Royal Lymington Open Meeting Report

Emma Harris - 07th June 2011

Larks at Royal Lymington Yacht Club Summer Regatta

MJís pre-event missive about Lymingtonís car parking issues, weed problem and strong tides may have dissuaded the odd Lark to venture to Lymington at the weekend, but those that might have been put off missed out on a fantastic weekendís racing.

The Larks had their own start and were never worried by the other fleets in the regatta. The trapezoid race track was kept reasonably short, so legs were pretty fast and furious, with loads of boat handling practice Ė particularly with four races being held each day. The breeze was up, too, so we had lots of hiking and a fair amount of that flat out reaching with bucket-loads of salt water in your eyes.

Having parked their cars for free in the back streets of Lymington, the fleet were ready to go. Racing was held in the afternoon of the Saturday on the ebb, so there was a little weed to contend with. But the wind was blowing and the sun was shining, so it really didnít seem to matter too much. Beating against the tide, the fleet had a race to the shore upwind, although there were a few big shifts that made it worth tacking in the tide if you were brave enough. Those that were, like Nigel Hufton/Andy Douglas, James Stewart/Eluned Stewart and Chris Whitehouse/Sophie Maclay in the third race made it pay, popping out at the head of the fleet, leaving those inshore pondering their decision.

Three different boats had race wins on the first day; Chris & Sophie and Nigel & Andy each bagging one, with Emma Harris, sailing with new crew, Ellie Bremer, taking the other two. James & Eluned were consistent with three 2nd places. Overnight, it was Chris & Sophie in the lead with Emma & Ellie in second place.

Sunday morning was a different ball game. The tide was on the flood, but with the wind still blowing from the same direction as the previous day, so starts and shift playing were key. Amazingly, given the Lark fleetís reputation for keen starting, the fleet didnít manage a general recall all weekend, despite the strong tide pushing them over the line on Sunday. The races were between 20-30 minutes each, with a short breathing time between, which kept the racing close and exciting. Emma & Ellie seemed to get everything right in all four races, popping out in the lead in every one. Chris & Sophie were consistent with a 3, 2, 3, 2, but lost the overall lead by 6 points. Guest Larkie for the weekend, Nev Herbert sailing with Dan Watson in Grizzly Bear, had a great day out with two 2nds. Another notable performance was from Fiona Gray & Harri Condie, with two 3rds over the weekend.

It really was a good weekendís sailing. The race management was excellent and the welcome friendly; the gales that were forecast never materialised (but we had a good breeze nonetheless), the sun (mostly) shone, and there was even the odd wave to play with. Nobody could have asked for more.

Overall Results
(8 races; 7 to count)

1st Emma Harris & Elena Bremer, 10pts
2nd Chris Whitehouse & Sophie Maclay, 16pts
3rd James & Eluned Stewart, 27pts
4th Nigel Hufton & Andy Douglas, 31pts
5th Nev Herbert & Dan Watson, 36pts
6th Fiona Gray & Harri Condie, 37pts