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Noble Marine 2022 YY - LEADERBOARD
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Boat Whisperer Tactics Double DVD
Boat Whisperer Tactics Double DVD

2022 Noble Marine Streaker Nationals at South Shields Sailing Club

by Neil Firth 30 Sep 17:55 BST 23-25 September 2022
Day two at the 2022 Noble Marine Streaker Nationals at South Shields © Izzy Robertson

South Shields Sailing Club delivered a truly memorable 2022 Noble Marine Streaker National Championship event. Conditions over the three days ranged from 5 knots with calm seas to 18 knots with "waves the size of houses", providing a fantastic test of all round ability and a worthy National Champion.

On day one, the fleet was greeted with glorious sunshine and just enough breeze to overcome the flooding tide in Tynemouth harbour and reach the open waters of the North Sea. The barely viable westerly then died away to be replaced by a steady 6-8 knot easterly, just as Race Officer, Jason Riby, had the windward mark in position! The inevitable AP followed, as the mark layers spun the course through 180 degrees. There was relief all round as the breeze held well enough to complete the two scheduled races.

The fleet was a little over-eager at the start of race one, allegedly led by Neil Firth (Banbury), resulting in the first and only general recall of the weekend. Flag U was used extensively from then on, and the race got away cleanly at the second attempt. Steve Blackburn (Leigh & Lowton / WLYC) led at the windward mark after fully committing to the left of the first beat. Not far behind were Pete Gray (Staunton Harold), Martin Penty (Beaver) and Giles Therkelson-Smith (Welton) who battled it out for line honours. Ultimately, it was Martin who found a little extra pace to take the bullet, followed by Steve and then Pete and Giles.

Race two saw most of the same boats at the front of the fleet, as the breeze showed signs of fading. Veronica Falat (Waveney & Oulton Broad) was also in the mix, as was defending champion Tom "Gilly" Gillard (Sheffield Viking) after an uncharacteristically slow start to his competition. However, it was Martin who showed his mastery of the light stuff to take a second bullet ahead of Pete and Gilly.

Back ashore, Yvonne Henry served her delicious home-made cottage pie and the talk was all about the next day's forecast and whether or not the early leaders would be able to hold their form in the very different conditions.

Sure enough, we woke the next morning to a brisk northerly and "waves the size of houses!" - as one experienced sailor described it afterwards. Day two was a test beyond the experience of many Streaker sailors and yet, the rewards and sheer excitement of surfing those waves left indelible memories... as did some spectacular spills!

As you might expect, the heavy weather specialists came to the fore in these challenging conditions. Tom Goodey (RNSA/Broadstairs) was able to make the most of his long levers and showed excellent speed and boat handling, despite this being his first-ever Streaker event. Another Streaker first-timer, Kevan Gibb (Largo Bay), was also in the mix, as was Jasper Barnham (Snettisham Beach) who was putting together a consistent series after two 5th places on day one.

Tom Goodey nailed the start of race three and powered away to lead at the windward mark. Courses for the weekend were sausage-triangle (with the run first) and he held his lead over Martin and Gilly for a lap and a half. However he was overhauled by the more experienced pair on the reaching legs to finish third. At the front, the battle for the championship was starting to emerge, with Martin and Gilly exchanging crosses up the beats. The race finished with Martin making it three bullets out of three and Gilly with some ground to make up in the overall standings.

The start of race four saw a number of front runners, including Martin, struggling to hit the line on time against the wind, waves and tide - barely laying the pin end. However, Gilly, Tom Goodey and Jasper got away cleanly and made the most of the building breeze to finish in that order, despite Jasper having a brief swim! Martin fought his way back up to fourth to keep his championship on track, while Kevan succumbed to a broken boom which scuppered his challenge for an overall podium place.

Kevan wasn't the only casualty of race four as the breeze built to around 20 knots. There were just fourteen finishers, many with a capsize or two to their name, and a significant number of retirements. By the finish the rescue team was at full stretch, which left the Race Officer with no option but to abandon the last race of the day.

Safely ashore, as the BBQ got into full swing, there were many enthusiastic tales of thrills, spills and "what might have been". At the sharp end of the competition, Martin was looking like it was "his to lose", although there was still a possibility of a charging Gilly nailing the last two races and retaining his title.

Day three was as forecast; much the same wind as the previous day, but from the west with significantly flatter water. The fleet arrived at the sailing area to find the course largely set. After a few tweaks of the start line, the deciding races were under way.

Championship dinghy racing rarely provides opportunities for spectators to witness the best of the sport but, for those on the South Shields RIBs, Martin and Gilly provided a masterclass of strong wind Streaker sailing. They shared the lead in both races, with regular place changes and often barely a boat's length between them. Race six went to Martin after a slight right shift on the final beat, whilst Gilly took race seven on the final gybe! Similarly, Jasper and Kevan had their own battles for third place, which also finished one-a-piece.

