The May Bank Holiday weekend saw the return of The Larks to Rock for what is regarded to be an indicator event for the Nationals. With Saturday bringing lots of water and even more wind, the race officer set a starboard hand triangle inside the harbour. Proving they are the class heavy weather specialists, the P&B Boys (Steve Hall & Simon Haighton) showed the fleet the way home, flying the kite down wind in gusty conditions to win from Simon Cox & Joe Hunt in second and Richard “Smashie” Bennett & Nicola Booth in third.
A protest hearing between Smashie and Emma Harris & Becky Priest later led to Smashie & Nicola being DSQ from race 1 and Emma & Becky being gifted with average points after a capsize. Several boats, including Nigel Hufton & Ellie Bremmer and Harry Pynn & Alan Krailing who snapped their masts, limped home with gear failure.
Sunday dawned with 3 races scheduled out in the bay in much calmer conditions. Race 2, Simon & Joe led around the first lap closely followed by Harry & Alan complete with a new mast delivered from Suffolk the night before and a borrowed mainsail! As the breeze started to fade the leading two boats were joined by Helen Scott & Jeremy Stephens and Smashie & Nicola. Smashie & Nicola played the right strategy in the strong tide and after a close battle took the bullet ahead of Harry & Alan and Nigel & Ellie.
A similar story was on the cards for race 3 and this time it was the turn of Harry & Alan to take the win ahead of Helen & Jeremy who were showing great speed around the course. With the wind dropping and the tide strengthening for the final race of the day conditions were challenging and playing the shifts and tide proved key. Nigel & Ellie sailed well to take line honours ahead of Chris & Ann Biglin who banged the left hand corner on the first beat and Emma & Becky in third. Harry & Alan were overnight leaders but there was still much to play for.
Monday brought a very early start and mist. Eventually the mist cleared and with a strengthening breeze the fleet took to the bay in near perfect conditions. Today was the day to be path finder as getting out of the tide on the right hand side of the course was the way to go. Harry & Alan and Smashie & Nicola again found themselves at the front of the fleet. Harry & Alan sailed consistently to take their second win of the event with Smashie & Nicola in second and Emma & Becky third.
Going into the last race the event was still wide open, but with the tide rushing out rapidly starting late was the tactic to use. The Biglins took full advantage of this and with many of the fleet over standing the windward mark, led the race from start to finish, ahead of Dave Young & Holly Scott and Smashie & Nicola. With Harry & Alan finishing mid fleet in the final race Smashie & Nicola took their first open win of the year proving that they could be title contenders at Bridlington in July.
The Larks would like to extend a big thank you to all at Rock SC, especially Race Officer Martin Hough, for putting on yet another classic weekends sailing in sunny Cornwall.
1st 2487 Smashie Bennett & Nicola Booth Staunton Harold SC
2nd 2452 Harry Pynn & Alan Krailing Waldringfield SC
3rd 2470 Nigel Hufton & Ellie Bremmer Frensham Pond SC
Full results to come soon...