Hotly contested Youth Championships

Emma Harris - 28th March 2006

At South Staffs S.C. on 25th March 2006.

When 15 Larks from as far away as Waldringfield came to the start line we could be sure of a fascinating days sailing. With the added bonus of near perfect conditions a great day was in store.

It was a credit to the youths that all races got away first time and that certainly had nothing to do with them not trying hard enough! In the first race Kelsey Suggitt crewed by Richard Bennett from Barnt Green S.C. made the best of the start. This she held for most of the race with only David Marlow crewed by Ben Biglin from Northampton S.C. managing to break away from the following group. Eventually he managed to get passed to win the race. However, behind these two a real battle was going on with any one of the next five boats likely to get into third spot. The predominantly southerly wind was shifting easterly so if a boat caught it right they could make big gains. In the end it was Chris White and Nicola Booth from South Staffs S.C. that found one of these large shifts to pass three boats and so move into third.

Race two saw Stephen Videlo, last years winner, crewed by Will Branton from Waldringfield S.C. make no mistake off the start line and were soon in front. They were chased hard by Ed Bradburn and Lucy Evans from South Staffs and these two had a really close race with Videlo & Branton always looking as though they just had the edge. They did, to win the second race and give themselves the chance of retaining the trophy. White & Booth sailed a strong race to take third with Marlow & Biglin only managing to come fourth. With the occasional strong gust coming across the reservoir one or two had a short swim but they all persevered to complete the race.

This made the event wide open and the calculations showed that any one of the first five could win with the unlikely possibility of even the boat in sixth having a chance! The possibilities narrowed after the first windward mark when Bradburn & Evans rounded first with both Videlo & Branton and Marlow & Biglin being buried! Bradburn & Evans gave a demonstration of front of the fleet sailing to take the race with ease but Suggitt & Bennett had to fight hard to get passed Will Croxford and Kate Phillips from South Staffs who had been on the pace all day but had not quite managed to hold onto the top three position before. This time they did but it still only gave them an overall position of sixth, which really showed how close the top six had been all day.

As the only one with a first and second Ed Bradburn & Lucy Evans won the event from Kelsey Suggitt & Richard Bennett with two seconds. Stephen Videlo & Will Branton came third on countback from David Marlow & Ben Biglin with Chris White & Nicola Booth taking fifth with their two third places.

A really great days sailing was enjoyed by all. Every competitor completed every race, which is a credit to their persistence and even the more lowly positions were hard fought. Several sailors were competing in a Lark for the first time so lets hope it will have whetted their appetites for the future! It is also worth noting that the third and fourth boats in the Youth Championships were fourth and fifth in the South Staffs Open Meeting when there were double the entries. This was a real achievement and a reflection on the standard of our up and coming sailors.

The event was supported by Muc-off cleaning products and prizes were supplemented by the 2006 LARK Gill sponsored Belle Island Polo shirts, kindly donated by the Lark Class Association.