A competitive fleet of 24 Larks, including seven of the top ten at last years Nationals, assembled for two days of fantastic Easter sailing at Waldringfield Sailing Club's annual Easter Egg open meeting. Racing on both afternoons really showed Waldringfield at its best with some perfect breezes, high tides and even some sunshine to take the chill out of the air. The racing proved to be an interesting and tightly fought competition, with four different race winners and a lot of high scoring.
The first race was started as scheduled before lunch on Saturday morning, while the tide was still on its way in. Race officer Mike Oldroyd's best endeavours to set a true course in the restricted water of around half-tide were undermined by a collection of black clouds bringing hail showers and rotating the wind through more than ninety degrees as well as reducing in strength to a mere zephyr. Nevertheless the Larks got away after one general recall, with Adam Owens and Harriet Condie making the best of the tricky start. By the time the fleet had reached the far turning mark, the leaders were Ross Kearney and Ally Dart who comfortably held off the chasing pack led by Alan Krailing and Edd McArdle, with Matthew White & Kerry Ryan finishing the shortened course in 3rd place.
After lunch, and with the tide properly in, two further races were held in an idyllic force three southerly breeze. In the second race Chris Whitehouse and Chris Robinson stormed up the right-hand side of the beat to lead convincingly at the first mark from Ian and Alyson Videlo followed by Emma Harris and Joe Hunt. Emma and Joe made quick work of pulling through to second place, with Stephen and Chris Videlo pulling up to third place by the second lap.
The final race on Saturday yet again saw Chris Whitehouse and Chris Robinson competing for the lead, but on this ocassion Stuart Hydon and Rachel Rhodes managed to hold on for the victory with Emma Harris and Joe Hunt in third.
Overnight the boat helmed by Chris Whitehouse held a narrow lead of one point from both Stuart Hydon and Emma Harris with Stephen Videlo in fourth.
For Sunday, the wind had swung around to the North and picked up slightly to a force four, with more than a hint of sunshine!
Race 4 started with a beat towards a mark situated off the clubhouse and then a run back down river. The leaders elected to head across river into stronger breeze with Matthew White and Kerry Ryan coming away best, but further down the pack Alan Krailing and Edd McArdle, followed by Stephen & Chris Videlo decided to take a more direct route along the clubhouse side of the river, which saw them emerge in respectable positions by the second mark. Matthew White and Kerry Ryan lost the lead when they capsized downwind, but they recovered well to stay in the mix. Racing was tight amongst the leading bunch, but at the final gybe mark the top six boats were all tightly bunched, but Stephen and Chris Videlo emerged from the bunch to get away down the following reach and hold on to win from Stuart Hydon and Rachel Rhodes with Chris & Cathy Fish finding better form to finish third.
After lunch, race 5 was set on a similar course, and this time Stephen and Chris Videlo started well enough to lead from the first mark through to the finish, although they were closely pursued by Steve Hall and Simon Haighton who got to within a whisker of the lead at one point, whilst Emma Harris and Joe Hunt maintained their consistency to finish third.
Going into the final race only Stuart and Rachel could now overtake Stephen & Chris for the event. However, Stephen & Chris had the better of the first beat to lead around the first mark whilst Stuart and Rachel were stuck in traffic. Down the second reach Stephen and Chris decided to sail a direct line to the leeward mark whilst the pack behind them went high as they fought amongst themselves. However, the pack found a narrow band of pressure that Emma and Joe made the most of to plane over the top of the Videlos and take a narrow lead which they managed to hold onto until the latter part of the final beat. Alan & Edd were able to hold off Steve and Simon to take third.
It was good to see three of the first production run of Ovington boats out racing at Waldringfield which can only be good for the future of the class, and congratulations are due to both the Lark Class Owners Association committee and Ovington Boats for successfully managing the transition to a new builder through to completion.
1 2491 Stephen & Chris Videlo Waldringfield S.C. 11 pts
2 2311 Emma Harris & Joe Hunt Waldringfield S.C. 16 pts
3 2500 Stuart Hydon & Rachel Rhodes Shustoke S.C. 18 pts
4 2464(2521) Alan Krailing & Edd McArdle Waldringfield S.C. 19 pts
5 2411 Chris Whitehouse & Chris Robinson Ranelagh S.C. 28 pts
6 2523 Steve Hall & Simon Haighton Northampton S.C. 28 pts