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National Championships 2014

After the Noble Marine sponsored Streaker Nationals had to be postponed due to a lack of wind in June the Streaker Class Owners Association along with the host club Carsington Sailing Club in Derbyshire made arrangements for the re-run, Part Deux ; on the 11th October. Race 1 was the only race completed in June with race 2 abandoned, so the plan was to sail the remaining three races of the five race series, which it was not possible to sail. The original entry of 50 Streakers were all re-invited, unfortunately not all could make it but a further 4 Streakers entered and joined those that returned for day.

The Streaker fleet had been anticipating the ‘Part Deux’ with some excitement but there was a feeling of déjà vu on arrival as no wind and fog greeted the fleet as it reassembled at Carsington. The RO wisely decided not to try a start before the wind arrived, which was not until midday. This gave us all time to catch up with friends over a coffee or in some cases use the expertise of James Dawes from P&B, who provided an excellent rigging service to any who needed it.

Shortly after mid-day, something was stirring as the fog began to lift. The wind duly arrived and the fleet launched. It took a while for the breeze to settle and there was a sigh of relief when the fleet got away first time on a trapezoid course for what was race three in the series. The port end of the line was the place to start, and Tom Gillard led steadily away until a significant port lift kicked in, lifting those above him well up towards the windward mark – Mike Egglestone lead around, followed by Dave Butler, Debbie Degge, Steve Blackburn, Dan Phillips all in the mix and among the first to arrive. At the second mark the leaders mostly went right, but Tom Gillard back in 9th around the 1st mark gybed and went off to the left and made it pay, so much so that he led by the leeward mark. There were some more place changes at the gybe as those coming in from the left called for water and got it in a most civilized fashion. The wind was very patchy, avoiding the areas of no wind was key. Although left seemed to pay going too far left there was less wind. By the end of the 2nd beat a leading pack had been established with few place changes occurring down the run and reach to the finish except in the following horde as they closed up on the run. Gillard won from Debbie Degge and Dan Phillips claiming 3rd with Steve Blackburn holding on to 4th.

The fleet was entertained between races 3 and 4 as Sally Ratcliffe was performing handstands in her boat, unfortunately for her this led to the inevitable capsize, much to the enjoyment of the fleet.

Race 4, with the same port end bias, which many strangely seemed to ignore, saw the fleet away first time. Debbie Degge gave an outstanding display of sailing to get away up the first beat. James Wilson, Alan Bennett and Tom Gillard were in close order behind. Tom passed James and Alan on the run but played catch up for the remainder of the race, and even though the wind increased marginally it gave few opportunities to pass people. Debbie took the win from Tom and this time James Wilson in 3rd with Alan 4th. This win for Debbie opened up the championship and made for an entertaining last race. Even though Tom Gillard had secured 2 1st and a 2nd, Debbie could still win by equalling Tom’s score with a win in the last race, but she would have to win race 5!

Race 5 offered a truer beat as the RO took the time to shift the course as the wind was just starting to freshen. Tom Gillard as you would probably expect nailed the start and led around the 1st mark. Debbie was not too far behind and closed the gap between her and Tom on the reach. Tom was still holding the lead at the leeward mark, but it was the next beat that saw Debbie take her chance. Tom had comfortably covered Debbie up the beat, but for some unknown reason tacked towards the wrong windward mark; this allowed Debbie to take the lead. Down the run Debbie was constantly pressured by Tom covering as Debbie gybed away to clear her wind, until Tom finally got past her getting the inside track in to the leeward mark. Tom made no mistakes on the next windward leg and although Debbie closed on the run, it was never quite enough for her to regain the lead. Tom Gillard won the race and retained the title from Debbie Degge in 2nd with John Hollis taking a well deserved 3rd place in his best race of the series.

This put Debbie in second place overall and James Wilson in third, who was awarded with a special hooded top presented to the class by Wave Clothing for the highest placed newcomer. Carsington Sailing Club proved to be very capable hosts for the event, their race management team and event organisation by Alf Hawksworth saw the event run smoothly, despite the difficult light winds. The Streaker Class Owners Association would like to thank them for finding a new date in their schedule and re-running the Streaker National Championships. Noble Marine again provided very welcome sponsorship for the event.

So after a very light wind series Tom Gillard had retained the Streaker National Championship title for a 3rd year running. For a good number of the Streaker fleet the light winds were just the conditions they like, so the overall results had new faces in the prizes. The Streaker Class always tries hard to spread prizes through the fleet with many special age related trophies and prizes, encompassing old and young, and all that took part received the customary engraved glass. Next year is the Streaker Class 40th Anniversary, and to mark this significant event in the class history the Streakers will be holding their National Championship over 3 days at the 2012 Olympic venue of Weymouth.

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