The highly anticipated 2010 Brookbank Sailing Lark Youth Championships took place on the 30th October at Fishers Green Sailing Club. Bright and sunny weather, with a steady force 2 wind, gave this new breed of Lark sailors a perfect introduction to Lark sailing. 13 boats, made up of 24 x under-18 year old sailors, one 20 year old and Matt White(!), fought it out under the excellent stewardship of the race team at Fisher Green.
Many competitive cadet sailors entered along with visitors from South Staffs, Burnham and as far away as Penzance, (can you get any further away? - Ed) who travelled through the night to attend!! Despite the ideal sailing conditions, a short postponement occurred to allow for these sailors to gain familiarisation with both rigging and sailing their new ships for the day.
The morning races were a two-horse affair with Emma White, sailing with her father Matt, collecting two bullets and Sam Blocksidge and Adrian Walker from South Staffs Sailing Club impressively taking two hardly fought 2nd places. Chasing hard were, relatively experienced Lark Sailors, Will Kennedy and Rhos Hawes and recently new Lark owners and Fishers Green members - Oliver Palierakis and Laura Sutton. However throughout the fleet there were great battles being fought and massive Lark sailing experience gained in this young but very competitive group of sailors.
After a well-deserved lunch break, the afternoon races commenced with a familiar pattern soon forming with Emma White dominating the 3rd race of the day from start to finish. She took the race and effectively the Youth Champion title with a race to spare. This was impressive stuff from the 15 year old, showing the Wednesday evening practice gained at her home club, Waldringfield, really coming into effect. Second in the race were Alex Corby and Jamie Proffitt from Fishers Green and Third place belonged to Will and Rhos.
The final race still had numerous ramifications for the rest of the fleet, and Emma decided to stay on for the last race, a choice that looked to initially back-fire, by rounding last at the first windward mark. This threw open the battle for overall 2nd place in the Championships which was up for grabs between helms Sam Blockside, Will Kennedy and Alex Corby. A fantastically competitive race saw the hardened battle for 2nd place commence, but to the leading boat's surprise Emma came storming through the fleet from last place to take the race and have the last word on event, just to demonstrate her dominance. Second place in the race and 2nd overall was Will Kennedy who fought hard from Alex Corby who ended the race third. Sam Blocksidge and Adrian Walker had a frustrating afternoon, but their consistant form in the morning gained them 3rd place overall.
So after four closely fought races the new Youth Champions were crowned with 6 years to spare! Emma also took the first female prize and there were a generous array of prizes kindly donated by Brookbank Sailing at the prize giving. In reflection this was a new-style Lark Youth Championships than of previous years with younger average age of participants, and a higher number of non-regular Lark sailors taking part, which can only be good news for our class, with these aspiring sailors getting to feel what it's like to be a Lark sailor first hand. This event could not have occurred in this format without the kind donation of boats for the event from current Larkies. These include Harry Pynn, Chris Biglin, Simon Cox, Dan Watson, John Crooks, Kevin Rose, Chris Whitehouse and Ally Dart. Also a special thanks goes to Harry Pynn, Steve Proffitt and Mel Kennedy who carried out all the logistics of boat match-making in the weeks and days leading up to the event.
Fishers Green Sailing Club showed fantastic race management and event hosting capabilities and we will surely be returning to this club very soon, especially with the hot bed of sailing talent that seem to be taking a shine to the Lark.
A massive thank you goes out the Simon at Brookbank Sailing who generously donated a very large amount of vouchers as prizes.
This report cannot be finished without a mention to Josie Gummer and Lucy Corby who, despite finishing last in every race, continued to sail throughout the event despite only being aged 13 and 11 respectively. Not only are they determined young sailors, but from what was heard on the water potential X-factor contestants in the near future.
A Full Set of Results can be found by clicking HERE.