A select gathering of Larks descended on Banbury S.C on Saturday 29th July, for the bi-annual Lark Short Course Championships. The weekend brought glorious sunshine with southerly winds and some vicious gusts.
Steve Cumley, race officer for the weekend, decided to begin with three 20-30 minute races in order to test the fleet’s boat handling. Richard "Smashie" Bennett and Kelsey Suggitt seemed extremely adept at this with two firsts and a third, which left them as over night leaders. Nick and Rob Marlow sailed equally as consistent to finish up with two seconds and a third. The Chris & Ann Biglin also had a successful day to be placed third overnight.
The afternoon brought slightly steadier winds but with still fairly strong gusts. After a majority vote, six of the eight boats agreed to put their knowledge of the rules into practice and hold a mini two-boat team racing competition simply for the enjoyment of it.
On Sunday three more fleet races were held to decide the 6 race series with 1 discard. Race 4 was won by local team Stuart & Julia Allen. Race 5 winners were Nigel Scott & Eluned Jones. Race 6 winners were another local team of Graham & Sarah Castle.
After Lunch the race format changed to a knockout. The two top teams of Nick & Rob and Smashie & Kelsey were give an ‘bye’ through to the semi-final. This left the remainder of the fleet to contest the quarter-final. This was won by Graham & Sarah from Stu & Julia. A special mention to Nigel & Eluned who capsized during a tack. From the back of the fleet they majestically took on the entire fleet to snatch 3rd on the line and avoid elimination.
After a tight battle, and a lot of place changes, Nigel & Eluned took control to record victory in the semi-final from Graham & Sarah and Smashie & Kelsey.
The final ‘Medal race’ was held with just three boats. Smashie & Kelsey were in commanding form. A tight battle commenced between all three boats. Graham & Sarah pushed on and nearly caught out the leaders with some local knowledge on the 3rd beat but did not quite make it past. Nigel & Eluned stayed up close to Graham & Sarah, but couldn’t make a dent in their runners-up position. After some defensive sailing Team Smashie-Kelsey extended their lead to take race victory to the bang of Party Poppers on the finish line!
Special thanks must go to the superb hospitality of Banbury Sailing Club and organisation by Stuart and Julia Allen. Also many thanks to Steve Cumley for giving up his hard earned weekend in organization and running of another enjoyable event.
1st 2487 Smashie Bennett & Kelsey Suggitt, Staunton Harold SC
2nd 2222 Graham & Sarah Castle, Banbury SC
3rd 2472 Nigel Scott & Eluned Jones, RYA
4th 2301 Stuart & Julia Allen, Banbury SC
5th 2490 Nick & Rob Marlow, Northampton SC
6th 2503 Chris & Anne Biglin, Shustoke SC
7th 2504 John Crooks & Helen Winward, Burghfield SC
8th Brenda Hewison & Liz Dearns/Pat Kuenzler, Banbury SC