With only 4 weeks to the nationals 8 Larks made the trip to Lee on Solent. The fleet was greeted with 15-20 knots and a classic Solent chop, which made for some exciting launching and set the stage for a big day on the water.
Race 1 saw the waves at their peak and the breeze building. After a long first beat, Chris and Kate Holliman rounded the windward mark first shortly followed by Adam Parry and Ruth Johnson in second and Jon White and Rob Woodward in third. As the fleet raced off down the first reach it was clear it was going to be a big day. Chris and Kate shortly found this out on the second reach with a capsize to windward and some front crawl required by Chris to catch Kate up. This allowed Adam and Ruth to take the lead to the end of the race only to be greeted with an OCS. Promoting Jon and Rob to race winners (after 4 years out of the boat), James Goss and Katie Ward second and Steve Cumley and Eluned Stewart to third.
Race 2 was set to be a short course race of a windward leeward course. Out of the blocks first was Adam and Ruth with Chris and Kate and Nigel Hufton and Ann Biglin. The short course and steep waves on the run provided both a fast but tricky race with Adam and Ruth hanging on for the win.
Race 3 saw the fleet push the line hard which resulted in a general recall for the fleet. After this false start, the fleet got away again with another short course race with another close fought battle between Adam and Ruth, Chris and Kate and Nigel and Ann. Again, Adam and Ruth came out on top and after another wild downwind held on to the win ahead of Chris and Kate and Nigel and Ann.
Race 4 saw the fleet take on the long course again. Chris and Kate got to the windward mark first with Adam and Ruth second, Nigel and Ann third. After a triangle and a sausage, the positions stayed the same but a slight navigational error by Chris and Kate allowed Adam and Ruth to take the lead on the last beat. A capsize by Nigel and Ann then opened the door to allow James and Kate to take second place and Chris and Kate to climb back to third.
Sunday brought with it calmer seas and 12-14 knots a welcome sight for most of the teams after a hard day. Race 5 Saw Nigel and Ann take control after some tricky start line antics which saw half the fleet missing the pin and having to bail. The light winds provided tricky conditions both up and down wind with Nigel and Ann taking the win shortly followed by Steve and Eluned.
Race 6 was swiftly started with a short course race signalled. This time Chris and Kate had learnt from their navigational errors and hung on to win the race with Adam and Ruth second and Nigel and Ann third.
Race 7 saw an increase in breeze as the fleet lined up to start. The another tough first beat saw Adam and Ruth round first with Nigel and Ann in hot pursuit. As the fleet surfed downwind it was nip and took all way with Adam and Ruth taking the win and Nigel and Ann close behind.
The scene was set for the final race with a long course set and, with only one discard, all the teams had nothing to lose. Another long upwind saw Nigel and Ann take the lead shortly followed by Adam and Ruth and Chris and Kate. After the first triangle saw the fleet split up the second beat. Nigel and Ann kept Adam and Ruth armís length and Jon and Rob were able to sneak past Chris and Kate. As the fleet neared the leeward mark a course error by Nigel allowed Adam and Ruth to take the lead holding this to the end of the race with Jon and Rob second and Chris and Kate third.
A big thank you to Lee on Solent for a great weekend of racing. Next event is the four-day Nationals in Brixham and itís not too late to enter!