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07/07/2023
National Championships Grafham Water Sailing Club

 

Noble Marine Streaker National Championships at Grafham Water Sailing Club
7-9 July 2023

Day 1
by James Dawes

 

It's day 1 of the Noble Marine Streaker National Championships and the fleet was greeted with blue skies and a good breeze at Grafham Water Sailing Club! Following the briefing and topping up of sun cream, the fleet of 51 boats headed out to the race area.

Race 1 got off without a hitch. The fleet headed up a shifty and changeable first beat for a game of snakes and ladders! We had some new faces at the front, with Ollie Groves (2111) first to round the windward mark, Arran Holman (1641) 2nd, Steve Hanby (2162) 4th and Richard Hanby (1995) 5th, with a regular face, James Dawes (1975), in between them in 3rd. Unfortunately, the wind switched off and then filled in from behind on the run, as always, and the leaders were soon gobbled up by the planing chasing pack. The leeward gate saw people having to make a decision about which side to go, especially as the whole fleet had bunched up and the mark rounding was becoming a little frenetic. Arran made the best of the run and rounded first, along with Alex Reindorp (2134) and Colin Staite (2164).

With the wind shifting around, the beat turned into to a one-tack beat with some people able to lay the windward mark from the gate mark. The wind had picked up which, along with the shifts, made the beat a little harder. The top five changed again by the windward mark and first reach, but with Arran still leading the way. The current National Champion, Martin Penty (1982), was on recovery and was storming through the fleet, chasing after some of his many Beaver sailor friends.

It came down to the last beat and run. Arran led the way with the Beaver pack of Ollie, Martin and the Hanby family chasing him down, with Alan Gillard (2171) hot on their heels. 2nd-6th places swapped around up the beat and down the run, finishing Race 1 as follows...

1st 1641 Arran Holman
2nd 2111 Ollie Groves
3rd 2162 Steve Hanby
4th 1995 Richard Hanby
5th 1982 Martin Penty
6th 2171 Alan Gillard

Race 2 did not go to plan for the poor Race Officer. The wind was shifting around even more, with the first start being postponed during the start process due to a heavy shift which made the first leg into a fetch. The second start saw people being a little keen and with too many over the line the Race Officer cancelled it. The black flag was raised during the third start sequence, but unfortunately some people still didn't behave, with Ollie, Colin and Ian Bradley (2121) sent home for an early shower after being a little over the line.

At the fourth attempt everyone got away cleanly. Martin was back on form and rounded the windward mark first with a different set of Beaver sailors chasing him; Richard Brameld (1654) in second and Jon Aldhous (2115) rounding in third. As the fleet headed down the run a large proportion went left but the wind turned off and the pressure stayed on the right, allowing those who went right to make big gains. With everyone descending on the leeward gate, decisions were made on which side to round and which way to head up the beat. Alan managed to make gains forward and was second at the top mark, playing the shifts well, along with Arran who managed to wiggle past Jon into third, ready for the reach.

Steve Blackburn (1942) was making moves forward and took three places on the reaches down to the bottom of the triangle. The last beat of the day commenced with the windward mark being moved, causing some confusion amongst the fleet, but Martin was firmly in the lead with Alan and Arran behind him. The top three places stayed the same until the finish, then the run became a bit of a lottery with big gains and losses going right through the fleet. The top six finishers of Race 2 were...

1st 1982 Martin Penty
2nd 2171 Alan Gillard
3rd 1641 Arran Holman
4th 1942 Steve Blackburn
5th 2115 Jon Aldhous
6th 1654 Richard Brameld

A good but tough day was had by all. There are some tired legs already with everyone looking forward to tomorrow's racing, with it all still to play for!

Arran Holman is currently leading overall, with Martin Penty in second and Alan Gillard in third.

 

Overall
by Neil Firth

 

Martin Penty (Beaver SC) successfully defended his title at Grafham Water Sailing Club this weekend, to become Noble Marine Streaker National Champion for the third time. However, it was no walk-over, with several challengers aiming to put their own name on the prestigious Tate & Lyle Trophy.

Five races were completed over three days, 7-9 July, with two races lost due to lack of wind on the second day. Martin was lying in second place after two races on the first day, with Arran Holman (Hollowell SC) two points ahead and Alan Gillard (Sheffield Viking SC) two points behind. There were three races planned for the final day, so plenty of time for all that to change.

