Autumn may be upon us, but it hadnít reached Plymouth on 24/25 October, with the Larks enjoying great sailing in the sunshine in the last of the Hell-Hansen Great8 events of the season.
Racing was postponed on Saturday due to the threat of squalls, but a select group ventured out in a growing breeze into Plymouth Sound.
Dougal & Helen Scott threw the gauntlet down with a perfectly executed port tack flyer and led around the first mark, only to be overtaken by Nigel Hufton and Adam Owens down the reach. They held this until they reached the last gybe mark on a screaming white-sail reach. At risk of nose-diving, Hufton went for safety first and wore around, only to see the Scotts gybe through into the gap, pop their kite, disappear in a cloud of spray (see picture) and hold off Hufton/Owens to the end. Gary & Richard Packer came in third. With the wind increasing to 25 kts, racing was ended for the day.
Day two dawned with sun but little wind. The fleet spent an hour sailing to the breakwater only to find the course was a mile beyond and needing to be towed. However, race officer Chris Hampe had a good nose for finding the wind, as a southerly Force 3 filled in out to sea.
Three excellent races ensued. Race 2 saw Hufton/Owens getting the better of the Scotts, then picking the shifts to win Race 3 won by some margin. In the final race, the Scotts bounced back and led up the first beat, but Hufton/Owens got through and just held it to the end leaving them winners overall. Steve Chatten & Kate Merritt showed consistency to come in third in every race.
Thanks go to Hayling Island for again providing their superb venue.
Results (4 races, 1 discards)
1st Nigel Hufton & Adam Owens 3 points
2nd Dougal Scott & Helen Scott 5 points
3rd Steve Chatten & Kate Merritt 9 points
4th Garry Packer & Richard Packer 11 points
5th Mike Williams & Imogen Gray-Williams 14 points