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Noble Marine Streaker Nationals at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Veronica Falat 19 Jun 2012 08:15 BST 16-17 June 2012

The weather forecasters had been warning of strong winds for Saturday 16th June – and they were not wrong! When planning their Noble Marine sponsored National Championships, the Streaker class had not really envisaged the conditions they were met with on Saturday. The only good thing about the wind was that it was blowing offshore, so the launching was easy and it wasn’t until you’d sailed a few hundred yards that you fully realised what you were in for. By the time you’d hurtled downwind to the starting area, you knew it was going to be tough!

In race 1 Ian Jones led at the first mark, just ahead of Tom Gillard and Ian Fryett, with Wendy Jones in 4th place. On the reaching legs Tom took the lead and maintained it to the finish two laps later. Alan Gillard overtook Wendy when she capsized on a beat. Meanwhile Ian Lees and Mike Hanes were catching up and both overtook Alan when he tacked round at the gybe mark and they both got away with gybing. So the top 6 finishing order was Tom, Ian Jones, Ian Fryett, Ian Lees, Mike and Alan. Wendy recovered well to take 8th place. Of the 28 starters, only 20 managed to finish, and many experienced spectacular capsizes.

There was a short break ashore before race 2. Some people had decided early on not to race that day and they were there to listen to our tales of adventure and misfortune. We were sharing the event with a Laser Masters open meeting and while we were ashore they had their first race. Funnily enough, it looked to us as if the wind had eased a bit. Sure, some lasers were capsizing, but don’t they always? We convinced ourselves all would be well and so set off again – only to be hit by a huge gust on the way to the starting area!

Race 2 was again a challenge to get round the course without mishap. Ian Jones led at the first mark, with Tom 2nd and Alan 3rd. At the gybe mark Alan was overtaken by David Bartlett. On the next beat Tom overtook Ian but they swapped positions again on the run in absolutely howling conditions – and both managed to gybe at high speed to get to the leeward mark; many of us tacked round! On the last lap Tom retook the lead and on the reaching legs managed to pull clear of Ian. So the finishing order was Tom, Ian Jones, Alan, David, Mike and Ian Lees. This time there were only 16 finishers.

The committee boat was now flying the flags to send everyone (Lasers as well as Streakers) ashore; race 3 would be postponed to the next day. We were told later that the gusts had reached up to 30 knots and that the tail-enders had contended with a gust of 39 knots!

Overnight it was still windy and there were some anxious faces on Sunday morning. However, the race officer was sure that the wind would ease and so it did. It also became extremely shifty! More boats took to the water than on the previous day and the racing was tight with lots of place changing. In Race 3 it seemed to pay to work the right hand side of the course. Tom led at the first mark, ahead of Ian Jones, with Tom Whitehead in 3rd place and Alan 4th. Andy Kissick had also made a good first beat but in the shifty conditions misjudged the approach to the mark and got stuck against it. David Bartlett and Alan had a good battle for 4th place on the first reach, but Mike Hanes slipped through to leeward to round the gybe mark ahead of them both. By the time the fleet reached the leeward mark the wind had swung so much that the next beat became a fetch and the race was shortened at the end of that lap. The top 6 were Tom Gillard, Ian Jones, Tom Whitehead, Mike, Alan and Ian Lees.

There was a delay while the committee boat moved to a new position to allow for the wind change. When race 4 started the breeze was still unsteady but Alan read the shifts well to round the windward mark first. His lead was lost however when his boom touched the gybe mark and he had to do a penalty turn, allowing Ian Fryett and Tom Gillard to overtake him. Tom managed to get past Ian before the leeward mark but the next beat was again extremely one-sided. The windward mark had been shifted but the breeze had switched back! Tom and Ian were now in amongst the tail-ender Laser Radials and Ian managed to squeeze through to retake the lead which he held to the finish of the shortened course. Alan came in 3rd, with Ian Bradley 4th, Ian Jones 5th and Tom Whitehead 6th.

The final race again saw boats doing well on the right hand side of the beat. Paul Whyld had started close to the committee boat and worked that side to round the first mark with Ian Jones at the front of the fleet. The fleet was quite bunched at the end of the first lap and there were many opportunities for gains and losses in the tricky lighter conditions. Tom Gillard was working his way through the pack and got as far as 3rd by the end of the race, but Paul Whyld held his nerve to take the race win with Ian Jones 2nd. Ian Fryett was in 4th place, and David Bartlett 5th. Tom Gillard was therefore the convincing and well-deserved winner of the Championship, counting just 5 points. Ian Jones was runner up and Ian Fryett 3rd.

The number of entries was well down on last year but that weather forecast (and the wind itself!) no doubt had a lot to do with that. All things considered, the class came away happy that little gear failure had been suffered and that several of the newcomers to Streaker sailing had figured well in the results, notably Ian Fryett, David Bartlett and Paul Whyld. With at least 30 boats built since this time last year, the fleet has grown and become ever more competitive. The future is looking good!

Overall Results: (5 races, 1 discard)
Find the Streaker 2012 Nationals Gear Guide here (many thanks to the Streaker class for filling this in so quickly!)

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st1800Tom GillardSheffield Viking SC1112-35
2nd1759Ian JonesDovestone SC222-528
3rd1803Ian FryettLlandegfedd SC37-91415
4th1691Alan GillardSheffield Viking SC6353(DNF)17
5th1655Michael HanesWaldringfield S.C5549-1023
6th1776David BartlettStarcross YC1047(DNF)526
7th1784Ian LeesScammonden SC46-13101232
8th1769Nick LovellOuse Amateur SC71267-1632
9th1619Ian BradleyOuse Amateur SC139104-1736
10th1654Veronica FalatWaveney & Oulton Broad YC12118-15637
11th1809Dan PhillipsRipon SC910-19141346
12th1605Wendy JonesDonestone SC8(DNF)2713755
13th1702Tony WrightDurleigh SC18(DNF)1117955
14th1696Frank CattDowns SC11818-241956
15th1640Ian ParishStewartby S.C1414-20181460
16th1734Robert JohnstonBlackpool & Fleetwood YC(DNF)1624121163
17th1773Thomas WhiteheadWelton SC(DNF)DNF361865
18th1792Stuart HoareWest Riding SC15(DNF)23112069
19th1084Steven GarrettBough Beech SC(DNF)DNF168870
20th1683Peter CogillRotherham SC1613-30192371
21st1787Paul WhyldSeafarers SC(DNC)DNC1221172
22nd1801Peter TyermanPennine SC19(DNF)15252180
23rd1754Chris WrightRipon SC(DNC)DNC14201587
24th1446Matthew WhitfieldTamworth SC20(DNF)22232287
25th1504Robin MaplestonGirton SC17(DNC)17272889
26th1804Adrian CrippsGirton SC(DNF)1525262591
27th1770Chris SmithIsland Barn Reservoir SC(DNC)DNC281624106
28th1656Richard BrookRipon SC(DNC)DNC212227108
29th1548Ian WhitfieldTamworth SC(DNF)DNC292826121
30th1757Gary HoganHaversham SC(DNF)DNC313029128
31st1630Andrew KissickAlderney SC(RTD)DNC2629DNC131
32nd1735Clive StrattonWarsash SC(DNC)DNC32DNCDNC146
33rd1687Keith PatmoreHarlow(Blackwater) SC(DNC)DNC33DNCDNC147
34th9Alan SimmonsLancing SC(DNF)DNCDNFDNCDNC152
34th1393Ruairidh CampbellClyde Cruising Club(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC152
34th1723Ian MansfieldAlton Water Sports Centre(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC152
34th1603Jeremy DaniellBough Beech SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC152

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