© James Croxford© James Croxford© James Croxford

Lark Open at South Staffordshire Sailing Club

Ed Bradburn - 28th March 2018

Saturday 24th March 2018 saw 15 boats take to the water for the first and most prestigious event of the 2018 Lark Class calendar, at Riva del Gailey otherwise known as South Staffs Sailing Club.

PRO for the day was the recently retired Lark sailor and now professional bicycle rider, Mike Senior, who wasted no time in getting the first sequence under way in what was a dying breeze. First round was 1978 Lark youth Champion, Ed Bradburn crewed by Holly Evans closely followed by the local Lark hotshots Chris White and Nicola Boo.....White with 4 time winner of the event Stuart Hydon crewed by Anne Biglin snapping at their heels. Down the first run Ed and Holly headed to the right followed by Chris and Nic and Stuart and Anne with a number of other boats heading to the left. After a brief discussion it was established that the three front runners were heading to the wrong mark and it was decided that it was probably best to gybe and head in the right direction. Fortunately this looked like a deliberate ploy to stay in the breeze and this order remained until the second beat when Chris and Nic hooked into a big lift whilst inspecting the dam which took them into the lead from Ed and Holly. Meanwhile after a morning of demonstrating his revolutionary bailing device "The Munchkin Cup", future Dragons Den contestant, Will Croxford, crewed by Meg Hicklin were sailing fast and had managed to wheelie their way up to the leading bunch to take third momentarily from Stuart and Anne on the last lap. Final order was Chris and Nic first, Ed and Holly second and due to the ability to sail the final beat with their spinnaker Stuart and Anne taking third back from Will and Meg.

A traditional South Staffs lunch followed before the final two races where sailed back to back. During lunch the breeze had died even further and as the sailors drifted to the start it was looking like a postponement was imminent. Fortunately whilst under sequence the breeze built to a steady force 2 and the race got away cleanly first time. At the top mark it was James "Diva" Goss and Emma Mackley leading with Ed and Holly close behind followed by a large bunch. Down the first run Ed and Holly took the lead whilst behind a large group was forming battling for room at the bottom mark. Eventually an order was settled with South Staffs oracles John and Sue Billington emerging in second with Stuart and Anne again chasing hard. At the finish these positions remained with John Billington proving that there is life left in the old dog yet.

Going into the final start it was a three horse race with Chris and Nic, Ed and Holly and John and Sue all still in the hunt. After another clean start the order at the top mark was Ed and Holly followed by Stuart and Anne with Chris and Nic and John and Sue back in the pack. As the race went on Ed and Holly and Stuart and Anne pulled away from the chasing pack with Stuart and Anne getting the better of Ed and Holly half way through and leading to the finish. Meanwhile Chris and Nic had sailed through into third completing the final top three. The prize for first youth boat went to Sam Bailey and Fin Morgan who sailed incredibly consistently posting three 6th place finishes.

Even on a day which was quite shifty for South Staffs a great day was had by all with close racing throughout the fleet. Post racing sailors were treated to the revolutionary sounds of resident DJ, Stompzy, and the club band, The House Banned, with many carrying on late into the night.

Overall Results

Pos Sail No Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 Pts
1st 2526 Bradburn E Evans H ‑2 1 2 3
2nd 2495 Hydon S Biglin A ‑3 3 1 4
3rd 2533 White C Booth N 1 ‑4 3 4
4th 2525 Billington J Billington S ‑7 2 4 6
5th 2261 Goss J Mackley E ‑5 5 5 10
6th 2529 Croxford W Hicklin M 4 7 ‑9 11
7th 2468 Bailey S Morgan F ‑6 6 6 12
8th 2459 Denchfield N Denchfield F 10 ‑12 7 17
9th 2501 Czartolomna K Peterson M 9 8 ‑10 17
10th 2489 Macaulay K Goodhead N 8 9 ‑12 17
11th 2532 Hotchkiss T Temple T ‑12 10 8 18
12th 2499 Nichols M Waymont C ‑13 11 11 22
13th 2524 Owen M Hartness L 11 ‑15 14 25
14th 2493 Alexander R Dawson C ‑15 14 13 27
15th 2439 Scott N Edge H 14 13 ‑15 27