GJW Direct Lark Nationals Final Report

Nigel Hufton - 10th August 2015

The Larks visited Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire between 1-8 August. This was only their second visit, their previous visits being in 2001 and 1984.

The Welsh wind Gods threw everything they could at the fleet, including sun, rain, squalls – sometimes during the same race! However, despite this leading to a loss of three days, it never dampened the enjoyments, while the excellent planning of the race team meant that competitors were able to go off and enjoy other welsh delights when not sailing

In in the end it was past National Champion Alan Krailing and his crew who were to triumph. They won three races and their remarkable consistency, never finishing lower than fourth.

However, behind them there was considerable competition and strength in depth, with four other race winners and second to fourth places overall being split by only 1 point.

Race 1 saw glorious sunshine and 15-18 knots coming from the south bringing a decent sized swell along with it. James Ward and Eluned Stewart had the honour of being pathfinders in the first race, but it was Alan Krailing and Joe Hunt who laid down their mark and led around the course, with Nigel Hufton and Will Kennedy puling through to second, followed by current champions Charlie Roome and Jeremy Stephens. .

Race 2 started with Chris Holliman and Kate Hutchins as pathfinder - a good day to be pathfinder, as the race track had moved to the right. With some early starters overstanding, they led from Roome/Stephens, Krailing/Hunt. However, it was Steve & Ally Hall who worked the waves low to sail around the group and win the race.

Race 3 saw a few OCSs, leading to some big names returning or not hearing a gun at the end. Krailing/Hunt picked up a lead that they never relinquished, but a big squall on the first reach saw a few people inspecting their centreboards, leaving a chasing pack of Ross Kearney/Jane Kearney and Chris Holliman/Kate Hutchins to take the podium places.

Race 4 saw a more mixed breeze with everything from breezy reaches to light runs. Krailing/Hunt escaped, with the boats behind having a close tussle in the shifty breeze. Steve Hall/Ally Hall emerged from the melee to take second, with Ross Kearney/Jane Kearney in third.

Race 5 was held in a more consistent strong breeze. Roome/Stephens made the best of the left hander just after the start, while Hufton/Kennedy pulled through to take second and Holiman/Hutchins third again.

After 2 days lost to the wind and rain, Race 6 got underway in a light offshore breeze. Ward/Stewart led the way at the windward mark by playing the shifts up the first beat, but it was Pete Gray and Rachael Rhodes who overtook all the leaders by not gybing down the run, followed by Krailing/Hunt and Hufton/Kennedy in third.

In Race 7, Chris White and Chris “Warby” Warburton took full advantage of being the gate boat to lead the fleet. With the breeze oscillating and changing in pressure White and Krailing pulled away from the rest of the fleet and became engaged in a battle for line honours. Hufton/Kennedy went looking on the left hand side of the beat for an expected port shift. This duly arrived, taking them into the lead, followed by Gray/Rhodes and Krailing/Hunt.

With Friday eventually being canned for lack of wind, this left Krailing and Hunt as new Champions. This is the fourth win for Alan, making him the second most frequent winner of the Lark National after Julian Hereward.

Bring on the Lark Nationals at Lyme Regis in 2016!

Results (7 races, 1 discard)

Place Helm Crew Boat Number Club Points
1 Alan Krailing Joe Hunt 2521 Waldringfield 10.25
2 Charlie Roome Jeremy Stephens 2519 Ranelagh/Penzance 21.75
3 Nigel Hufton Will Kennedy 2470 Frensham Pond 22.75
4 Peter Gray Rachael Rhodes 2531 Staunton Harold 22.75
5 Steve Hall Ally Hall 2536 Burnham SC 31.75
6 Christopher Holliman Kate Hutchins 2475 RYA 36
7 James Goss Nic Booth 2533 South Staffs 40
8 Ross Kearney Jane Kearney 2501 South Staffs 44
9 Chris Whitehouse Ruth Johnson 2411 Ranelagh 45
10 James Ward Eluned Stewart 2507 45

Nationals 2015 Final Results