Two more rounds of the 2005 Belle Isle Lark ranking ladder have taken place with results from Felixstowe and West Kirby making a real impact on the leader board.
The leaders of the silver fleet at Arun, MJ Gifford and Kirsty Phipps have suffered by missing both events. Their close rivals Nigel Scott and Gill Young posted a 7th at Felixstowe leaving them only 2 points behind MJ. Dan Smith/Helen Winward made the journey from Brighton to West Kirby and sailed their socks off to get a very useful 4th which gives them a clear lead of the silver fleet, pushing MJ/Kirsty back to second and Scott/Young back to 3rd. The top 3 need to keep an eye over their shoulders though because Steve Chatten and Helen Barry have been quietly improving as the season has gone on and a 7th at West Kirby puts them in 4th only 5 points behind Scott and Young.
All of these boats have done more than the minimum 5 events that are needed for qualification. In order to improve their overall position they need to post a result better than their 5th best result. All 4 are heading to Weymouth so Dan, Nigel and MJ will all be looking for something higher than 17th and Steve Chatten will be after something higher than 20th.
In the gold fleet Steve Cumley/Eluned Jones scored a second at Felixstowe and a first at West Kirby to extend their lead over second place Emma Harris and third place Alan Krayling. Jonathan Lewis and Milly Parsons have still only completed 4 events, however a first at Felixstowe has meant that a good result at Weymouth will probably promote them into either first or second overall.
If you win an event with fewer than 20 entries you score 1 point, 0.8 for 20 to 29, 0.6 for 30 to 39 and so on. Crucially Jonathan Lewis and Milly Parsons have won two big events this season; the winters and the inlands, which means they have a 0.4 and a 0.6 on their score card which could be very useful at the end of the season.
Overall there have been some real improvements in position. Simon Cox and Anna Hotchkiss scored a 3rd at Arun and a 2nd at West Kirby to improve their score. Likewise Mark Ampleford and Lee Nankervis have made recent gains and the 5th at West Kirby by Stewart and Louise Norris will mean that they jump up the leader board once they qualify.
There are currently 102 different pairings that have competed in at least one of the Belle Isle events. This is a fantastic achievement because it is already more than last year. 21 boats have qualified by doing 5 events and there are a further 10 that need only do one more event. Things are going from strength to strength!