Draycote Water SC hosted the Lark Inland Championships on the weekend of 5/6 June. The event, which was sponsored by Crewsaver, North, Speed and Hyde Sails, attracted 30 Larks to compete for the title.
With a forecast of high temperatures and light winds, racing was always going to be a brain strain and a test of patience for Arky the PRO. Races 1 and 2 were just squeezed into Saturday afternoon before the breeze died to nothing and Arky canned racing in preference for a cool beer at the bar. It was a difficult weekend for consistency with patches of breeze hitting either side of the course and shift patterns difficult to work out. After day 1, Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield were leading overall with a score of 5;1. Bob and Kelsey Suggitt had shown their aptitude for the light stuff by winning by a healthy margin in R1 and were lying in second with Alan Krailing and Gemma Thompson in 3rd with a 4;3. The real stars of the weekend, though, Glen and Marion Enkel, clicked their 20 year old boat into gear and were lying in 4th overall after the first day.
Saturday evening's entertainment came in the form of a traditional Lark party with dancing well into the early hours. Many bleary eyed sailors woke on Sunday morning expecting even less breeze but were actually rewarded with frequent puffs of the sitting out kind. Four races were successfully run, albeit in very shifty and patchy conditions. Going into Sunday with a score of 2;9, Emma Harris and Becky Priest needed a consistent and good set of results in order to climb up the fleet. This they managed, with a score of 6;4;2;1, giving them the overall title by a 6 point margin. The Enkels, sailed very intelligently, picking their way around the holes into the breeze, and firing in a 3;6;2 giving them 2nd overall - a testament to their perseverance and enthusiasm.
Newcomers to the fleet, Jonathan Lewis and Milly Parsons showed some early form with a R3 win and were looking promising in R5 until equipment failure let them down. Alan Krailing and Gemma Thompson found the going a little harder than Saturday and only scored well in R4, which they lead from start to finish. Bob and Kelsey Suggitt didn't find the consistency they needed and, even with a 2nd in R4, dropped to 3rd overall.
Mark Ampleford and Lee Nankervis, however, having disappointingly lost the lead of R2 on the line, made up for it by winning R5 and finishing 3rd in R6. Dougal Scott and Ruth Johnson found better speed than on the previous day and joined in at the top of the fleet, scoring a 7;3;3 and bringing them up to 5th overall.
A huge thank you goes to all the sponsors, especially to North Sails for donating a new jib for the winner; to Arky for his sterling work and to Draycote Water SC for their warm and friendly welcome.
1st Emma Harris and Becky Priest, 15pts
2nd Glen and Marion Enkel, 21pts
3rd Bob and Kelsey Suggitt, 25pts
4th Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield, 29pts
5th Dougal Scott and Ruth Johnson, 35pts
6th Rob Larke and Sally Wakefield, 40pts
7th Matthew White and Clare LaForge, 41pts
8th Mark Ampleford and Lee Nankervis, 43pts
9th Alan Krailing and Gemma Thompson, 44pts
10th Jonathan Lewis and Milly Parsons, 44pts
1st Youth Prize: William Croxford
Emma Harris - 08th June 2004