Northern & Southern Paddle
Seven visiting boats came to Calf Heath Reservoir, just south of Stafford, home to Greensforge Sailing Club to compete in the club’s seventh annual Streaker Open Meeting. They were met by a gusty southerly breeze that caused everyone a load of grief, especially for the race officers of the day.
Race one saw Thomas Gillard from Sheffield Viking off to a flying start, leaving his fellow competitors in his wake, while the Greensforge commodore caused a little mayhem for the rest of the fleet – and this was all before rounding the first mark! The Streakers quickly strung out with Thomas in clear, though fluky, air. Alan Gillard took second place, pushed closely by Ian Bradley from Ouse Amateur SC and this was how positions stayed to the end. There were two father and son combinations competing; the Gillards, and Ian and Matt Whitfield from Tamworth who are regulars at this event, even so one particularly vicious gust almost sent Matt for a swim and he should know our pool by now, above and below the water-line. First place was never in question, and a very steady sail took John Burgoine, another Tamworth man, into fourth. Much discussion ensued over a lasagne lunch, on matters sailing and otherwise.
Race two saw a huge shift take place minutes before the starting sequence. This made for an almost running start and a beat now all of thirty yards long! Approximately fifty minutes of dark mutterings followed from a number of quarters. Thomas just got on with the job in hand and took his place in front, missing all the argy-bargy at the leeward mark. Ian Bradley and Alan Gillard led the rest of the pack. Martin Cowell GSC commodore capsized officially and nearly took out the leader on recovery, and there’s debate whether Alan’s capsize should count; his mast-head was but a foot from the water but he got it back somehow, though it certainly slowed him down. He took fourth by the bell. Calm and collected, John Burgoine sailed himself quietly into third. Alan Simmons who’d travelled from Lancing on the South Coast also had a steady race and split up the Whitfield partnership to take sixth place.
The last race went off to a great start, a short busy line, a good breeze and a proper beat. Initially Thomas had got buried somehow below the pack but by the end of the first lap had assumed control once more. Ian Bradley came from last place to third, on some lucky shifts – his words not mine – and Alan Gillard worked hard to get and keep second place.
Overall a resounding victory for Thomas Gillard, Gillard senior in second, with Ian Bradley a deserved third, after a testing day’s sailing.
1st Thomas Gillard, 1661 (Sheffield Viking S.C.)
2nd Alan Gillard, 1677 (Sheffield Viking S.C.)
3rd Ian Bradley, 1619 (Ouse Amateur S.C.)
4th John Burgoine, 1528 (Tamworth S.C.)
5th Ian Whitfield, 1548 (Tamworth S.C.)
6th Matt Whitfield, 1446 (Tamworth S.C.)
7th Alan Simmons, 1567 (Lancing S.C.)
8th Martin Cowell, 1040 (Greensforge S.C.)