With certain tennis matches, car races, regatta days and open meetings vying for attention, along with a not too promising weather forecast, the turnout for the lark short course championships at Barnt Green was understandably, but disappointingly reduced.
After much discussion on exactly the format, it was decided to start all 5 boats as a fleet, and fit in as many 15 minute races back to back as possible.
The start was delayed as the god who is Bob Suggitt showed the first rare lapse of the day by finding that he had no crew. A replacement with all of 30 minutes experience in a boat was found, or rather ordered by Kate, into the boat and battle commenced.
The OD set an interesting figure of 8 course with 2 short beats, a run and a very short reach. Kate and Karen made it to the first mark with Kevin and David. In third, James, in Bob’s boat was heard to ask “what does this rope do”.
In a soon to be familiar pattern, from somewhere, Kevin and David found a zephyr of wind and pulled away, with the ladies wondering when it would hit them and Bob wondering whether his planned and promised crew was alive, planning to end that at the earliest opportunity. The local team, George and Lewis, in 4th, were trying to battle with Bob, and the youth squad contenders, Will and Matt, who were more used to lasers, were wondering what a jib was; as for the spinnaker, well that was a novelty. And so ended the first race.
The second race, the fleet looked on in confusion as the god who is Bob was seen to make his second lapse of the day. He layed up alongside and ran to the clubhouse just as the preparatory signal went. Call of nature? Initial crew found? No, apparently a screwdriver was needed to reattach cleats to the beautiful wooden deck on the baker lark... unfortunately, his run was not quick enough, and James, now with one hour experience, found himself single handing a lark as the boat took off from shore without its resident deity. By mutual agreement of the fleet, the race was postponed as the errant boat and crew were recovered, mainly as we were all laughing too hard, er I mean concerned for the welfare of the boat and crew to race..... other than the youth fleet who were half way up the beat wondering why the gun had not sounded...
The second attempt the blood was obviously still rushing in the youngster’s minds, as there is no other explanation for the call of water on Kevin and David on the start mark. The fleet vocally, politely, loudly and patiently explained the error and the guys did their turns and were at the back, leaving Kevin and David first at the mark, closely followed by Kate and Karen, Bob with his newly recovered and blooded crew, and the local unit George and Lewis there battling for third and fourth. Zephr number 2 was ordered and delivered at the front of the fleet for Kevin, much to Kate’s frustration, and race 2 positions decided.
Race 3 was about to start, when the cry of “lunch is ready” came from the OD box. The fleet as a whole agreed a one lap shoot out and the best and true short course race of the day began. Bob and Kevin tried a port flyer with the other 3 doing a standard start, it almost worked for Bob, didn’t for Kevin. First beat, 2 went left, 2 went right, one went both left AND right and still 5 boats arrived at the first mark together. 5 wide down the run Kevin gybed out, almost loosing David out the boat as he was attempting a quick pole launch at the time, ordered a third and final zephyr of wind and sailed beneath the fleet to take the lead. Bob’s crew, James was heard to say “oh THATS what the rope does” as they moved into 2nd, and Karen, who had been ordered to the wiggly stick by Kate, came in third, after having a gravitational attraction to the final mark as the wind finally died.
Over lunch, much debate was made to the lack of wind, possibility of rain, and Andy Murray’s chances, and it was decided to call it a day, leaving Kevin and David as Short Course champions with Kate and Karen second, Bob and James, now an experienced sailor, third.
Prizes were given to all, and the OD was thanked for the courses, the Galley for the hospitality, and Bob and James for the Entertainment.
And to all reading the report, artistic licence is most definitely claimed!
2480: Kevin Rose and David Lynch 1 1 1 3 (first)
2442: Kate Merritt and Karen Jewkes 2 2 3 7 (first ladies and first Parker)
1965: Bob Suggitt and James Waterfield 3 3 2 8 (first grand master, first novice, first baker, first deity, first beard, first Barnt Green boat)
2463: George Luttock and Lewis Barnes 4 4 4 12 (second pretty much everything)
1695: Will Lockett and Mathew Cross 5 5 5 15 (first youths)