Once again Northampton SC were to provide the perfect hosts for the Helly Hansen Lark Winter Championships in the GJW Direct Belle Isle series. There were 21 entries from as far afield as Penzance.
Race 1 started in very light breeze. James Gross/Emma Mackley took first around the windward mark with Stuart and Nick Hydon chasing. On the second leg the wind swung round allowing the Hydons to overtake. The Hydons managed to get around in the lead and extend their lead from the rest of the fleet. James and Katie Ward were next to challenge Goss/Mackley but it was Matt Stearn/Adam Owens who were able to push through and finish third.
The second race was started in even less wind and it was Stearn/Owens who opened up a substantial lead. There was a lot of place changing for second but eventually Jonathan Woodward/Karen Alexander pulled through ahead of the Hydons and Steve Hall/Simon Haighton.
Sunday saw slightly improved conditions. Chris White/Chris Warburton and Mike and Liz Senior made the initial push for the lead, but whilst the two boats were embroiled in their own race they missed Ross Kearney/Ally Dart push through and take the lead by taking the left side of the beat. On the final lap the three boats missed the Hydons taking the advantage Kearney had used the previous lap, along with Hall/Haighton. Hydon managed to squeeze into the lead downwind to hold it from Kearney/Dart.
By the final race the competition was all but sewn up. Other than the Hydons the only boat that could win the event was Stearn/Owens who needed a win. This was the third year where the duo were in exactly the same position. Both Stearn/Owens and the Hydons were mid fleet during the first part of the race. White/Warburton lead with the Seniors just behind. The Hydons managed to push through by taking the right beats and downwind course. White/Warburton held second followed by the Seniors.
Overall the Hydon’s took the title ahead of Stearn/Owens.
Thanks go to Northampton SC, Helly Hansen and GJW Direct for hosting / sponsoring the event.
Also a special thanks to Laura Lilly who has put a huge effort into ensuring the Lark Fleet have the best venues for 2015. The fleet wish both her and Ryan Crawford all best on the travels around the world.
1st Stuart and Nick Hydon Shustoke SC
2nd Matt Stearn and Adam Owens Waldringfield
3rd Chris White and Chris Warburton South Staffs SC
4th Mike and Liz Senior South Staffs SC