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CoastWaterSports 2014

2021 Streaker Nationals at Staunton Harold - Form Guide

by Neil Firth 29 Jun 10:12 BST 2-4 July 2021
Martin Penty - 2019 Streaker National Champion c Karen Langston © Karen Langston

Streaker sailors from all over the country are heading to Staunton Harold next weekend (2-4 July) for their biggest Nationals since Carsington 2014. The fully subscribed 50-boat entry includes several new faces, a number of which are well known in other classes but yet to show their true form in the Streaker. So, here's our guide to the sailors to watch, starting with the top five from last time at Weymouth in 2019...

Martin Penty of Beaver SC is reigning champion and won pretty much all the major events in 2019. He upset the form guide last time, toppling man-to-beat Tom Gillard from his throne. We haven't seen much of Martin so far in 2021, but three bullets at the Hornsea Open tells us he's still on his game.

Steve "DJ Enterprise" Blackburn of Leigh & Lowton also pipped Tom at Weymouth, showing he's got what it takes to win on the big stage. Whether he's been on the pies or the kettle bells through lockdown, he's sure to be on the (disco) beat!

Tom Gillard of Sheffield Viking is eight times Streaker National Champion with an outstanding record across many other competitive classes. He's still considered the man-to-beat and is clearly serious about retaking his crown, missing the first day of Salcombe Merlin Week to be at Staunton Harold this year.

Alan Gillard, also of Sheffield Viking, tops his son's record with ten Streaker National titles to his name. A stalwart of the class with more race wins than most have had hot dinners, he's always going to be there or thereabouts.

Veronica Falat of Waveney & Oulton Broad is another stalwart of the class, both on and off the water. Anything she lacks in brute force is more than made up for by her experience and guile. Don't be surprised if she wins a race or two and, who knows, she could be the first ever lady National Champion.

If you've followed the Streakers at all in recent years you'll already know those five, but this year sees an exceptional influx of new talent into the class. Here we pick a few who we suspect will give the established names a run for their money. "In no particular order"...

Jasper Barnham of Snettisham Beach is a multiple 2000 National Champion and a Dart 18 National and European Champion. He is well known in several other double-handers but new to Streakers last year. Jasper has already shown good form, taking podium places at several competitive Open Meetings. He arrives at Staunton off the back of his recent Southern Area Championships win, so is clearly one to watch.

Graham Sexton of Fishers Green is another 2000 National Champion, as well as multiple ISO National and European champion. Graham bought his Streaker just before lockdown and were it not for Covid we'd have a better idea of his form. He narrowly missed the podium on countback at the recent Southern Area Championships, despite leading every race, so he'll be keen to put that right at Staunton.

Peter Gray of Staunton Harold is best known more recently for being at the front of the fleet in Scorpions, GP14s and National 18s. He's brand new to Streakers but already getting to grips with the class, winning the competitive and well attended Hykeham Open Meeting. Pete is on his home waters and, as one of the lighter helms, will surely excel if it's light and shifty.

Ian Jones of Dovestone is the exception in this group. He has a long and proven history in the Streaker, including twice National Champion, but he wasn't at Weymouth in 2019. Ian is also a multiple Laser Radial Masters champion, so won't be at all intimidated by the size and quality of the fleet!

STOP PRESS: Arran Holman of Hollowell SC has taken the final slot at the 50-boat Streaker Nationals. Arran is best known as a 470 helm in the British Sailing Team. He has just returned from the recent Europe Nationals at Weymouth where he stepped into a borrowed boat to finish third overall. If Arran can adapt to the Europe that quickly, he'll be a serious threat in the Streaker too.

We're looking forward to following the inevitable battles within this high quality fleet and to seeing who is finally crowned National Champion 2021. Roll on Friday!

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