Larks from all around the country competed in the first two of six races scheduled over the winter

The first Northampton Sailing Club Lark winter mini-series event was held at Pitsford reservoir on Sunday 21 November. Larks from the south-west, Midlands, East Anglia and Kent joined the burgeoning home fleet to compete in the first of six races scheduled over the winter.

The first race of the day is a mass handicap race that doesn’t count in the Lark mini series. Steve Cumley and Eluned Jones won the heavily port-biased end of the line and converted their early advantage into a comfortable win. David and Nick Marlow sailed well, despite a tussle with a Flying Fifteen to finish second Lark and second overall on handicap.

For the second race of the day the Lark fleet had a separate start, five minutes before the handicap fleet. Ruth Johnson and James Stewart led round the windward mark followed closely by Simon Cox and Anna Hotchkiss and Cumley and Jones in third. Cox and Cumley overtook Johnson down the reaches and then went on to battle for the race with Cumley and Jones coming out victorious at the finish, Cox and Hotchkiss in second and the Marlows pulling through to third.

The second event of the series was competed for on Sunday 12 December. As previous weeks the first race sailed was a handicap race that doesn’t count for the mini series. Ruth Johnson and James Stewart showed good upwind speed to lead round the windward mark by a comfortable margin.

Steve Cumley and Eluned Jones gybed early and got a favourable shift to take them down the run and into the lead. Cumley and Jones extended this lead throughout the race to finish first Lark and second on handicap.

The main race sailed was a very competitive affair with 10 closely matched Larks coming off the line together. Steve Cumley and Eluned Jones led round the first windward mark closely followed by the rapid local team of David and Georgina Hand. Cumley gybed off around the mark and surrendered the lead to the Hands and Simon Cox and Anna Hotchkiss. A tight battle developed between the lead pair who pulled out a good distance on the chasing pack. Cox and Hotchkiss took the lead from the Hands up the next beat by playing it safe up the middle. The Hands took a bit of a flier and lost out to David and Nick Marlow and then Ruth Johnson and James Stewart.

Places remained relatively unchanged with Cox and Hotchkiss losing ground by putting a close cover on the fast catching Marlow team behind them. Johnson and Stewart had a storming final leg to finish in 3rd, the Hands in 4th and Chairman Cumley and Jones in 5th.

After two races, Simon Cox and Anna Hotchkiss lead the mini-series by two points from the Marlows. But there is still all to play for with four races to go and Cox and Hotchkiss unable to complete the whole series.

The next races are scheduled for 9 and 30 January, 20 February and 12 March. Plus don’t miss the Steve Nicholson Pursuit Race on 29 January.