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Streaker P&B Southern Paddle Open at Downs Sailing Club

by Phil Halldron 15 May 10:54 BST 12 May 2019

The fleets for the Downs SC Singlehander Open launched in a sun dappled sea with a steady but cool F3-4 from the North.

The Streakers were the smallest of the fleets with eight boats in all, and only two of them visitors, the bulk of the contestants being formed of a resurgence in the class at Downs over the last few years.

Racing began briskly with Simon Cory (Downs, 1919) leading off at the pin-end with the rest of the fleet close behind. Cory established a commanding lead with Phil Halldron (Downs, 2109) and Chris Smith (Island Barn, 1844) following behind. Cory maintained his lead throughout the one-lap race coming in for a comfortable first. Halldron would have finished second had it not been for a colossal howler- crossing the start line instead of the lapping gate on the starboard side of the committee boat, earning a DNF. Second instead went to Smith whilst third was taken by Ceri Thomas (Broadstairs, 1611).

The wind had swung from North to North-East hence the decision of the RO to shorten after one lap. After the tail end of the Toppers finished, the AP was raised whilst the course was re-laid.

Race two began similarly to race one, with a tussle at the pin-end won by Cory who quickly accelerated away. Halldron was close behind but ducked smartly back around the pin end thinking he was the subject of an individual recall and so lost ground. Cory again was first around the windward mark followed shortly after by Thomas, Simon Herrington (Downs, 1958), Jeremy Daniell (Downs, 1948) and Halldron, the latter having made up ground lost on the start line and furiously determined to make up for his earlier blunder. Cory went on to win again in the two lap race, Halldron redeeming himself with a second having of course this time finished on the correct side of the committee boat, Thomas coming in third.

A brief pause after race two ensued as banana loaf baked by the Downs House Secretary was handed out from the patrol boats. Refuelled and refreshed we proceeded to race three. Again Cory led off the line, but at the windward mark, a surprise- Herrington rounded first, Cory pursuing closely. Both craft were significantly ahead of the next two contestants, Halldron and Thomas, who vied for the advantage in the waves. Cory was able to reel Herrington in at the last moment, leaving him with a creditable second. Meanwhile Halldron was able to catch a crafty wave or two and edge Thomas out at mark 3, taking third place on the line.

Race four and Cory with three firsts in the bag decided on a cheeky port tack flyer on the pin end which didn't go quite to plan and left him ducking transoms. Thomas was first to the windward mark, having tacked out to sea into the now slackening ebb tide and was able to lay it in clear air, rounding comfortably ahead of Cory in second. A resurgent Smith who on the previous two races had been uncharacteristically down the fleet due to a broken tiller extension was now back on form having achieved a satisfactory jury arrangement- he pushed Halldron down to fourth. Cory was again able to reel in Thomas - the final positions being Cory first, Thomas second and Smith third.

An excellent day's racing, with perfect weather. Race management was excellent, the Galley did us proud with bacon and egg rolls (not to mention the banana loaf!) And in true Downs style all of the competitors worked brilliantly together to help everyone come ashore safely in somewhat lively conditions.

The event counts towards both the Streaker Southern Paddle Series sponsored by Pinnell & Bax and the South East Series.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
11919Simon CoryDowns SC‑11113
21611Ceri ThomasBroadstairs SC33‑528
32109Phil HalldronDowns SC(DNF)2349
41844Chris SmithIsland Barn RSC2‑66311
51958Simon HerringtonDowns SC‑542511
61948Jeremy DaniellDowns SC454(DNS)13
71610Joanna ThompsonDowns SC67(DNF)DNS22
81579Rosaleen LordDowns SC787(DNF)22

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