© Stephen Videlo© Stephen Videlo© Stephen Videlo

2012 Zhik Lark Youth Championships

Peter Mills - 12th April 2012

At 8am, XC weather was predicting winds from the South West of 16mph gusting 31mph with some rain thrown in. The river Deben was on Spring tides. Would we get any visitors?

Despite the forecast, we were very pleased to see Sam Blocksidge/Connie Hicklin and Will Croxford/Eleanor Davies from South Staffs who left at 4:30 am to make the long trip and twins Edd/Beth Grey from Royal Windermere YC who stayed on after our Easter Egg weekend to join some local young sailors on this damp and grey gusty day. Also visiting, were two ex-Cadet sailors from Fisher Green, Josie Gummer (15) and Sarah O’Brien (15).

Our local sailors were mainly Cadet helms trying out Larks with some rather anxious owners acting as their crews for the day. Daisy Collingridge (12) was the youngest helm: four more helm entrants were aged under 15! When it was all over there were no breakages to worry about – but as several boats capsized more than once the owners/crews became much more closely acquainted with the river Deben than they would on a day when they were at the helm - notably Harry Pynn and Ian Videlo!

Four races were planned for the day with a break for lunch half way through. Chris Fish (Race Officer) got all races away first time setting a short triangle/sausage course for the first two. The beats were necessarily short due to the wind coming across a narrow river at low tide.

The first race was led form start to finish by Will/Eleanor from S Staffs who were chased closely by their club mates Sam/Connie and Henry Mills (17)/Oliver Jones (14) from WSC all the way round to the finish. These short legs required slick boat/spinnaker handling in the gusty conditions and any errors were punished by the following boats. It finished with Sam/Connie in 2nd place and Henry/Ollie in 3rd.

The second race was the turn of Sam/Connie to show the way round who again displayed good boat handling skills in the difficult breeze. Henry/Ollie held on to 2nd place all the way round followed by Annie Knott (15)/Matt White (old) who remained in 3rd place at the end of the race. Still very much in contention were Will and Eleanor in 4th.

After lunch, with much more water, the start was moved up river and the course was set to go round the island on a large triangular course. The start saw the two South Staffs boats over the line and have to work their way back up the fleet to keep up with Henry/Ollie and Annie/Matt. Having got clear at the start, Henry/Ollie and Annie/Matt stayed clear of the rest and kept 1st and 2nd all the way round. Charlie Linsell (14) crewed by brother Tim (18) overtook Sam & Connie on the 2nd of the three long laps to take 3rd place.

The last race was a figure of eight/sausage up river of the island and was led by Annie/Matt all the way round. Henry/Ollie were in 2nd place after the first lap and were on course to win the event if they held onto 2nd. However, they had a dramatic capsize on a downwind leg and by the time they righted the boat (with spinnaker still up) found themselves back in 6th and a lot of ground lost. At this point the winner looked like Annie/Matt. Henry/Ollie managed to claw their way back, eventually finishing 2nd and overall winners by 1 point.

Many thanks to Harry Pynn, Geoff Harris, Chris Videlo, Matt White and Ian Videlo who lent their boats to and crewed for their young helms.

Very many thanks to Zhik for a very generous donation of top quality prizes.

1st Henry Mills/Oliver Jones – Waldringfield SC
2nd Annie Knott/Matt White - Waldringfield SC
3rd Sam Blocksidge/Connie Hicklin - South Staffs SC
4th Charlie/Tim Linsell – Waldringfield SC
5th Will Croxford/Eleanor Davies – South Staffs SC

Full results can be found here: Youth Results