its place.  The event was fully subscribed, with 20 Streaker sailors meeting up on 19 April for a programme of 5 races, held across some of the World's most iconic sailing venues.
 
Many familiar names from the Streaker circuit were in attendance and, had this been a real event, there would have been some expected front runners.  Reputations were at stake, and we knew that there would be no advantage for those sporting the latest carbon boom, newly allowed for Streakers in 2020!
 
We started out in Portsmouth, sailing Star keelboats.  The Star is probably the nearest equivalent on Virtual Regatta to the Streaker, with its deep downwind angles and no spinnaker...  although it does point quite a bit higher!  It was to be a good early test of form.  Richard Brameld (1569) and Giles Therkelson-Smith (1616) were the first to show that their older boats weren't going to hold them back as they took first and second respectively, followed by Phil Manning (1995) in third.
 
We moved on to Aarhus in Denmark for race 2, still in the Star.  We knew from social media that Phil had been training hard, late into the night, but nonetheless he was pushed into fourth. Lawrence Creaser (1923) took the win, with another second for Giles and Class Chairman, Ian Priest (2106), in third.
 
We continued the European leg of the tour in Marseilles.  A change of boat for race 3 saw our first outing in the J70.  For the eSailing novices in the fleet, this added the complication of raising and lowering the spinnaker, as if mark rounding wasn't hard enough!  The acute downwind angles are also completely alien to the Streaker Class!  Phil showed that all his training was not in vain, taking the race win, followed by Lawrence and then Giles.
 
For race 4 we moved over the pond to San Francisco, in defiance of the Trump Lockdown.  Still in J70s, there was further evidence that youth doesn't defer to experience (Ed: just like real sailing then!) with Giles taking the win.  Ian was second and Chris Smith (2132) was third.  Chris was amongst the new eSailors who had just signed up for Virtual Regatta a few days earlier.
 
Where else but Sydney Harbour for the final showdown in the 49er?  We know there are more extreme boats on Virtual Regatta, but the 49er was to provide plenty of excitement for this group of non-trapezing sailors!  Steve Blackburn (1942), who had earlier suffered gear failure in the Star, had no such problems in the 49er.  Steve's double-handed Enterprise experience obviously paid off as he took the win from James Dawes (2131) in second and Giles in third.  James commented "Trapezing is easy - just stand there and hope it doesn't stop suddenly!" - I don't think many of us would agree!
 
And with that, Banbury's Streaker World tour came to a close.  The Class Chairman was amongst many to thank Neil and Sue Firth of Banbury SC for organising and hosting the event.  We had a very entertaining evening, with the on-screen events brought to life by a Zoom conference call, allowing us to reconnect with our Streaker friends and engage in amusing race banter.
 
The overall winner, after two discards, was Giles Therkelson-Smith - discards he didn't actually need, having never been outside the top three!  Lawrence Creaser was second and Phil Manning third.  Giles was the only youth sailor at the event - he has now established himself as the 'Tom Gillard' of Streaker eSailing and will be the one to beat next time...  bring it on!


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