The racing on the final day couldn't have been closer or more exciting, but ultimately Martin Penty had done enough to be crowned Noble Marine Streaker National Champion 2022! Tom Gillard was runner up and Jasper Barnham had a consistent event - never lower than fifth - to take third overall in his first Streaker Nationals.

Given the conditions, you might imagine that the Silver and Bronze Fleets would be decided purely on those who survived the most races. Not so in the Silver Fleet, with Michael Alexander posting four races in the top ten and a very impressive eighth overall and first Great Grand Master! Chris Foster won the Bronze Fleet with three good results in the top twenty and only one retirement. Veronica Falat was first lady, in thirteenth overall.

Finally, a special mention for Alan Gillard who won best presented boat with the oldest boat in the fleet, the all wood Streaker number 1551. The boat was built by Alan's father, Peter, in 2002 and Alan won the Nationals sailing it that year; the last of his ten Streaker Nationals titles. This year Alan finished tenth which is particularly impressive for a boat of that age without a raised floor. This is a feature of the modern Streaker which is generally considered to be essential when sailing in big waves!

The Streaker Class were hugely appreciative of the quality of racing and hospitality provided by South Shields Sailing Club. Commodore and Race Officer Jason Riby was brilliantly supported by his team of volunteers - on the committee boat, mark layers, rescue crews and beach team. Meanwhile, when ashore, we were well looked after by Yvonne Henry and her galley and bar teams; not only with the excellent evening meals, but with a constant stream of hot drinks, bacon and egg rolls, sandwiches and home-baked cakes. Thank you South Shields - we'll be back!

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Streaker nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoCatHelmCatClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
11982GoldMartin PentyGrand Mas...Beaver SC111‑4126
22111GoldTom Gillard Sheffield Viking SC‑8321219
32127GoldJasper BarnhamGrand Mas...Snettisham Beach SC‑55533420
42100GPeter Gray Staunton Harold SC32‑966522
52133GTom Goodey RNSA/Broadstairs SC‑189325625
61973GKevan GibbGrand Mas...Largo Bay SC1174(DNF)4329
71942GoldSteve BlackburnMasterLeigh & Lowton SC/WLYC2812(DNF)8737
82124SilverMichael AlexanderGt Grand...Rutland SC12‑178571042
92151GoldDave AdamsGrand Mas...Broadstairs SC7126(DNF)9842
101551GoldAlan GillardGrand Mas...Sheffield Viking SC1510109‑161155
111922GoldPhil Priestley Yorkshire Dales SC1013157‑181257
122121GoldIan BradleyGrand Mas...Ouse Amateur SC‑1961613141463
131972GoldVeronica FalatGt Grand...Waveney & Oulton Broad YC64(DNC)DNC121566
141645SilverLee GoodeyGrand Mas...Broadstairs SC14197820(RET)68
151977GoldNeil FirthGrand Mas...Banbury SC131613(DNF)101769
161641SilverRach Gray Staunton Harold SC(DNC)DNC141213977
172106GoldIan Priest Ripon SC911(DNC)DNC111979
181975GoldJames Dawes Redditch SC(DNC)DNC1110171380
191901SilverMatthew Whitfield Tamworth SC‑24151911211682
201876SilverPeter MatthewsGrand Mas...Waveney & Oulton Broad YC22201814‑261892
211943BronzeChris FosterGrand Mas...Rollesby Broad SC‑252517DNF1520100
222112SKatie MastersonGrand Mas...St Mary's Loch SC171821DNF‑2521100
231864BronzeDave BorrettGrand Mas...Beaver SC212120DNF19(RET)104
242132SilverChris SmithGt Grand...Island Barn Reservoir SC2014DNF(DNC)22RET107
251974GoldGiles Therkelson­SmithYouthWelton SC4BFD(DNC)DNCDNCDNC118
261914SilverPeter KitchenGrand Mas...Tees & Hartlepool YC1623(DNC)DNC24RET119
271569BronzeRichard BrameldMasterWelton SC262222DNF(DNC)DNC122
28982BBob TowlerGrand Mas...Beaver SC2324(DNC)DNC23RET126
29=1549BChris KellyGrand Mas...Snettisham Beach SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC145
29=1769SilverColin Staite Bartley SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC145
29=1870BronzePeter AngwinGt Grand...Bowmoor SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC145
29=2109SilverPhil HalldronGrand Mas...Downs SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC145
29=2135SilverMark LangstonGrand Mas...Waveney & Oulton Broad YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC145

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