© Dan Watson© Gareth Fudge

2018 Lark Nationals at Sidmouth Overall

Nigel Hufton - 22nd August 2018

Following another “legendary” fancy dress party, the sailors awoke to sore heads – but no wind. Racing was initially postponed, but with the wind averaging 3mph by late morning– and very little gradient wind around - the decision was made to cancel the final 2 races of the championship. This meant Chris & Nicola White were crowned as 2018 Lark National Champions.

Over the six races sailed, competitors experienced predominantly light to medium winds. The muggy, overcast conditions led to the wind varying in direction and pressure throughout, challenging the excellent PRO John Keast. Three races were lost due to lack of wind and no gate starts were used for the first time in over 35 years. It meant a range of sea states, with the waves often ‘bigger than the wind’ and from the ‘wrong’ direction.

Given this changeability, Chris & Nic sailed a remarkably consistent championship throughout, never lower than second and winning two races – which could have been four, but for navigational errors when in the lead - to win on 8 points. They also took the trophy for first married couple.

Chris commented, “It was a great event and Sidmouth were excellent hosts. We experienced big wind shifts in some of the races. This made the tactics challenging, but the racing always stayed close throughout the fleet”.

While worthy winners, they didn’t have it all their own way. Nigel Hufton & Matt Wood finished second and won race 3, finishing on 13 points, meaning Nigel regained the Haigh Masters’ prize.

As Nigel said, “These were tricky wind conditions, almost like being inland. We got most things right, but sailing is about who makes the least mistakes. Chris and Nic sailed fast and intelligently - and barely put a foot wrong”.

Ex-champion Dougal Scott and wife Helen finished a strong third overall, winning two races and ending up just 1 point behind Hufton and Wood.

Winners of the Silver fleet were Dave Young – back in a Lark after 10 years and loving it – with crew Mya Peterson.

Winners of the bronze fleet were local Scorpion sailors Chris & David Clapp, who jumped into a borrowed boat and finished 9th, also taking the best newcomers trophy. A great achievement for a father and son pairing who had not sailed a Lark before.

James Goss [this year crewed by Kamila Czartalomna] won best improver for coming 4th, a rise of 8 places.

South Staffs Sailing Club took the Team Trophy with their top boats placing 1st and 4th overall. This continues a series of major championship wins for the club this year.

Youth prize went to Kamila Czartalomna in her first Nationals as a crew. The evergreen Chris Ellis and Judith Young picked up the prize for oldest combined age of boat and crew.

Winning lady helm was ex-champion Emma Harris crewed by Becky Priest, who sailed a consistent championship.

Special thanks must go to Sidmouth Sailing Club for hosting an excellent national championship. From the great race management of John Keast and the team, to the brilliant catering, headed up by Liz White. Beach master Simon White did an excellent job ensuring that the launching and recovery went smoothly.

Overall, the 2018 Sidmouth Lark Nationals provided close, exciting racing and great socials.

The Larks have some great, innovative plans for 2019, including a National Championships in late-May at Rock, the spiritual home of the Larks. This has already generated a lot of interest from current and returning Lark sailors, plus those from other classes who want to sharpen their race skills for other championships. This family-friendly format continues with a Lark start at the Salcombe Yacht Club regatta in August. Later in the year there will be a Masters, which in the past has seen many top sailors attending.

Keep your eyes open for more information, as the 2019 season is shaping up to one not to miss.

Rank Boat SailNo Club HelmName CrewName R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1 Smartie Pants 253 South Staffs S. C. Chris White Nicola White (2.0) 1.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 2.0 10.0 8.0
2 Tiger Too 2538 Frensham Pond S. C. Nigel Hufton Matt Wood 4.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 (9.0) 4.0 22.0 13.0
3 Muppet 2484 Rock S. C. Dougal Scott Helen Scott 1.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 (10.0) 1.0 24.0 14.0
4 James Goss 2529 South Staffs S. C. James Goss Kamila Czartolomna 3.0 4.0 5.0 3.0 3.0 (11.0) 29.0 18.0
5 Mozzy 2521 Waldringfield S. C/ Felixstowe Ferry S. Simon Cox Anna Nankervis 6.0 5.0 (9.0) 4.0 5.0 3.0 32.0 23.0
6 Nantucket Sleighride 2508 South Staffs S. C. Dave Young Mya Peterson 7.0 (10.0) 3.0 10.0 1.0 9.0 40.0 30.0
7 Bomber 2534 R. Y. A. Emma Harris Becky Priest 5.0 7.0 8.0 (9.0) 4.0 6.0 39.0 30.0
8 Weeble 2502 Netley S. C. Steve Chatten Kirsty Phipps / Helen Chatten 8.0 6.0 6.0 8.0 11.0 (15.0) 54.0 39.0
9 Zebidee 2472 Sidmouth S. C. Chris Clapp David Clapp 9.0 (14.0) 14.0 6.0 6.0 7.0 56.0 42.0
10 Problem Child 2522 Shustoke S. C. Chris Biglin Ben Biglin 10.0 9.0 7.0 14.0 7.0 (18.0 DNS) 65.0 47.0
11 Windchaser 2530 Frensham Pond S. C. Chris Ellis Judith Young 14.0 13.0 11.0 7.0 12.0 (16.0) 73.0 57.0
12 Black Velvet 2537 Banbury S. C. Neil Firth Sue Firth 12.0 12.0 10.0 (13.0) 13.0 10.0 70.0 57.0
13 Lucky Pants 2442 South Staffs S. C. Kate Merritt Karen Alexander 11.0 11.0 12.0 11.0 (15.0) 14.0 74.0 59.0
14 Dylan 2539 R. Y. A. Nigel Scott   16.0 8.0 16.0 (18.0 DNF) 16.0 5.0 79.0 61.0
15 Polar Bear 2531 Waldringfield S. C. Daniel Watson Sofia Abrahams 15.0 (18.0 DNS) 13.0 12.0 8.0 13.0 79.0 61.0
16 Slow Transit 2498 West Kirby S. C. Simon Kenny Nicole Kenny 13.0 (15.0) 15.0 15.0 14.0 12.0 84.0 69.0
17   2475       (18.0 DNC) 18.0 DNS 18.0 DNS 18.0 DNS 18.0 DNS 8.0 98.0 80.0

Full results