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A Review of 2014

by Veronica Falat

2014 was a pretty good year, I hope you’ll agree! A lot of racing, plenty of new boats and lots to talk about!

As usual it started with the Dinghy Show in early March. We had two boats (a Rooster and a new wooden Butler) on our stand plus another Streaker was on the Butler stand just a few metres away. It certainly gave the sailing public a good chance to see for themselves what a great boat the Streaker is. By the end of March the racing season was under way with the open at Tamworth kicking off both the Northern and Southern Paddle series.

The first big event of the year was the Inland Championships at Draycote in April. This will probably be remembered for two reasons – the really windy conditions on the Saturday and the way in which Ian Jones dominated the racing. It was a very competitive 26 boat fleet but Ian scored 5 wins in 5 races. Mike Hobin was runner up with Alan Gillard 3rd.

As in the previous couple of years, the Scottish Nationals were held as part of the annual regatta at East Lothian YC at North Berwick. 15 boats entered and the winner was local sailor Paul Rigg with Ian Bradley runner-up.

Then a few weeks later it was time for the Noble Marine UK National championships at Carsington. 52 boats arrived and, to start with, it looked like we were in for some great racing. Unfortunately the breeze faded badly in the first race and although a second race was started, it had to be abandoned. Sunday was warm and sunny – but windless. The decision was taken to try again in October and that’s how we had a two part championships this year! Unfortunately, although 32 boats returned to Carsington plus 4 new entries, the breeze was again reluctant to put in an appearance, and this time it was cool and foggy rather than warm and sunny. Nevertheless we managed to get three races in and it was Tom Gillard who took the championship trophy after a really close battle with Debbie Degge who first sailed Streakers back in the ‘70s. In 3rd place was James Wilson, a newcomer to the fleet this year.

Meanwhile in September a total of 98 Streakers competed in the Bart’s Bash race. Evidently 50 different clubs had Streakers racing in this event and the highest placed Streaker overall was Laurence Venus at Newhaven & Seaford in 1163rd place – out of 30,734 boats worldwide.

The two Paddle Series came to their conclusions in October. In the south the early leader had been Mike Hobin but in the end it was Ian Bradley who was victorious for the second year running. Meanwhile it was Alan Gillard who finished on top in the north. Of the two series, it’s the northern one that has the most open meetings and the most competitors. This reflects the strength of the class in the north with several clubs able to offer class racing on a weekly basis. The southern Streakers seem to be spread over a wide area with most boats relying on club handicap racing. In the Pinnell & Bax sponsored Southern Paddle a total of 52 boats took part with 15 qualifying by sailing 9 races, while the Sail Register sponsored Northern Paddle had 85 boats with 15 qualifying by sailing 12 races.

At the start of November Tom Gillard represented the Streaker class in the Endeavour Trophy at the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham. He and crew Sam Brearley came fifth overall in this champions’ invitation event but counted three 2nd places in the 8 race series.

Now, as the year draws to a close attention turns to the big dinghy handicap events held around the country in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, kicking off with the Draycote Dash this weekend (22-23 Nov.) This year there was also a summer version of this series – won by Tom Gillard in his Streaker.

So all in all it’s been a busy year – but 2015 promises to be busier than ever. We’ll be celebrating the class’s 40th Anniversary and the SCOA committee are already making plans. Watch out for info here on the website and make sure you’ve got the dates of next year’s nationals in your diaries – Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th July at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (the Olympic sailing venue).

Class Sponsors

Noble MarineRoosterNorth SailsPinnell and BaxSail Register
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