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Downs Open Downs Sailing Club


HD Sails Southern Paddle Series

by Phil Halldron


Following the success of the Coastal Championships last year at Downs Sailing Club it was decided that the two-day format would be retained for this year’s event, and the first three races would count towards the HD Sails Streaker Southern Paddle Series.  Sixteen Streakers attended in what was to be a mix of conditions.


On day one, Saturday, a trapezoid course was set with a light breeze from the north, but as the fleet gathered at the committee boat, a ninety-degree swing elicited an AP and repositioning of marks.  The delay was fairly brief, and before long the first race commenced in the light, shifting conditions and a contrary tide generating many challenges for the competitors.  It was Ceri Thomas (2161) of Broadstairs Sailing club who prevailed in the first race, with Simon Gillow (1709) from Chipstead second and Lee Goodey (2186) also of Broadstairs in third.


Race two continued in much the same vein wind-wise albeit rather shiftier.  Reaches suddenly turned into windward legs with the light air and tidal flows making roundings rather challenging.  Thomas (2161) obviously relishing the light airs scored another bullet, with Goodey (2186) second and Simon Cory (2137) from Downs in third.  With the wind becoming less reliable and better winds predicted for the following day, the RO made the decision to call it a day and all competitors made for the shore for an evening barbecue.


Day two of the event, Sunday, dawned bright and sunny with a decent working breeze.  Race three was rescheduled for day two, with the intention of sailing four races back to back.  The stronger wind favoured Cory (2137) who scored his first bullet, with Goodey (2186) and Thomas (2161) coming in second and third.


As race four commenced, the wind suddenly fell light.  Despite the change in conditions, this had no bearing at all on the podium, with another first from Cory (2137), with Goodey (2186) and Thomas (2161) again second and third.


Race five and the wind had filled back in.  This time, Goodey (2186) prevailed with Cory (2137) second.  Thomas (2161) had to settle for fifth place as third was taken by James Dawes (1975) of Redditch SC, who had missed the first day’s action due to attending a wedding.


Finally, race six began and the wind had dropped again.  Moreover the tide was ebbing and flowing south which meant a beat to the north against the current.  As the wind continued to fade the RO made the decision to finish on mark three of the trapezoid course.  In what was a hotly contested final race, Goodey (2186) won again with another second for Cory (2137), whilst late to the party, Dawes (1975), scored another third.


After all six scheduled races were run the final results were:

  1. Lee Goodey   2186 - Broadstairs Sailing Club
  2. Simon Cory    2137 - Downs Sailing Club
  3. Ceri Thomas  2161 - Broadstairs Sailing Club


Not forgetting the middle of the fleet, there were good tussles between Chris Foster (1943) of Rollesby Broad, Chris Smith (2132) Island Barn, Jeremy Daniell (1948) Downs, Phil Halldron (2109) Downs and Martin Wyman (2158) also from Downs, who did particularly well despite missing the first two races on Saturday.


In summary, it was a hugely successful event with excellent racing being delivered by Race Officer Brian Mumford and his team in very challenging and changeable conditions.


In addition to the weekend action, a training session was offered on Friday afternoon, run by Simon Cory.  Several Downs SC members attended, as well as Kyriacos Kyriacou from Broadstairs and Marcel Le Guen from ZVG (Netherlands).  It is encouraging to see the Streaker class continue to grow in the South East with boats now appearing at Broadstairs Sailing Club as well as at Downs where they have become reestablished for a few years now.  Also worthy of note is one of the competitors, Marcel Le Guen, who came to us from Amsterdam towing his venerable old boat, 655.  Could the class possibly gain a foothold in Europe?


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