Streaker Inland Championships 6th-7th May 2017
In recent years the Streaker Inlands have been dominated by Ian Jones. This year he won again – but this time the results were in the balance until the final stages of the last race.
Saturday was cold and grey with a shifty easterly breeze that was gusty enough to cause a few capsizes. The fleet of 17 boats was smaller than expected but contained 7 of the top 10 at last year’s Nationals and the racing was very competitive. Ian Jones and Isaac Marsh, both from Dovestone SC, got away well in the first race and had a close battle on every leg of the course. The following group of Veronica Falat, Steve Blackburn and Alan Gillard were chasing hard and, in the shifty conditions approaching the windward mark for the final time, Veronica found a port lift that squeezed her past Ian and Isaac who were struggling on the starboard lay-line. Veronica hung on to the lead on the downwind legs and took the win with Ian 2nd and Isaac 3rd.
After lunch, races 2 and 3 were sailed back-to-back. Doug Horner was the early leader in race 2 but it was local sailor Graeme Bristow who eventually finished 1st, while Doug took 2nd and Isaac was 3rd again. Ian Jones was back in 5th, behind Veronica.
Race 3 started as a big port lift came in and the boats at the port end of the line had a big advantage. These included Ian and Doug who led the fleet at the windward mark. It was Doug’s turn to do well and he overtook Ian to take the win. Graeme was 3rd and James Dawes 4th.
So, at the end of sailing on Saturday, after 3 races, the results were very close; Doug was leading with 8 points, Ian had 9 and Veronica and Isaac both had 11.
Sunday was a very different day – warm and very sunny – with a north-westerly breeze that was light and patchy. After a postponement, race 4 got underway in tricky conditions. A starboard lift helped the boats on the right-hand side of the first beat while those on the left were becalmed. Ian was the leader, just ahead of a chasing bunch that contained many of the other contenders including Isaac, Alan Gillard, Steve Blackburn and Graeme. Doug was further back and could only manage an 8th place in this race while Veronica recovered from a very poor first beat to finish 5th.
It took several attempts to get the final race underway with last minute postponements and two general recalls but eventually the race started successfully under a black flag. By now Ian was leading on points but victory wasn’t assured. He made a good start and took the lead but his main rival, Isaac, was always in contention. In the chasing bunch there was plenty of place-changing and Ian’s lead looked vulnerable. The downwind legs were tricky as the breeze favoured some boats and then others and, for one brief moment on the final lap, it looked like Veronica had sailed deep enough on a broad reach to overtake everyone – but then the breeze filled in just before the mark and Ian Jones shot ahead to win by a comfortable margin, leaving the chasing bunch to have a final scrap to the line and 6 boats finished within seconds of each other.
So Ian received the Inland Championship trophy for the 4th year running. Isaac was runner-up and four boats tied for 3rd place, with Doug taking that result on tie-break. Duncan McDonald from Newhaven & Seaford SC was judged to be the winner of the ‘Silver Fleet’, finishing 9th overall.
Thank you to Leigh & Lowton SC for a great weekend and especially to Richard Catchpole and his team on the committee boat for working hard to give us some good racing in trying conditions. Thank you also to Rooster Sailing for support with prizes. The lucky winner of a Rooster Sailing foils bag, was David Parkinson (Streaker 1852) of the home club.
Report by Veronica Falat