Lark National Championship Day 6 Champions Crowned
It was always going to be a closely fought battle for the crown of 2009, but going into the final race, the 1.75 point lead that Alan and Edd had on Steve and Simon probably felt a little too tight for comfort. However, all Alan and Edd needed to do was stay between the finish and Steve and Simon. Steve and Simon, however, needed to get into the top 5, beat Alan/Edd and put a boat between them. The race was on.
Sailing in a new direction for the fleet this week, the pathfinder got cleanly away and the fleet marched off towards Brixham in a lovely F3. Chris Fish/Beth Condie chose the shifts well and rounded first, with Emma Harris/Becky Priest picking up on the better breeze on the right to round in 2nd. Interesting though this was, the real battle was happening behind. Both the top dogs had reasonable beats and were only separated by a few boats (Alan and Edd having the advantage). During the race, they both managed to pick their way through the surrounding boats, with a few port/starboard meetings up wind to really get the adrenalin flowing. Alan and Edd managed to sneak up into second and pip Emma/Becky on the line, Chris and Beth having already taken the gun. Try as they might, Steve and Si just hadn't been able to break through far enough and finished in 4th, taking the runner's up position for the week and leaving Alan and Edd to regain the title, last won by them in 2006.
Chris and Beth actually had no need to go sailing today as nothing could shift them from their 3rd overall. Another cup for the mantel piece was obviously very welcome, however. The race for 4th was interesting. Emma and Becky, going into the day in 6th overall had to beat Harry Pynn/Helen Krailing over the line and beat the Videlos by 7 places. Both of these, they managed, leapfrogging over both to take 4th.
It was a great week for the Silver and Bronze fleets. Holly Hewat, just 19 years old, crewed by Ruth Johnson, finished 10th overall and first Silver fleet boat. An awesome performance and definitely one to watch for the future. Second Silver fleet boat, again with a great week of sailing - often seen in the top 10 on the race track - was Will Croxford and Chris Warburton, finishing a very creditable 15th.
The bronze fleet was won by students Neil Barrett and Sophie Jones who finished 24th overall, their best result having been a 12th. Close behind and only 19 points adrift were Spanni Archer and Hannah Mayhew, taking 29th.
It was encouraging that the 9 female helms took part (8 of whom also had female crews) and were spread throughout the fleet with Emma Harris/Becky Priest taking the Salva in 4th, Holly Hewat/Ruth Johnson in 10th, Fran Gifford/Ali Dart 18th, Jane Alexander/Rachael Rhodes 19th, Spanni Archer/Hannah Mayhew 29th, Eluned Jones/Millie Parsons 42nd, Ellie Martin/Katharine Lovering 47th, Fiona Gray 49th and Laura Mitchell/Sophie 50th.
Five married couples also took part - Steve and Nicky Cumley won this new cup finishing 8th overall, followed by Simon and Sara Cox in 14th and Chris and Ann Biglin in 16th.
Hamish Stone sailing with Jamie Mayhew was first newcomer in 34th, Eluned Jones/Millie Parsons 2nd newcomer in 42nd and youngsters with a total weight of 16 stone, Alex Young and Phillippa Horn from Frensham finishing in 51st.
First Master's prize went again to Emma Harris. The team prize was overwhelmingly won by Waldringfield Sailing Club, taking 5 of the top 6 places overall.
An awesome week's sailing was organised by Brixham Yacht Club, the PRO, Sean Semmens managing to get all 9 scheduled races in. The bar profits have been reported as 'excellent' and the socials were suitably lively. A massive thank you to BYC for their hospitality, their 'nothing is too much trouble' attitude and their friendly welcome. A top venue. We look forward to returning soon!
Emma Harris - 25th September 2009