Larks at Queen Mary
close racing at the Lark Winter Championships at Queen Mary SC.
Six races were scheduled for the weekend which got underway at lunchtime on Saturday in beautiful wintry sunshine and a force 2-3 southerly breeze. Richard Dowsett and Ruth Johnson in the first race built up a huge margin before crossing in first a good three quarters of a leg in front of the second placed boat, Chris and Rachael Jenkins with Emma Harris and Becky Priest finishing in third.
The second race saw team Jenkins leading for a lap, but a close bunch of boats battling for the No.1 position eventually saw Richard and Jenny Bennett come out on top with Harry Pynn and Olly Woolgar a close second. Race 3 was a shorter race, caused by a gradually fading breeze. Pynn/Woolgar and Dowsett/Johnson, having battled to the first wing mark for the top spots had to watch as the fleet turned inside out, and a quick-thinking Matt White/Clare Laforge steamed up the inside on the final reach in a new breeze. Harris/Priest, who had rounded in 6th and had been the first boat to bear away to take advantage of the inside track just weren't able to fend off White/Laforge who had rounded much further behind, but had sailed much deeper .
Saturday evening was spent celebrating a fantastic 2002 season, with 62 of the competitors wining and dining at the annual Lark Laying Down Supper, incorporating the annual Duckham's awards and Belle Isle Travellers Trophy prize giving.
With some groggy heads, the fleet set sail on Sunday morning in a very light and shifty breeze. With what breeze there was clocking further and further right during race 4, it was those who started on the right of the course who had the advantage. Chris Fish, crewed by his mum, Cathy, led from start to finish with a close battle behind for second between Pynn/Woolgar and Steve Dunn and Tegwyn Roberts. As the breeze lightened further, Race 5 gradually turned into a competition for "who could drift the fastest". Rob Larke and Paul Gardner, who had led from the start drifted in first, followed some time later by Dowsett/Johnson and some time after that, by Harris/Priest.
The fleet voted with their feet and went back shivering to shore, thereby abandoning any hopes of starting the final race.
Overall positions were tight. Emma Harris and Becky Priest, who had sailed the most consistent series with all five results in the top 4, finished with 12 points, Harris taking the title for the second time. Second, third and fourth overall tied on 18pts and had to be split on number of firsts etc. This left Dowsett/Johnson in second, White/LaForge in third and Pynn/Woolgar in fourth.
1st Emma Harris & Becky Priest, 12pts
2nd Richard Dowsett & Ruth Johnson, 18pts
3rd Matt White & Clare Laforge, 18pts
4th Harry Pynn & Olly Woolgar, 18pts
5th Dougal Scott & Helen Woodward, 26pts
6th Chris & Cathy Fish, 31pts
7th Chris & Rachael Jenkins, 31pts
8th Richard and Jenny Bennett, 32pts
9th Steve Dunn and Tegwyn Roberts, 33pts
10th Rob Larke and Paul Gardner, 40pts