The 2004 Lark Nationals were hosted by Royal Torbay YC from 24th-30th July, with the 48 boat fleet enjoying fantastic racing thanks to Rob Llewellyn the PRO, alongside the legendary Lark socials.
The Championship started in a North-Westerly Force 4 with Steve Dunn/Tegwyn Roberts leading the fleet, followed by Alan Krailing/Gemma Thompson and Nigel Hufton/Chris Whitehouse. Emma Harris/Becky Priest passed Krailing/Thompson, only to be passed by Hufton/Whitehouse, who gybed inside Dunn/Roberts and led to the finish.
In Race 2 there was a right shift, favouring those at the committee boat end. Paul Gardner/Katherine Sampson led at the windward mark, but an error resulted in them letting Hufton/Whitehouse through. Gardner/Sampson and Hufton/Whitehouse again exchanged the lead, but the latter took line honours. Dunn/Roberts played the shifts well to take third.
On Monday the 3rd race started from a gate in a shifty 5 knot breeze. John Lewis/Millie Parsons played the left and took the lead with Sarah Richards/Nigel Wakefield just behind. Rob Larke/Sally Wakefield studiously climbed through the fleet and finally piped Richards/Wakefield to win.
Race 4 was sailed in a shifty Force 3 North-Westerly. First at the windward mark were Harris/Priest followed by Hufton/Whitehouse and Lewis/Parsons, who had all started at the pin end and gone left. These positions remained until the final beat where Hufton/Whitehouse, Gardner/Sampson and Krailing/Thompson went right and were able to use increased pressure and a shift to sneak through.
After a 4 hour postponement on Wednesday, the fleet got away from a fixed line. The order at the first mark was Richards/Wakefield followed by Lewis/Parsons both who had gone left, then Hufton/Whitehouse who had gone right. The fleet closed up on the downwind legs, but the order didnít change.
Wind finally arrived on Thursday with a shifty Force 3-4 Westerly. In the first race Steve Cumley/Eluned Jones rounded first followed by Martin Harrison/Simon Cooper. They were pursued by Larke/Wakefield and Chris & Anne Biglin, with Larke/Wakefield finally getting through to win, followed by Cumley/Jones and the Biglins. In the second race a there was a left shift on the first beat, favouring Hufton/Whitehouse who rounded first and although being chased by Lewis/Parsons and Matt White/Clare La Forge, these positions remained to the finish. In the final race on Thursday Mark Ampleford/Lee Nankervis rounded first, followed by Dougal Scott/Ruth Johnson and Lewis/Parsons. Despite an incident at the wing mark Lewis/Parsons were able to work through to win, however a subsequent protest saw them lose this victory to Scott/Johnson, with Richards/Wakefield in second and Krailing/Thomson third.
Going into the final race on Friday 0.75 points separated Hufton/Whitehouse and Richards/Wakefield in first and second. After waiting for the sea breeze to settle, the start got underway with some serious match racing between the contending boats. Unfortunately Hufton/Whitehouse suffered gear failure allowing Richards/Wakefield to use the favoured left of the beat and round the windward mark first, chased by Harris/Priest. Harris/Priest sailed a tactical race to pass Richards/Wakefield and take victory, with Richards/Wakefield having done enough to win overall.
1st 2288 Sarah Richards & Nigel Wakefield - RYA - 20.75 points
2nd 2470 Nigel Hufton & Chris Whitehouse - Frensham Pond - 35.00 points
3rd 2311 Emma Harris & Becky Priest - Waldringfield - 36.75 points
4th 2356 Jonathan Lewis & Milly Parsons - Burghfield - 39.00 points
5th 2491 Rob Larke & Sally Wakefield - RYA - 39.50 points
6th 2464 Alan Krailing & Gemma Thompson - Waldringfield - 40.00 points
7th 2444 Steve Dunn & Tegwyn Roberts - Felixstowe Ferry - 43.00 points
8th 2492 Dougal Scott & Ruth Johnson - Rock - 47.75 points
9th 2458 Paul Gardner & Katherine Sampson - RYA - 55.00 points
10th 2494 Chris Fish & Rebecca Marriott - Waldringfield - 66.00 points