Lark Nationals 2021 - Final Report

Nigel Hufton - 03rd June 2021

LARK Nationals Day 4
The final day of the MUSTO sponsored LARK Nationals at Rock dawned to grey skies, some rain and a forecast of possible thunderstorms. Though they didnít materialise, they would probably have been a better option than the challenging conditions the fleet had to endure, with the sprightly breeze that drove the boats downwind to the race area in the mouth of the Camel Estuary being replaced by an asthmatic sort of sea breeze half way through the first race.
With two races to be held and a second discard to come in, the maths showed that Chris and Nic White had one hand on the Silver Lark trophy but could be pipped if Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook had a stellar day and they had an uncharacteristically bad one.
For the first race, John and Vicky Brickwood were the pathfinders and capitalised to play right middle and round first. Neither of the leading teams were in the top group, though the Pynns had the upper hand. On the second beat, the Whites did well on the left to climb into the top six. On the run the breeze disappeared and then started to re-emerge from the west. Stuart and Nick Hydon were the first to get to it and slipped through to take the win on a shortened course. John and Vicky held onto second but it was the Whiteís who came through in third and with the Pynnís back in seventh, the destiny of the 2021 LARK champion title was resolved.
The final race started in a very light westerly, full of holes and big shifts and it looked like another shut down was in store. The left looked strong for a while but it was the right that came in at the end with Ed Bradburn and Sarah Norbury leading from the Whites. The fleet soon parked up on the reach and it was the wily Steve Cumley and Eluned Stewart who gybed away and found pressure down to leeward. They extended away to take a large win when the race was thankfully shortened after one round. Tim Fells and Fran Gifford also found these to be their best conditions to take second ahead of Ed and Sarah.
Many congratulations to Chris and Nic who have sailed an exemplary week, combining a nudge of boat speed with expert tactical positioning in what have been very challenging conditions. They add a second Silver Lark title to their collection, plus the 2019 win that Chris secured as crew.
Huge thanks go out to Rock Sailing Club for going ahead with the event so soon after lockdown restrictions eased. Organisation on and off the water has been slick and the bonus of glorious sunshine has meant that outside drinks and socialising has been a success.
Finally, a very big thank you to MUSTO who have generously sponsored the event, providing lots of prizes and support for the class.
Overall:
1st Chris and Nic White 14 pts
2nd Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook 25 pts
3rd Stuart and Nick Hydon 28 pts
4th James Stewart and Jeremy Stephens 28 pts
5th Ed Bradburn and Sarah Norbury 30 pts
6th James Goss and Rachael Rhodes 37 pts