A different bay, a different trophy, but no less exciting. After the sailing world spent September glued to the their televisions watching the America's Cup, the circus moved on to sailing's second most coveted prize, the Lark Masters at Hayling Island sailing club.
The biennial event allows silver sailors (well helms over 35) to pit themselves against the champions of yesteryear.
Stuart Hydon and Rachel Rhodes dominated the races, winning all three. Having tried to win this event for many many years, Stuart was delighted to have finally won it. It seems that hip replacements are more coveted in the lark fleet than anywhere else on the planet. Three hip replacements are awarded to the winner. Always good to have a spare.
All three races were held at sea. The ebb tide made the beats short and runs long.
A left hand shift in race 1 skewed the course, making the pin end favourable, but meaning it was easy to sail beyond the port layline. Hydon and Rhodes managed to tack onto port early which allowed them to get around the windward mark first, followed by double Lark Masters John and Vicky Brickwood. Harry Pynn and Gemma Cook stayed low on the second reach to close up with Hydon and Rhodes but were unable to find a way past. 2011 winner John Ibbotson crewed by Ally Dart finished 3rd.
In race 2 the top two were the same as race 1. Emma Harris and Ruth Johnson found good breeze on the run, but not enough to get past Nigel Hufton and Adam Owens in 3rd.
With the championship sewn up already, the final race was to decide who would come 2nd.
Steve Chatten and Eluned Jones, with good pin end starts under their belts, this time got a bit too close and wrapped themselves around the pin end buoeeey. Nigel Hufton (nickname "The Huff") and Adam Owens, lead initially from John and Vicky Brickwood, but Stuart and Rachel "split the course" going left down the run to take the lead and a clean sweep of the races. This meant that Hufton and Owens were 3rd overall behind Pynn and Cook.
Thanks to Hayling Island Sailing Club for running the event. The quick turnaround of races was particularly popular with the lark sailors.
Results here: http://www.hisc.co.uk/media/58741/lark_masters.htm