A great entry of 44 larks turned out for the 2011 Lark winter championships at Northampton Sailing Club. The 2011 event will probably remembered more for the legendary social than the sailing though. Unfortunately the wind Gods did not play ball!
Unbeknown to the competitors the winter championship was to become a one race shoot out. A triangle sausage course was set providing the fleet with a long first beat in a decreasing force 2. The decision about which end of the start line to go for didnít prove to be as simple as picking the bias end. The starboard end was bias but starting at this end limited options due to the long starboard tack up the first beat. There also appeared to be more wind on the left side of the course. The fleet got away under the second time of asking under a black flag.
The fleet started with an even spread of boats across the line. Mike Senior and Connie Hicklin from South Staffs SC choose the port pin and worked the left side of the beat. Ross Kearney and Alison Dart were looking good on the right hand side up the first half of the beat, but it was the left and the port lay line that eventually paid.
Mike and Connie rounded first with Matthew Stearn and Adam Owens second. These two boats then extended from the fleet, but were never comfortable in the dying breeze. On the final lap Mike and Connie ran out of wind on the second downwind leg and the breeze began to fill from behind. Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook and the Hydonís took full advantage to close gap. Harry and Gemma managed to undertake Matthew and Adam and came close to taking the lead, but with a shift to the South and a tightening second reach, Mike and Connie managed to hold on and take the win. Harry and Gemma finished second with Matthew and Adam securing third.
With the wind dying even further, racing was abandoned for the day met by cheers and a swift entry to the bar and the beginning of the Larks annual black tie social. Sunday dawned with the usual sore heads, but unfortunately conditions hadnít improved from Saturday and racing was sadly abandoned.
The Lark fleet now turn their attentions to 2012 and most notably the national championships to be held over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend at Plymouth.