A total of fifteen Larks made the trip to Lymington for a cruise around the Solent this weekend. The briefing got underway with a rumble of thunder and the Isle of White quickly disappearing from view. The PRO decided not to send the fleet out until the storm had gone directly overhead, which sent shivers down the spine of many a dinghy sailor. The wind disappeared with the storm and the hot sultry afternoon became a waiting game. When the wind eventually came back the fleet was sent out into the sunshine and a lovely 10-15knt westerly.
Race one was interesting, clearly more than one helm had read the SI’s but were not prepared to check them out at sea, resulting in the leading pack splitting in two. The Bronze fleet followed the wrong pack thinking the leaders must have got it wrong. However, at the ‘additional non-compulsory gybe mark’ (aka the Contessa Fleet marker buoy) the boats in the main pack dropped their kites thinking they were off up the beat, the Bronze fleet gybed and kept their kites filled and caught them just before the (real) leeward mark. John Crooks, sailing with Kirsty Phipps, was hard on the heels of Stuart & Julia Allen and kept the pressure on to finish just behind within smiling distance of each other.
Race two saw the whole fleet sail the same course, which was nice, Katharine Sampson & Saturday stand in crew Katie Linnaker started well and were chased around the course not to be beaten. Stuart & Julia were leading the chasing pack until the leeward mark, when a kite dropping incident allowed John & Kirsty through. Team Allen never got the place back, but could see the whites of their eyes all the way up the last beat; was it fear?? They may never know! Robert & Ruth Marlow saw their opportunity to get past the Allen’s, but finished just behind after sailing a good last beat.
Sunday dawned with cloudy skies, a gently breeze and few post Public House memories. Katharine Sampson, not happy with her boat speed on Saturday, got the tape measure out, took her mast down and did something brilliant. The next three races were impeccable (with a third overall in race 5), which gave her and regular crew Alison Dart the Bronze Fleet victory they missed out on in Weymouth. Further down the race course John had poor boat speed up wind but came into his own down wind. Stuart & Jules pipped John & Kirsty in two out of three races, although Crooks’ down wind speed and tactical genius gave him a top 50% result in race 5.
Thanks to Royal Lymington YC for hosting the event, to the Firefly’s for allowing us to share the facilities & the event and to all the lovely competitors for making it a fine event, let’s hope we can go back again next year.
Bronze Fleet Results
1st Katharine Sampson & Katie Linnaker/Alison Dart, 27 pts
2nd Stuart & Julia Allen, 37 pts
3rd John Crooks & Kirsty Phipps, 39 pts
4th Robert & Ruth Marlow, 49 pts
Stuart Allen, 2301