Torrential rain and gale force winds were not enough to deter a record 96 hardy soles from making the trip to Northampton Sailing Club for the Lark Winter Championships, rounding off a brilliant 2006 season and kicking off the 40th anniversary year in style!
When the breeze dropped and the rain cleared race officer Bruce Merry was keen to get things underway. Three races saw 3 different winners with Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones, Jon Fish & Toby Lewis and Jon Lewis & Tessa Nichols all taking line honours. Family team, Nick & Joanna Marlow had an excellent first race picking up a 3rd place. However it was Alan Krailing & Edd McArdle who lead overnight with three 2nd places.
The Laying Down Supper, hosted by the club, was fantastic and the whole fleet, plus a few old friends, were treated to a live band with dinner, drinking & dancing. The hotly contested Duckhams of the Year was awarded to Mark Ampleford for reasons too numerous to mention and the dancing continued.
Sunday wasn’t quite so well attended by the sailors with several choosing to nurse hangovers on shore rather than blow them away on the water. Two back to back races allowed no time for the cold to hit and an early get away while it was still light. There was a lot of spinnaker work as the lark’s sailed two S courses and there was a bit of capsizing when the gusts caught the fuzzy headed sailors off guard. Steve & Eluned managed to hold off Harry Pynn & Joe Hunt to ensure there was all to play for in the last race as Alan & Edd only managed a 4th. Last years winners Chris Fish & Beth Condie rounded off the weekend well, overtaking Jon & Toby to win convincingly, Alan & Edd managed to get past them too securing another 2nd place, which was enough to take the Winter Championship title.
As ever the competition was hotly contested throughout the class with prizes for the Silver and Bronze fleet as generous as those in the Gold. Portsmouth Uni brought 7 boats to the event and took 1st and 2nd places in the Bronze fleet. Geoff Sinton and Sara Olliff beat several Gold fleet boats to finish 1st in the Silver fleet.
Thanks to all at Northampton for a brilliant weekend (everyone is looking forward to next year).