15 Larks ventured down to the South Coast for the Royal Lymington Yacht Club Lark Open over the weekend of 22nd-23rd July. Kindly laid on by the Club at short notice for the class as the scheduled Torquay event had to be cancelled. The fleet were met on the Saturday with unexpected thunder storms with lightning which narrowly missed the boats and struck a nearby Restaurant! Racing was postponed until the wind had settled and the weather improved. A port rounding trapezoid course was used for day one. Nice force 3 blowing.
Race 1, and it was Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones and Sarah Richards & Nigel Wakefield fighting a close battle for the lead, but then confusion as the leaders headed for mark 4 the rest of the fleet headed by Harry Pynn and Milly Parsons took the rest of the fleet to another gybe mark! Eventually Steve & Eluned won the duel, with Harry & Milly 3rd.
Race 2 and it was a familiar story at the front with Steve & Eluned – Sarah & Nigel battling it out, but this time Sarah & Nigel taking the win, ahead of a charging Steve & Eluned. 3rd was held comfortably by Nigel Hufton & Chris Whitehouse until Richard “Smashie” Bennett & Kelsey Suggitt squeezed past up the final beat.
On Sunday the Larkies were greeted to some fine sunny sailing weather but a drop in wind strength to around force 2. With the 2 leaders having Social arrangements, it was left to the rest of the fleet to decide the overall positions.
Race 3 and with a tide of 4 knots pushing the ships over the line made starting difficult. James Stewart & Jane Alexander lead the fleet round, only to loose out on the 1st reach of the Starboard rounding Trapezoid course. Bob Suggitt with returning crew/wife Mandy Suggitt pushed through to take the lead, with Smashie & Kelsey chasing hard. By the gybe mark, Smashie & Kelsey had an overlap and cruised off to victory. 2nd was Jon Fish & Toby Lewis climbing through the pack with Harry & Milly 3rd.
Race 4 this time had Smashie and Kelsey leading at the windward mark never to be challenged. Leaving Jon & Toby to take a solid 2nd with James & Jane taking a well deserved 3rd place.
Race 5 had Smashie and Kelsey again leading but pushed this time by Jon & Toby. Jon sneaked ahead at the gybe mark and sailed on for a lap until Smashie & Kelsey caught them up towards the end of the beat - snatching the lead back at the gybe mark. However, Jon & Toby didn’t give up and pushed the leaders all the way, defending hard Smashie & Kelsey held on to 1st place, Jon & Toby 2nd, and a well earned 3rd place for Katharine Sampson & Alison Dart.
1st 2487 Richard 'Smashie' Bennett & Kelsey Suggitt, Staunton Harold SC 6pts
2nd 2452 Harry Pynn & Milly Parsons, Waldringfield SC 16pts
3rd 2467 Bob & Mandy Suggitt, Barnt Green SC 18pts
4th 2264 Jon Fish & Toby Lewis, Waldringfield SC 22pts
5th 2470 Nigel Hufton & Chris Whitehouse, Frensham Pond SC 22pts
6th 2442 Katharine Sampson & Alison Dart, Medway SC 27pts
Report by Smashie