The final event of this year's Lark Class Belle Isle Travellers Series was hosted over 1/2 November by Waldringfield SC. Except for the steady rain, the fleet of 22 Larks, including a healthy contingent of visitors, enjoyed great sailing conditions on Saturday for three races.
With the wind from the northeast, Principle Race Officer Richard Woolf, set a fine figure-of-8 course up river of the island for the first two races.
Going into the weekend, last year's Belle Isle winners, Alan Krailing and Edd McArdle, could still snatch 2nd overall with a dramatic last event win. They looked like they would too, as they quickly developed a significant lead from the start of race 1. By the second lap they had enough of a lead to be a little cavalier in gybing in the gusty conditions, fill up and still keep the lead from a clear leading pack including Simon Cox & Joe Hunt, Emma Harris & Neil Ravenscroft, Chris Fish & Beth Condie and Steve Hall & Simon Haighton. Places changed a lot in the pack but eventually it finished in that order.
Race 2 was sailed back-to-back with the same course. The wind steadily increased through the day with some hefty gusts over 25 knots recorded.
Krailing & McArdle again made a great start at the pin end and took a long starboard tack with the flood tide under them before crossing to lead once more. The first reach was tight and claimed one or two capsizes. The second port reach was broad and fast. The fourth leg was a scary (really Chris?!) run at an awkward angle to the tide, which made judging gybes critical. A monster gust and lack of tiller extension led to Krailing & McArdle pitch-poling and taking an early lunch. Fish & Condie took over the lead to the finish but with Cox & Hunt pushing hard in second and notably pointing much higher upwind. Stephen Videlo & Tim Linsell kept steady to take third.
The tide had turned for race 3, after lunch. Which caused many to be late across the start line. The course was also changed to a windward leeward loop alternating with the previous figure of eight. This time Krailing & McArdle were clearly second best off the start line following Fish & Condie out left from the pin. They went for the Waldringfield bank to cheat the tide before crossing it again to the windward mark. Rounding the windward mark some twenty plus seconds in front, these two teams went on to have an epic two-boat race that saw the lead change several times. Krailing & McArdle eventually won after an hour, as the PRO thought it only fair to let the contest conclude naturally. The rest of the fleet went right up the first beat and raced for third, which Hall & Haighton took just in front of Mark Ampleford & David Marlow.
Unfortunately after a postponement Sunday's racing was abandoned due to no wind. With all results to count unless 5 races were sailed, Fish & Condie were left with a clear but rather hollow victory from Harris & Ravenscroft and Stephen Videlo & Tim Linsell.
Congratulations from the whole Lark fleet go to Emma Harris & Becky Priest for regaining the Belle Isle Title that they last won in 2004.
The last event of this year is the Winter Championship at Northampton SC on 22nd/23rd November. Further details of the event, Online entry and the Laying Down Supper is available now http://www.larkclass.org/news/news_article.php?article_id=468.
1st 2494 Chris Fish & Beth Condie, Waldringfield SC
2nd 2311 Emma Harris & Neil Ravenscroft, Waldringfield SC
3rd 2491 Stephen Videlo & Tim Linsell, Waldringfield SC
4th 2498 Steve Hall & Simon Haignton, Northampton SC
5th 2502 Mark Ampleford & David Marlow, Penzance/Thames SC
6th 2452 Harry Pynn & Helen Krailing, Waldringfield SC