Chris Allen Masters the Lark once again

Tim Fells - 13th October 2009


The 2009 Lark Masters Championships attracted a star-studded fleet to Hayling Island SC on 10th October. A total of 37 entries came to the line including 11 previous Lark championship winning helms and crews, countless winners of other national and world titles and, in the case of Ian Walker, a double Olympian and VOR star. The weather gods smiled benignly and the fleet enjoyed wall to wall sunshine and pleasant, moderate winds from a perfect westerly direction.

Race one was sailed out in the bay and got away after the inevitable general recall with '84/'89 champions Ian Southworth & David Hayes leading the fleet round the first triangle. However, father and son team Stuart & Nick Hydon slipped past downwind to extend a large lead by the finish. Sarah Richards (Champion in '04 and '05) crewed by Chris Jenkins held a comfortable 3rd place while Tim Fells and Jerry Eplett (Champions in '88, '93 and '97) won a 3 way battle with Andy Shorrock (crewed by thrice-champion crew Liz Rushall) and Nigel Hufton & Andy Douglas to sneak 4th.

The fleet then returned to the club for a relaxing lunch, a couple of pints in the sun and a good catch up with old friends while waiting for the tide to fill the harbour.

Race 2 started in glorious conditions with Tim Fells& Jerry Eplett finding a nice shift and favourable tide on the left side of the beat to narrowly lead Sarah Richards & Chris Jenkins round the top mark. While Tim and Jerry extended their lead, '94 Champion Chris Allen - sailing with '09 runner-up helm Steve Hall - came through to challenge Sarah, but was unable to find a way past. Chrisís '94 champion crew Nigel Hufton took 4th to keep his series alive.

Race 3 started with the tide starting to ebb and a series of four black flag general recalls eventually saw over half the fleet sent home (in some cases intentionally) for an early beer, including series leaders Fells / Eplett. Out on the water Chris Allen / Steve Hall took their opportunity and nailed the bullet they needed to take the title while Southy and Dave took second to put them on the podium. Overall, in a very tight series there was only 1 point separating the top 4 teams - all of whom were past Lark class champions (and had won 8 different championships between them).

An excellent day was rounded out with the class doing what it has always done best, partying late into the night with a black tie dinner and dance. Great fun was certainly had by all!!

1st Chris Allen & Steve Hall, HISC, 4 pts
2nd Tim Fells & Jerry Eplett, Salcombe SC. 5 pts
3rd Ian Southworth & Dave Hayes, Hamble River SC, 5 pts
4th Sarah Richards & Chris Jenkins, Pennine SC, 5 pts
5th Nigel Hufton & Andy Douglas, Frensham SC, 10 pts