Barnt Green Open Meeting Report

Smashie Bennett - 26th May 2009

There was a select few of top Lark sailors racing at the Barnt Green Lark Open this year. With some excellent close racing which was thoroughly enjoyable. With a nice breeze and some glorious burn-your-face-if-you-don't-wear-sun-cream weather, the scene was set for a legendary day at Worcestershire's top Sailing Venue.

1st race saw Newly-weds Steve & Nic taking an early lead, having a good battle with Jane and Rach until Jane tacked too close to Steve at a Windward mark seeing her make penalty turns puting them temporarily at the back of the competitive field. Working the magic, Smashie & Karen Jewkes battled their way to a comfy win with Jane & Rach working the shifts to pip Steve on the finish line for 2nd spot.

2nd race Steve & Nic lead again after a solid start and all if not most boats sprinting up the bank in a line-a-breast formation. Steve was fast in the blowy conditions and was holding his place comfortable. Smashie & Karen chipped away and overtook as the wind speed kept changing and shifting around. With some good tactical know-how up the beats, Smashie and Karen took a smooth win with Steve & Nic 2nd, this time making no last minute mistakes and Jane & Rach in a never-far-behind 3rd spot.

Race 3 and Smashie got shut out on the line by Jane who had a fine start with Stuart Norris and crew initially leading and looking in command. Jane & Rachael came through to first and started to extend a lead which they held for a lap. Smashie & Karen with it all to do playing catch-up over an extended 'Challenge Trophy Race' managed to make some goods calls on the breeze patches to overhall Steve & Nic who were in 3rd and then go after Jane & Rach in the closing minutes of the hour. Again some excellent tactics up the main beat saw them slide into the Number One spot for a clean-sweep of Victories. Steve & Nicola also overhauled Jane and Rach on a shifty beat gaining their 2nd place and Jane & Rachael also in a familiar 3rd spot.

It was then time to drop off the crews and for a select few to entertain our spinnaker handling friends with the Single Handed Lark Race!! Everyone had a nice clean start with Tony Hotchkiss spotting a shift and tacking up the bank to begin with. This time it was a return to the lead for Steve Cumley with Smashie nipping at his transom all the way round the track. Steve bravely hoisted his kite on a number of legs to gain an advantage, but with Smashie ever present slipped past to secure another victory. With Jane ‘no-balls’ Alexander sitting out this comical finale Stuart Norris from Shropshire secured 3rd.

Thanks and admiration must go to Barnt Green SC and Bob Suggitt for organizing a superb event that was fantastically enjoyed by everyone.

Overall Results
1st 2487 Smashie Bennett & Karen Jewkes, Staunton Harold SC
2nd 2496 Steve & Nicky Cumley, Barnt Green SC
3rd 2132 Jane Alexander & Rachael Rhodes, South Staffs SC
4th 2517 Stuart & Louise Norris, Shropshire SC
5th 2468 Tony Hotchkiss & Pippa Vick, South Staffs SC
6th 2467 Bob Suggitt & Freddie Locket, Barnt Green SC