With the promise of some great sea sailing before the Nationals, it was rather a surprise that it was only a small contingent that made their way to the Dee estuary.
The first surprise was to see the Marine Lake totally empty. No option there then if it proved too windy on the sea! The Open was shared with the Fireflies and the start also contained a selection of other boats taking part in the Dee Regatta.
The first race started in near perfect conditions but with a very port biased line. Tony Hotchkiss & Pippa Vick timed it to perfection and all looked well for a time. However, Neil Barrett & Sophie Jones put in a starboard hitch as did Steve & Nicky Cumley and they reached the windward mark in that order. After the third mark of the trapezoid course, Neil & Sophie started back on the beat only to discover their mistake and so hand the lead over to the Cumleys. With the wind swinging during the race the final beat ended as a fetch with Steve & Nicky taking the win from Neil & Sophie and Tony & Pippa.
During the “on the water break” the wind picked up and the eager fleet had to suffer a general recall. However, second time round they started cleanly and Steve & Nicky quickly pulled away from Stuart & Charlotte Norris. The gybe mark then caught out both Tony & Pippa and Neil & Sophie who each took a swim. By the time they had recovered Steve & Nicky were well away, with Stuart & Charlotte well infront of Neil & Sophie. After a further hard fought lap the Cumleys headed for home with gear failure , which left Stuart & Charlotte to take the gun. Tony & Pippa caught and passed Neil & Sophie, to finish 2nd & 3rd respectively.
As both races had to count it left three teams all on 5 points and the last race rule gave Stuart & Charlotte the event from Tony & Pippa and Neil & Sophie in third.
With lots of races going on at the same time the slick organisation of West Kirby was well in evidence to provide great races. However, the results did take a little longer than usual to appear! Thankfully a great buffet was on hand to satisfy at least one of the Lark Competitors and that allowed the time to pass in a most satisfactory way!
1st Stuart & Charlotte Norris. Shropshire S.C.
2nd Tony Hotchkiss & Pippa Vick. South Staffs S.C.
3rd Neil Barrett & Sophie Jones. West Riding S.C.