The Lark circus descended on Plymouth Mayflower for the final sea open meeting of the year. The Final Fling is always popular with the lark fleet for the traditionally strong winds and this year was no exception. With 35 knots in the middle of the sound and a worsening forecast, race officer Dave Curno wisely postponed racing on Saturday.
Arriving at the sailing club on Sunday morning competitors were greeted by similar conditions prompting many people to pack up and go home. However, four boats ventured out. As the wind eased to a force 4/5 they enjoyed four races set on a course in front of the Hoe. In race 1 Nigel Hufton and Chris Whitehouse led, regularly swapping places with Harry Pynn and Nick Bubb. Pynn/Bubb squeezed through on the run to take first place, which they held on the short beat to the finish line. Steve Chatten and John Crooks looked to have third place in the bag but a spectacular capsize allowed Richard Bennett and Laura Mitchell through. In race 2, Pynn/Bubb started on port at the pin end and held a comfortable lead to the finish. Bennett/ Mitchell were second with Chatten/Crooks third. Pynn/Bubb tried to repeat the port tack start in race 3, but were unable to clear Hufton/Whitehouse prompting them to take a 720 penalty. After Hufton/Whitehouse hit the windward mark, Bennett/ Mitchell kept the lead to the finish.
Hufton/Whitehouse staged a good comeback in race 4 after being over the line at the start. They exchanged the lead with Pynn/Bubb several times before finally claiming it at the bottom of the last run. A centreboard problem caused Bennett/Mitchell to be delayed at the start, scuppering their chance of winning overall. This meant that the Honeymoon Plate was won by Pynn/Bubb.
Having made the long journey to Plymouth, those that did sail were rewarded with the fantastic sailing and good race management for which Plymouth is renown.
1. Harry Pynn and Nick Bubb : 4 pts
2. Nigel Hufton and Chris Whitehouse : 5 pts
3. Richard Bennett and Laura Mitchell: 6 pts
4. Steve Chatten and John Crooks : 11 pts
Harry Pynn - 13th October 2004