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12/09/2015
Northampton Sailing Club

Streaker Inland Championships 2015

Northampton SC hosted the Streaker Inland Championships, sponsored by Clamcleats Ltd, over the weekend of Sept. 12th-13th. Saturday was windy and Sunday was light but, on both days, wind shifts were the major talking point and all credit must go to race officer Martyn Emberson and his team on the committee boat for managing to set decent courses in such conditions.

In Race 1 Mike Hobin led to the first mark, pursued by Ian Jones, Dan Phillips, Lawrence Creaser and Alan Gillard. This group arrived together at the gybe mark with Phillips able to claim water and take the lead. Jones had been pushed back to 5th but then showed terrific speed on the next reach to overtake them all and lead up the next beat. The race then became a battle for second place, which eventually saw Phillips finish just ahead of Creaser, Gillard and Hobin in that order. This had been a tough race with several capsizes and the fleet was happy to come ashore for lunch.

By the start of Race 2 the wind had moderated a bit but had also swung considerably and the course had to be reset. In the run-up to the start the pin end of the line was favoured and that’s where most of the fleet headed. However, in the last few seconds it was swinging back and Hobin made an excellent start at the committee boat and was then able to take advantage of the continuing starboard lift; by the windward mark he was clear ahead. Jones and Gillard had both been at the pin end; Jones tacked away into mid fleet but Gillard hung on, hoping for the wind to shift back which it eventually did and he rounded the mark in 2nd place just ahead of Creaser while Jones was several places further back. For most of the race Hobin kept the lead but Jones pulled through to fight Gillard for 2nd place and eventually overhauled Hobin too. At the windward mark on the last lap Hobin had to give water to Gillard and so Gillard finished 2nd with Hobin 3rd and Dave Turtle 4th ahead of Creaser.

Not feeling well, Mike Hobin decided to skip Race 3 and in fact he was unable to continue with the championship. By now a huge black cloud had developed and we all knew something dramatic would happen and so it was no surprise when a squall hit during the second lap. Most people were on a windward leg and so just had to let sails flap and hang on for a few minutes but it was rather more exciting for those on the downwind leg! Fortunately this was all short-lived and the race carried on. It became a duel between Alan Gillard and Ian Jones, with Gillard taking the win having played the shifts particularly well. In 3rd place was Brenda Hoult who had shown impressive downwind speed, while Phillips was 4th just ahead of Veronica Falat.

In contrast to Saturday’s blustery conditions, Sunday morning was very calm and the fleet stayed ashore while the start of Race 4 was delayed for an hour. Gradually a light breeze filled in and racing got underway. Gillard led up the first beat, with Jones 2nd and Falat 3rd but the breeze was so patchy that it was very difficult to maintain position in the fleet. Eventually Jones pulled clear but Gillard lost out badly as the chasing pack closed up from behind, while Turtle came through to take 2nd ahead of Falat, Phillips and Gillard.

The breeze played yet more tricks in the final race. The early leaders were Gillard, Jones, Falat and Creaser but on the second beat, while Jones managed to get round the mark OK, Gillard lost touch with him and Falat and Creaser suffered hugely when a big starboard lift brought a pack of 8 boats reaching through from behind! Matt Whitfield was then able to catch up and eventually overtake Gillard to claim 2nd place, and Turtle came in 4th.

The conditions had been very tricky but hats off to Ian Jones who coped so well on both days. Counting 4 firsts, he was the clear winner, and so retained the Inland Championship trophy he won last year. Alan Gillard had made a real fight of it and although he found Sunday’s flukey conditions very frustrating, finished 2nd overall while Dan Phillips took 3rd place just ahead of Dave Turtle.

16 year old Alex Butler was winner of the Silver Fleet.

Thank you to Northampton SC. As usual their race management was most proficient and the catering is second to none!



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