Day 3 began with the Race Officer, Nigel Denchfield, determined to lay on three good races to make a five race series with one discard. Some of the fleet were carrying BFD's or a 'shocker' from day 1, so the discard would be important for their chances, not least for Steve Blackburn (West Lancs YC / L&LSC) who was lying in 11th place.

After a brief postponement ashore, the fleet launched and waited patiently for the breeze to stabilise. Racing then got underway in a shifty 8-10 knots, with the U-flag used to ensure that all three races started cleanly at the first attempt.

Race 3, the first of the day, saw Martin and Arran well placed up the first beat but it was Steve, coming in from the left, who led by a decent margin at the windward mark. Martin followed Steve down the run, both finding the best of the patchy breeze, whilst Arran split off into a hole, proving that these things can happen to the best of us! With Arran off his tail, Martin was able to concentrate on closing the gap to Steve. He took the lead on the final beat and secured an important second bullet. Meanwhile, Nigel Pepperdine (Staunton Harold SC) and Steve Hanby (Beaver SC) took advantage of Arran's misfortune and emerged from the first run in third and fourth respectively, which they held onto until the finish. Arran finished 10th, leaving himself some work to do in the remaining races.

Race 4 started promptly, in similar conditions. Colin Staite (Bartley SC) and Arran worked the left side of the first beat; Colin was first around the windward mark. Arran followed, with Matt Whitfield (Tamworth SC) on his transom. Steve B wasn't far behind and moved up to second on the first run, behind Colin. Martin was some way back in the pack needing to dig himself out of trouble.

As the race progressed, Colin slipped back to finish 5th, just behind Alan who was putting together a tidy series. Meanwhile, Martin had been working his way forward through the fleet and was now chasing after the leading two. Steve B kept his lead and Martin pulled through to finish second, ahead of Arran.

Going into race 5, it was possible for any of the top three to take the title. Martin held the advantage, knowing that a result above fourth was enough. However, if he slipped up, either Arran or Steve B could take the title by adding a second race win to their scores.

Arran had obviously done the maths. He saw an opportunity, nailed the pin and led at the first windward mark. Looking behind, he'd have been pleased to see Alan, Steve H and Steve B, all putting points between himself and Martin! However, by the third lap, Martin and Steve B had caught up to resume their battle with Arran. These three looked like they had the race win between them, with Arran in the lead. However, as they fought each other up the beat, a big right shift put the chasers back in contention. Ollie Groves (Beaver SC), Alan and Steve H all popped out in front with one lap to go. Ollie held his lead and went on to win the race. Martin scrambled back to take second place, Steve H finished third and Alan was fourth.

And so, Martin Penty was crowned Streaker National Champion once again. With over 50 boats taking part, this was the biggest fleet of his three wins and one that puts him in 5th place on the Legends table. Only Frank Catt, Steve Cockerill, Tom Gillard and Alan Gillard have won it more times.

Notable achievements elsewhere in the fleet include Colin Staite, winner of the Silver Fleet, and Jack Gore (Up River YC) winner of the Bronze Fleet. At the age of 15, it was Jack's first Streaker open meeting let alone his first Streaker Nationals! First lady was Veronica Falat (Waveney & Oulton Broad YC) and the best presented boat was a beautiful Butler-built composite Streaker, 1911 'Only Etty', owned by Charmaine Ryland (Ouse Amateur SC).

The Altogether Shield is awarded to the club with the three best placed boats. Needless to say, this was comfortably won by Beaver SC with Martin Penty, Steve Hanby and Ollie Groves taking three of the top six places overall. In fact, Beaver could have won it without these three. Their 'B team' were runners up, with Waveney & Oulton Broad YC in third. RDNBYC might have been second, but their entry was deemed ineligible as they are not an RYA affiliated club!

Thanks go to Grafham Water Sailing Club who hosted a very enjoyable championship, both on and off the water. We are grateful to our sponsors, Noble Marine, Rooster and Fernhurst Books, who all contributed to the prizes which were distributed throughout the whole fleet. On Saturday night, Hartley Boats BINGO! was also a huge success with a generous array of prizes scooped up by the lucky winners!

 

Next up in the Streaker Rooster Super Series is the Northern Area Championships at Elton SC on 8 October, followed two weeks later by the End of Season Championships at Bartley SC on 22 October. See you there!

 



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