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Streaker Southern Championships at Blakeney Sailing Club

by Veronica Falat 18 Sep 2018 12:00 BST 15-16 September 2018

Blakeney SC in North Norfolk hosted the Streaker Southern Championships this year. Normally it's a one-day event but, as racing in Blakeney Harbour can only take place at high tide, the weekend of September 15th-16th was chosen with two races scheduled for each day.

Competitors gathered early on Saturday and set off at 9.30 am to sail along the narrow River Glaven to the racing area for a 10 am start. Three local boats were joined by ten visitors, several of whom hadn't been to Blakeney before.

Race 1 took place as the tide was still flooding so, with a south-westerly breeze, the windward legs were against the tide. Richard Eagland made an excellent start and led at the first mark and then managed to stay ahead on most of that lap. Veronica Falat was close behind and eventually, on the next upwind leg, took the lead and it was then a battle for second place between Doug Horner and Duncan McDonald with Doug taking it. Local sailor Amy Robinson was 4th.

By the start of race 2 the tide was slackening and gradually the ebb set in. Therefore the upwind legs became quicker. Doug and Duncan made good starts and led round the first mark with Ian Bradley just ahead of Veronica. Ian then realised that his mainsheet was parting and so he had to end-for-end it while sailing down the run – not an easy thing to do! – and he dropped to the back of the fleet. Nevertheless, he carried on and eventually came ninth. Meanwhile the leading group of Doug, Duncan and Veronica stayed ahead of the rest and finished in that order with Mark Langston just beating Amy for fourth place.

Those first two races had been sailed in very pleasant conditions – a nice breeze and warm sunshine. We knew the forecast for Sunday was for more wind but on arrival that morning it didn't seem too bad. So most people rigged their boats and waited for the tide to come in. And they waited! Race 3 was due to start at 10.45 but at 10.30 the River Glaven was still just a trickle. Eventually it was judged deep enough to launch into but by now it was past 11 with high tide due at 11.45. Seven boats set off, careering downwind with rudders and daggerboards well up.

By now the wind had increased making this a most hair-raising experience! Duncan's rudder retaining line snapped a couple of hundred yards along the creek and he then dropped the sail and pulled the boat back to the launching area, wading along in water that mostly only came to his knees! The six other boats made it to the starting area and the race team quickly got a race underway. A motorboat showed the way to the first mark but the fleet had soon run aground and they had to take a different route!

At this point some boats decided that enough was enough and they should head for home before the tide turned. So Doug led the way back and soon everyone followed suit with the race team abandoning the race. By now the anemometer on the committee boat was recording gusts of well over 30 knots. Certainly time to get ashore! Fortunately everyone got back OK although two boats had to be towed after getting rudder problems. Those that had attempted to race accepted the situation with good humour and the race team were as puzzled as the rest of us as to why the high tide had failed to reach the expected level.

Therefore the results of the event were as they had been after Saturday's two races, with Doug Horner now confirmed as the Southern Champion. Veronica was second and Duncan third. This was also the final open meeting in both the Southern Paddle and East Anglian travellers series. 43 people sailed at least once in the SP series and twelve qualified for the overall prizes, with Veronica the winner, Duncan second and Doug third. Pinnell & Bax sponsor this series and every race you enter allows you a ticket in the draw for a P&B sail. The draw was made and the lucky winner this year is Jeremy Daniell of Downs SC.

Veronica also won the East Anglian series, with Mark Langston runner-up and Ian Bradley third.

This event also counted towards the Rooster Super Series which concludes on October 20th at the Northern Championships at West Riding SC.

Southern Championship Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2Pts
1stDoug Horner1940Swanage S.C.213
2ndVeronica Falat1972Waveney & Oulton Broad Y.C.134
3rdDuncan McDonald2102Newhaven & Seaford S.C.325
4thAmy Robinson1686Blakeney S.C.459
5thMark Langston1920Beccles Sailing Club10414
6thIan Bradley1817Ouse Amateur S.C.5914
7thChris Smith1844Island Barn Reservoir S.C.6814
8thJames Dawes1985Redditch S.C.9615
9thRichard Eagland1970Ripon S.C.8715
10thJonathan Blankley1568Beccles Amateur S.C.71017
11thPhil Halldron1905Downs S.C.121123
12thGeorge Harcourt1876Blakeney S.C.111223
13thEdward Allen1746Blakeney S.C.131326

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