© LCOA/Pete Vincent

Lark Inland Championships report

Edd McArdle - 04th July 2007

144 Lark sailors converged from all over the country for the 2007 Lark Inland Championships at Grafham Water SC, where they enjoyed both great sailing conditions and celebrations for the Lark Classes' 40th Anniversary. The weekend began with a pin-biased start line that found much of the fleet at the committee-boat end, and last-years' winners Jon Fish & Toby Lewis took advantage to lead around the first windward mark followed by Alan Krailing & Edd McArdle and Nigel Scott & Rachel Rhodes. Emma Harris & Becky Priest went hard right up the second beat and took a slim lead into the final run, where the leading boats took different sides of the course. The right-hand side proved more effective and Harris & Priest took the win from Krailing & McArdle in 2nd, J.Fish & Lewis in 3rd and Scott & Rhodes in 4th.

In the second race Matt White & Harriet Steer got the shifts right for the first beat with Harris & Priest and Nigel Hufton & Ellie Bremner on their transom. A close race continued through to a decisive run where the leading boats split once again, and Hufton & Bremner and Krailing & McArdle enjoyed the fresh breeze on the left-hand side to pull through to first and second respectively, and Chris Fish & Beth Condie got ahead of Harris & Priest to take third.

The line-bias for the third race had switched to the committee-boat, and a general recall brought the use of the black flag for the restart. Steve Hall & Simon Haighton and John & Sue Billington headed the fleet during another close race. The final beat saw a tacking dual between Hall & Haighton and Fish & Lewis, only for Hufton & Bremner to take sail around them both to take the win. Hall & Haighton discovered they were OCS when they didn't get a finish gun, giving J.Fish & Lewis second and Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones third place.

Sunday morning brought some sore heads and limbs from the merriment and dancing, and a lot more breeze and changeable weather to keep the fleet awake. After a committee-boat biased start in race 4, Hall & Haigton showed everyone round the course only to be OCS again. The Fish brothers were battling for first place but the race changed dramatically during the reaches on the last lap, where a strong breeze coming down the course allowed boats to catch up and seven boats piled into the gybe with first place at stake. Krailing & McArdle got their kite filling first, and were followed to the finish by Chris Whitehouse & Tom Castle in 2nd, Jon Lewis & Tessa Nicholls in 3rd and James Stewart & Ruth Johnson in 4th.

The use of the black flag continued in race 5, with another close beat seeing C.Fish & Condie first round the windward mark followed by Krailing & McArdle and Simon Cox & Laura Jakeman. The first two boats managed to pull away from the fleet on the reaches and spent the rest of the race match racing each other. Eventually, C.Fish & Condie got the shifts right at the final windward mark and held his lead down the two reaches. Cox & Jakeman crossed in third but were found to be OCS promoting White & Steer, who headed the rest of the fleet to 3rd with Stewart & Johnson in 4th again.

The final race saw Krailing & McArdle first at the windward mark and keeping their lead through to the finish. Another dramatic final lap with a strong breeze on the reaches lead to some exciting reaching and gybing and a capsize for C.Fish & Condie in second place. Hall & Haigton managed this strong breeze well and pulled through to 2nd, with Chris & Rachael Jenkins in 3rd and Harris & Priest in 4th. A mention must go to Jon Fish who broke his mast during the race but still managed to finish in 5th, and it subsequently fell off his road trailer on the way home, causing mayhem on the A14!

Overall Krailing & McArdle were deserving winners of the event with a very consistent set of five results in the top two. It was great to see many new faces at the event as well as a number of Baker Larks including Lark 40. The 40th Lark National Championships takes place from 21st to 27th July. If you are keen to attend but do not have a boat, helm or crew contact us at register@larkclass.org now as we may be able to help!

The Lark Class Owners Association would like to thank our event sponsors Harken, Selden, Pedrollo, Pinnell & Bax and Speed Sails for their continued support.

1st 2464 Alan Krailing & Edd McArdle, Waldringfield SC 8pts
2nd 2494 Chris Fish & Beth Condie, Waldringfield SC 21pts
3rd 2311 Emma Harris & Becky Priest, Waldringfield SC 23pts
4th 2356 Jon Lewis & Tessa Nicholls, Burghfield SC 28pts
5th 2347 James Stewart & Ruth Johnson, South Staffs SC 37pts
6th 2508 Tom Jeffcoate & Toby Wincer, Notts County SC 47pts
7th 2491 Stephen & Chris Videlo, Waldringfield SC 47pts
8th 2452 Harry Pynn & Joe Hunt, Waldringfield SC 53pts
9th 2496 Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones, Barnt Green SC 56pts
10th 2471 Matthew White & Harriet Steer, Waldringfield 60pts

1st Silver 2495 Chris & Ann Biglin, Shustoke SC

1st Bronze 2488 Adrian & Hayleigh Padro, Shustoke SC

1st Classic 376 Simon & Adam Styles, Evesham SC