Lark Short Course Championships
Easter Monday was forecast to be a nice steady 15 knots. It was at times; but then is wasn't, and then it was again. A mixture of sunshine and squalls were the order of the day, with some spectacular upsidedown moments throughout the fleet, a lot of snow, some sleet and a few lumps of hail thrown in for good measure.
Harry Pynn, giving up his own day's sailing, took on the organisation of the Short Course Champs which began by randomly selecting 6 groups of 3 boats. Each group sailed against each other in the first set of "round robin" races. At the end of these, the results were totted up and boats were rearranged into Bronze, Silver and Gold flights, each flight having it's own semi final and it's own final.
Racing was held over a short (of course) "S" shaped course. For all the Round Robin races, the first leg of the course was with the flooding tide, which made start line manouevres slightly nerve-wracking and resulted in the majority of boats starting several boat lengths from the line (being over the line is pretty terminal in a 6 minute race). There was also the "mast top" rule which meant if your mast touches the water, you're out of the race. Unfortunate for some.
After the Round Robin, it was in for a fabulous lunch (the curry was awesome!) whilst Harry and Co. counted the points. "P&B Boys", Steve Hall and Simon Haughton and Emma Harris & Becky Priest had ended on level points ahead of the rest of the fleet and so were put into the Gold flights along with Alan Krailing & Edd McCardle, Chris & Cathy Fish, Ruth Johnson & Ellie Brenner and Nigel Scott & Rachael Rhodes.
By the time the semis were due to start, two of the Bronze flight had ducked out and gone home, which meant the Bronze flight went straight into their final which was won by Will Branton & Harri Steer from John Crooks & Helen Winward.
The Silver semis were hotly contested, but the final was incredibly close. Matt White & Aaron Woolf crossed a hair's breadth ahead of Simon Cox & Joe Hunt and Stephen & Christopher Videlo who were so close that the OOD couldn't split them and were deemed equal 2nd.
Having sailed really well to get into the Gold group, both Johnson/Brenner and Scott/Rhodes were unfortunate to be eliminated after the Gold semis, leaving the remaining four to battle it out for the final. Starting in a perfect row, all boats going fast at the gun, it was anyone's race, but Harris/Priest rounded first to speed away with the tide. Krailing/McCardle caught up at the leeward mark rounding precisely on Harris/Priest's quarter. By the time the pair reached the layline for the finish, Harris/Priest had just eeked out a couple of feet and when Krailing/McCardle tacked for the line, Harris/Priest went with them, and were able to call for water on the finish. Hall/Haughton finished in 3rd.
It was fast and furious and lots of fun, even given the changeable conditions. A big thanks to Waldringfield SC for hosting it and to Harry for all his hard work.
1st Emma Harris & Becky Priest
2nd Alan Krailing & Edd McCardle
3rd Steve Hall & Simon Haughton
4th Chris & Cathy Fish
Eliminated from Gold after semi finals: Nigel Scott & Rachel Rhodes and Ruth Johnson & Ellie Brenner
1st Matt White & Alison Videlo
2nd Simon Cox & Joe Hunt
2nd Stephen & Christopher Videlo
4th Chris Whitehouse & Jane Alexander
Eliminated from Silver after semi finals: Tim Archer & Karen Jewkes and Richard Bennett & Ross Kearney
1st Will Branton & Harri Steer
2nd John Crooks & Helen Winward