The Larks descended on Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club over May 20-21 for their Inland Championships.
The fleet was greeted with very blustery conditions on the Saturday, with several boats opting to stay ashore for the first race rather than go out in the ensuing carnage.
Race 1 and Dave Young & Anna Hotchkiss led round the windward mark, blasting off in a ball of spray followed by Simon Cox & Tessa Nicholls. The leaders did a synchronized centreboard inspection at the gybe mark, allowing Harry Pynn & Millie Parsons to take the lead with Jon Fish & Toby Lewis in hot pursuit. Next beat, Dougal Scott & Dave Marlow took the lead, only to opt for the kite down the run and crash out. Fish & Lewis stayed upright and sailed away with the race, Howie Enkel & Micky Wright claimed second with Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones third overtaking Tom Jeffcoate & Dippy as their mast gave way (see photos!) boat lengths from the finish.
After a lengthy wait to allow for some of the carnage to clear and the breeze to drop to a more manageable force 4/5, two excellent races were held back-to-back. In the first, Cumley & Jones led from start to finish. After some nip-tuck racing, Chris & Racheal Jenkins took second with James Stewart and Ruth Johnson holding third.
In race three, Nigel Hufton & Chris Whitehouse led the charge from the left leading from Fish & Lewis at the windward mark, only to capsize in a nasty gust at the first gybe. Cumley & Jones used their downwind pace to power into the lead at the leeward mark but Fish & Lewis worked past up the next beat and held to the finish, just fending off Cumley & Jones. Stewart & Johnson took third, working through the pack well.
After a massive night of dancing and drinking, the fleet launched in drizzle and a patchy breeze on Sunday. The race officers put on remarkably good courses given they had led the drinking the night before.
Stewart & Johnson led from Steven Videlo & Will Branton early on in race 4, with Fish & Lewis coming through downwind into 3rd, chased by Chris Fish & Beth Condie. By the end of the first run Fish & Condie had eaked out a lead, which they held comfortably to the finish with Stewart & Johnson taking second. Fish & Lewis claimed third after a contentious last mark incident with Cumley & Jones.
Alan Krailing & Edd McArdle led race 5 from start to finish, taking a large lead out on the first reach and never looking back. Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield took second place, looking back on the pace with their new mast, having had theirs break before the first race had even started on Saturday. Videlo & Branton claimed third, their cause helped when James Stewart provided great spectator sport by capsizing up the last beat
The biggest cheers of the day were saved for Dan Watson & Jane Alexander who pulled off an excellent port hand flyer in the last race, crossing the whole fleet and after taking a couple of good shifts leading at the windward mark. Eventually Dan was reeled in by Fish & Condie who took their second bullet of the day. Dan took second, with Cox & Nicholls third.
After some protest room drama, the final results had Fish & Lewis claiming the event, with Cumley & Jones second and Fish & Condie third.
Thanks to Bristol Corinthian for hosting an excellent event despite the testing conditions.
1st Jonathan Fish & Toby Lewis 13pts
2nd Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones 19pts
3rd Chris Fish & Beth Condie 26pts
4th Alan Krailing & Edd McArdle 28pts
5th James Stewart & Ruth Johnson 30pts
Full report available via the Results page of this website