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Streaker North Sails Southern Paddle Series Open at Banbury Sailing Club

by Neil Firth 29 Oct 2021 14:39 BST 23 October 2021
Streaker Open at Banbury Sailing Club © Sue Firth

Banbury Sailing Club hosted their first ever Streaker Open on Saturday 23 October. Lighter winds than forecast and unforeseen low water levels provided some challenging, yet entertaining, racing in the tricky 'snakes and ladders' conditions. This was the concluding event of the North Sails Southern Paddle Series, with all the leading contenders present... and most of them even remembering their wetsuits!

Race 1 saw James Dawes (Redditch) with an early lead, chased by Alan Gillard (Sheffield Viking) and Jasper Barnham (Snettisham Beach). This was, however, a day when the leaders were one unlucky break from the back and it was Jasper who found the best of the unreliable breeze to take the win ahead of Alan. Nigel Pepperdine (Staunton Harold) found more ladders than snakes to take third.

The course was essentially windward/leeward, but with a tricky dog-leg at the start of the beat intended to keep boats away from the shallows. Even so, there was a game of rudder and daggerboard roulette being played, as the sailors tested just how close to the banks they could go, despite the Race Officer's carefully laid shallows markers!

James broke away from the pack early in race 2 and was able to keep his foils clean for an easy win. Meanwhile, Alan pushed his luck more than most (in a borrowed boat!) and found the mud more than once, leaving Jasper to take second from Neil Firth (Banbury) in third. A special mention here for Chris Smith (Island Barn) seen hanging over his transom to push down his rudder blade... to no avail, as he was heading straight back into the shallows! Colin Staite (Bartley), on the other hand, paid the price for taking the more cautious route in his beautifully restored wooden Streaker.

Spirits remained high over a very tasty chilli and jacket potato, with the breeze showing signs of improvement for the afternoon. Jasper, Alan and James were all still in a position to win the event at this stage, so there was everything to play for in the final race.

Nigel and Neil had a strong first lap in race 3 and they weren't planning to make it easy for any of the top three. Jasper, on the other hand, looked like his luck was running out - in last place on the first run. However, he soon showed his class and found a way back to the front where he and Neil battled for the lead. Jasper ultimately had the upper hand over Neil, whilst Nigel held off the others for third. This left Jasper as the comfortable overall winner, while Nigel's position helped Neil to an unexpected second. James took third on countback from Alan and Nigel; all three on equal points. Jasper's race wins were also enough to secure his title as North Sails Southern Paddle Series champion.

The Southern Paddle Series concludes with a prize draw for a brand new Streaker sail from North Sails. Everyone who has taken part in the southern events is included in the draw, which was streamed live on Facebook from the Banbury clubhouse. The draw was won by Simon Herrington from Downs SC.

Tea and homemade cakes capped off a thoroughly enjoyable day. Thank you to Banbury Sailing Club and all their volunteers on and off the water - we'll be back!

....oh, and a special thank you to Julian Lloyd from Banbury SC for lending his wetsuit to Jasper!

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoBoat NameClubR1R2R3Pts
1stJasper Barnham2127 Snettisham Beach1(2)12
2ndNeil Firth1977White SatinBanbury SC(4)325
3rdJames Dawes2131 Redditch Sailing Club(5)156
4thAlan Gillard1618 Sheffield Viking2(4)46
5thNigel Pepperdine2136 Staunton Harold3(5)36
6thColin Staite1769 Bartley SC66(7)12
7thChris Smith2132 Island Barn Reservoir SC(7)7613
8thSteve Burgoine1571Making treesBanbury SC8(RET)816

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