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Streaker P&B Northern Paddle Series at Hykeham Sailing Club

by James Dawes and Milleke 22 Jun 2023 09:10 BST 10 June 2023
Streaker P&B Northern Paddle at Hykeham © Tim Cripps

At 9 o'clock on 10 June, on a gorgeous sunny day, Hykeham Sailing Club in Lincolnshire welcomed 13 sailors from the North and Midlands to their Streaker open meeting - the latest in the P&B Northern Paddle series. Budding journalist Milleke (Topper 46688) brings us her report of race 1...

As the morning sun created sparkles on the lake, the competitors started to rig their boats, followed by a briefing at 10:50am. The OD for the day was Chris Bridle with help from Frank Ash. As the sailors left the bay, the wind was at a nice force 3, then started to fluctuate between forces 2 and 3.

At one minute to go a gust was seen in the distance, the racers were battling against a starboard end bias, eager to get over the line just right. Giles Therkelson-Smith (1974) had a great start, and so did Richard Brameld (1654), but up on a lovely lift was Dave Borrett (1864). The fight to the windward mark began and, with ease, Giles got there first. He read the shifts well on the second beat and was a couple of hundred meters in front of the rest of the fleet. Giles won the morning race comfortably and led the fleet back in for lunch.

James Dawes takes up the story after Milleke left for junior training...

For the afternoon, the breeze had increased giving us some champagne sailing conditions. The first of the afternoon races saw the course being moved to allow for the slight change in wind direction but basically the same course.

The gun went and we headed off for some more racing. Giles rounded the top mark first with a pack of 4 or 5 boats close on his tail. On the first lap, with very little gap between boats, the top 5 swapped places at every mark rounding as we called for water. Another shifty beat followed with Giles, James Dawes (1975) and Richard breaking clear of the following pack. But unfortunately on the downwind leg they missed out mark 3 and had to sail back... oops! This gave the lead to Dave, with Jon Aldhous (1703) and Peter Kitchen (1914) close behind.

As the race went on the wind increased, along with the size of the shifts, making the beats tricky. Dave managed to hold off his fellow Beaver sailor Jon, while Peter managed to keep the recovering James and Richard at bay to claim the final podium spot!

The final race saw the breeze increase again, giving some chances to make some spray on the reaches. The wind swung round again, forcing the OD to move the start and the course a little more. So it was all to play for as there were five boats who were all able to take the overall win.

The race started cleanly, with James first to the windward mark and a pack of three Beavers boats and Neil Dyer (1502) hot on his heels. With the top 5 covered by less than 4 boat lengths, the long, gusty reach across the lake was fun and exciting to watch as we all streaked into the gybe mark and wobbled out the other side. Everyone survived the first lap without too much difficulty, but Richard and Jon managed to squeeze past James on the downwind legs, dropping him back to 3rd.

With the boats so close there was very little room for mistakes. Richard managed to keep the pack at bay on the beat; they were still within touching distances of each other at the windward mark. At the next gybe mark James managed to get an overlap on Richard but then had a wobbly moment and clipped the mark with the boom, causing him to do spins and dropping him back to 5th.

The top 5 survived another lap and got ready for the next shifty beat. They all tacked off at different points, splitting the leaders with some playing the left and others the right. Unfortunately, Dave was the next to make a mistake and was hit by the boom during a tack and took a dip, followed by Neil joining him in the warm water. James managed to play the shifts well and popped back into the lead, with a surprised Richard hot on his heels. Jon, Neil and Dave dropped back, giving the top two a bit of breathing space.

The racing settled down after that but the shifts and gusts didn't, making some of the beats tough on the legs. The reaches were pretty fast and wild at times, with a few more people taking a dip around the race course. James managed to hold onto the lead and take the win, with Richard in 2nd and Jon in 3rd.

Special thanks to Nick and his team for the superb lunch and Chris and his race team for running three excellent races in glorious sunshine.

Next up in the P&B Northern Paddle Series, on 24 June, is the Streaker's first ever visit to Halifax SC, the highest sailing club in England. Then it's the big one... the Noble Marine Streaker National Championships at Grafham Water on 7-9 July.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st1975James DawesRedditch SC2‑413
2nd1654Richard BrameldBeaver SC3‑525
3rd1703Jon AldhousBeaver SC‑4235
4th1864Dave BorrettBeaver SC‑5156
5th1914Peter KitchenTees & Hartleypool YC‑7369
6th1502Neil DyerHykeham SC‑86410
7th2138Peter TyremanPennine SC67‑913
8th1974Giles Therkelson‑SmithBeaver SC1(DNF)DNS15
9th2105Bob TowlerBeaver SC‑128715
10th1515Oliver GabbitasYork SC‑99817
11th1646Andrew FrancisHykeham SC1010(DNF)20
12th1763Steve LongneyHykeham SC‑11111021
13th1822Fiona FarrerHykeham SC(DNF)DNSDNS28

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