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Streaker North Sails Southern Paddle Series Open at Tamworth Sailing Club

by Matt Whitfield 1 Apr 14:24 BST 26 March 2022
Race 1 during the Tamworth Streaker Open © Felicity Haines

Five Streaker helms (three visitors and two home sailors) arrived at Tamworth Sailing Club on a warm and sunny Saturday, hoping the forecast for the breeze to fill in would prove to be true. Sure enough, after a rather glassy start, the breeze began to build in time for the opening race of the 2022 North Sails Southern Paddle Series.

Race one got under way in fairly light and tricky conditions. Local sailor Matt Whitfield (1901) called the line and the first beat correctly to lead around the first mark, closely followed by Nigel Pepperdine (2136) from Staunton Harold and Neil Firth (1977) from Banbury. Matt would maintain the lead for the majority of the first lap until Nigel and Neil closed in on the run, with Nigel just sneaking through to take the lead as the second lap started.

Nigel never looked back, going on to take the first win of the day. Matt and Neil continued to battle closely for the next couple of laps, swapping places back and forth until Neil found the fast lane, netting a second-place finish. Matt crossed the line in third, Colin Staite (1769) of Bartley was not far behind in fourth having recovered from a slow start, with second home helm Helen Elson (1601) retiring after sailing the wrong course.

Race two got under way shortly after lunch in much the same conditions, with the wind having filled in on slightly more of the lake. There was little to separate Colin, Neil and Nigel for much of the race, with positions once again swapping on a regular basis.

Colin eventually prevailed to take the second win of the day, with Neil holding on for another second place, ahead of Nigel in third. Local helms Helen and Matt spent much of the race locked in their own private battle, with Matt eventually able to break away for fourth, with Helen fifth.

With all to play for, the final race of the day got under way in a slightly increased breeze. What followed was an intensely close battle between four helms. Nigel made the best start to lead around the first mark, closely followed by Matt who was starting to find his rhythm after several months off sailing due to injury, Colin and Neil. By the second mark, Matt had the lead, only to lose it to Nigel again on the second beat. Matt and Colin then chose to take the more direct route between the islands, allowing them to overhaul Nigel by the final mark of the lap, with Neil following suit to close up the fleet.

By the first mark of the second lap, Colin had the lead, only to lose out to Matt and Nigel by the second mark, with Neil now joining the group. The race continued in much the same way, with each helm occupying each position at least once, the difference between first and last being that close. Eventually Neil prevailed to claim the final race win of the day from Colin, who was a close second. Nigel grabbed another third, with Matt in fourth having dropped back on the final lap.

Overall, this allowed Neil to take a close victory in the first Streaker Open of the year, with Colin second and Nigel third.

A big thank you to Tamworth SC members and volunteers for their excellent work and support in making this event, the first since 2019, possible. A great day was had by all who took part.

The Streaker North Sails Southern Paddle series continues at Burghfield SC on Saturday 2 April 2022.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3Pts
1Neil Firth1977Banbury SC‑2213
2Colin Staite1769Bartley SC‑4123
3Nigel Pepperdine2136Staunton Harold SC1‑334
4Matt Whitfield1901Tamworth SC3‑447
5Helen Elson1601Tamworth SC(DNF)5DNS10

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