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Gill Streaker Inland Championships at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Neil Firth 17 May 2022 22:26 BST 14-15 May 2022

The Gill Streaker Inlands at Grafham Water Sailing Club went down to the wire, with three boats on equal points going into the final race. Each of them had a win in the prevailing conditions of the final day, so which one would be crowned Streaker Inland Champion?

But before all that, Saturday saw a very light and patchy breeze, providing a mix of frustration and relief throughout the fleet. Heading the frustrated camp were Duncan McDonald (Newhaven & Seaford) and Jasper Barnham (Snettisham Beach) who looked to have a comfortable margin after the first beat.

However, the fickle breeze had other ideas downwind, to the relief of Giles Therkelson-Smith (Welton), Nigel Pepperdine (Staunton Harold) and Eden Hyland (Chase). They were carried up to and past the early leaders, then dodged the worst of the holes (and the D-Zeros!) for a tense couple of laps, to finish in that order.

There was relief all round when the Race Officer, Peter Curtis, decided that enough was enough for day one. There was a favourable forecast for Sunday so competitors could look forward to the realistic prospect of four championship-quality races.

Sunday didn't disappoint. A reliable 8-12 knots was enough to reward consistent sailing, whilst still providing some variation in pressure and direction to keep the racing tight and competitive.

First race of the day was an opportunity for Giles to show that his win on Saturday was no fluke! One lap in, he appeared to have the measure of Jasper and Eden who were both chasing hard but to no avail, as Giles took the win ahead of Jasper. Duncan was also in the mix, pulling up to third ahead of Eden on the final lap, only to learn that he had been OCS.

Race 3 (second of the day) was Jasper's turn to show his form. He and Neil Firth (Banbury) found the fast lane up the first beat to hold a decent margin over the chasing pack. Jasper and Neil looked to be holding their lead as the chasers battled amongst themselves, but it was Eden who broke free from the pack to give chase. Jasper held on to win, with Eden reeling in Neil on the final lap to take second.

Eden is new to the Streaker and was sailing the first Hartley Boats built Streaker at his first Open Meeting in the Class. If he is still figuring out his 'fast mode', it certainly didn't show in race 4, which he led from start to finish. Jasper took second, just holding off Giles on the finish line.

So the scene was set for a real "medal race" to decide the championship! Giles, Jasper and Eden were on equal points and all had a race win to their name in Sunday's championship conditions. The winner of race 5 would be Inland Champion! That said, Richard Brameld (Welton) had not read the script... he established a tidy lead after a blistering first beat, although he was then caught going downwind!

Nevertheless, he held onto fourth, while the championship contenders were fighting it out ahead of him. In a race worthy of being a championship decider, Giles gained a narrow advantage over the other two which he held for most of the race, only to be literally pipped at the post by Eden at the finish pin.

And so a new Streaker Inland Champion was crowned, with Eden Hyland beating Giles Therkelson-Smith by the narrowest of margins, both on the water and on points (3-2-1-1 vs 1-1-3-2). Jasper Barnham was third - only one point adrift - and Colin Staite (Bartley) took the Silver Fleet trophy with sixth overall.

Thanks go to Peter Curtis and all the Grafham volunteers for a successful and enjoyable championship, generously sponsored by Gill Marine. Next up in the Streaker Rooster Super Series is the Southern Area Championship at Downs SC on 21-22 May.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelms_NameSailing_ClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st2146Eden Hyland ‑332117
2nd1974Giles Therkelson‑SmithWelton SC11‑4327
3rd2127Jasper BarnhamSnettisham Beach SC‑421238
4th2136Nigel PepperdineStaunton Harold SC24‑65516
5th1977Neil FirthBanbury SC6634‑719
6th1769Colin StaiteBartley75‑107625
7th2124Michael AlexanderRutland SC‑9756826
8th1569Richard BrameldWelton8‑1098429
9th2132Chris SmithIsland Barn Reservoir‑10979934
10th1864Dave BorrettBeaver SC‑1288111037
11th1943Chris FosterRBSC1111(DNC)101143
12th2102Duncan McdonaldNSSC5(OCS)DNCDNCDNC47
13th1549Chris KellySnettisham Beach SC‑131211121247

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