Larks at Barnt Green
25 Larks travelled to Barnt Green for the annual open meeting on 9 & 10 April. The weather for the weekend was a less than steady, westerly(ish) force 1 to 4. In line with custom, proceedings were kicked off with a practice race, which David and Nick Marlow won, and a single handed race won by Stewart Hydon.
The first race of the series was the 90 minute Challenge Trophy race. Steve Cumley and Eluned Jones were first round the windward mark and sailed off to a comfortable victory. Sarah Richards/Nigel Wakefield and Stewart Hydon/Hannah Showell overtook Emma Harris/Becky Priest on the last lap to take 2nd and 3rd.
The wind was expected to decrease the next day, but Race 2 on Sunday morning saw more wind and much stronger gusts than on Saturday, making for some tricky manoeuvring near the leeward shore! Richards/Wakefield correctly read the shifts on the opening beat to take the lead. The gusts always meant there was plenty of opportunity to be caught and after 3 laps Harris/Priest closed the gap on the leaders and worked their magic to sneak into the lead. Worse was to come for Richards/Wakefield when a nasty shift on the penultimate beat sent them swimming, letting Cumley/Jones take second place.
In the 3rd race Cumley/Jones and Dan Smith/Nikki Attwood started at the port end of the start line and crossed the fleet by some distance. One lap later and Chris Ellis/Kathryn Young had overtaken Smith/Attwood and then Cumley/Jones to take the lead. Ellis/Young won the race from Cumley/Jones who covered Harris/Priest to the finish line in third.
Harris/Priest had to win the final race to stop Cumley/Jones winning overall. In a gradually decreasing wind, a pre-start tactical battle ended with Cumley/Jones starting at the favoured port end having sent Harris/Priest tacking back to the starboard end. Cumley/Jones led the fleet around the first mark. Richards/Wakefield caught and overtook Cumley/Jones on the second beat, but then lost the lead back to Cumley/Jones down the run, who took the win from Richards and the Bennet's in 3rd.
Our thanks go to Barnt Green for their kind hospitality and for organising such professional racing.
1st Steve Cumley and Eluned Jones, Northampton SC, 4 points
2nd Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield, Spinnaker SC, 8 points
3rd Emma Harris and Becky Priest, Waldringfield SC, 9 points
4th Stewart Hydon and Hannah Showell, Shustoke SC, 14 points
5th Chris Ellis and Kathryn Young, Frensham Pond SC, 16 points