Larks at Waldringfield Cartoon Trophy: Bigger waves than Teignmouth and a whole lot more wind!
(unbiased reporting by Chris Fish!)
14 Larks enjoyed some exciting racing at the upper end of the racable wind spectrum over 25/26 September. The River Deben at times resembled a whitewater rafting course with 2 foot crests as 30 knot gusts blew against a strong flood tide. Race Officer Patrick Gifford set a beat-reach-beat-run course starting down river near Galleons going up river to the Club. In Race 1 Christopher Fish and Beth Condie returned to the front after almost 2 months away by making the most of osccillating shifts upwind. National Champion Harry Pynn (pinch yourself again Harry, it sinks in after a while) sailing with Harri Condie pushed Chris/Beth until the last beat when they in turn had to worry about Stephen Videlo/ James Hayward snapping at their heels. A rare swim up the first beat for Alan Krailing / Drew James had put them way back but they recovered strongly to fourth.
Chris/ Beth were enjoying the breeze and took an early lead in race 2. That was short lived as Matt Stearn/ Adam Owens recovered from breaking their boom in race 1 to find bigger gusts on the runs. Victory was made easier by Chris/ Beth's mainsheet catching a mooring bouy and subsequent capsize. They fought back, however, to third behind Stephen/ James.
Race 3 was abandoned.
Race 4 on Sunday morning was gifted to Matt/ Adam when Chris went to the wrong mark. Matt White/ Kerry Ryan and the Harries also capitalised this typical Fishy mistake but others weren't quite close enough. The fifth race was another dual at the front, this time between Stephen/ James and Fish/Condie. It was a pity that Stephen had jumped the gun or he'd have been equal first helm overall going into the final race with Fish and Stearn.
The final race was around the island with an odd little double reach half way up the beat. Harry/ Harri did what they had to by taking the lead early on in the decreasing breeze. This was the closest race of the weekend with all the above mentioned teams crossing tack after tack. The Harries eventually pulled out a comfortable lead on the long run as the other lightweights Stephen/ James harrassed Chris/ Beth for second. As a result Fish handbraked the last leeward mark and let Alan/ Drew tack inside to steal second on the last fetch!
Fortunately for Chris/ Beth 3rd was enough to retain the Cartoon Trophy (with most first places) from Harry/ Harri and Matt/ Adam.