Only a fortnight after the end of the 2011 Allen National Championships the Lark class have their rescheduled Inland Championships, generously sponsored by Henri Lloyd, to take place at Queen Mary Reservoir on the 3rd/4th September. Here is MJ’s preview of this long-awaited event…
It is tricky to know whether this is a preview for the 2010 or 2011 edition of the Lark Inland Champs. I am starting to wonder whether in the same way that the crew of the Flying Dutchman (the original not the former Olympic trapeze boat) are destined to forever sail the oceans in a ghostly afterlife maybe the 2010 Lark Inlands is destined to forever move around the great reservoirs of the UK never actually being competed for.
The next stop for the “Event That Might Never Happen” is Queen Mary Reservoir on the Western edge of London. The usual complaint about Queen Mary is that it is a very bleak place. The reason for this is that you can’t see anything beyond the concrete bank because the whole lake is raised 20 metres in the air. It feels like a lake that was built for dinghy sailing first and to serve the water needs of West London second.
The effect of this artificial improvement is that the lake is rather like the Indianapolis oval of small boat sailing rather than a Monaco road track. This still makes it a classic of the circuit, but heavily geared towards the purist who prefers their sailing without the twists, turns and traumas of a big tide and patchy breeze. That said, don’t think that this is an easy place to win. You need not only boatspeed but because the shifts and changes are so small and subtle you have to pick them all out to get ahead.
I have heard people say that Queen Mary is like marmite and you either love it or hate it, but I think the better analogy is that of a beautiful girl on the dance floor. You are drawn in to the whirl and are wondering whether life could get any better when you tread on her foot, she limps away and goes home with your best mate simply because he found some ice to put on her ankle.
If however you are the lucky one and particularly if you like ice, you can always come back and pit yourself against several hundred other boats in the Bloody Mary next January.
This key event of the 2010 and 2011 calendars is next being run on 3rd and 4th September with the first race at midday and an entry fee of £30. The Saturday Social will be held at Ranelagh Sailing Club in Putney - where beer and food will be available.
Love to All