A strong fleet of 34 Larks travelled to Queen Mary SC on 24-25 November for the Winter Championship

A strong fleet of 34 Larks travelled to Queen Mary SC on 24-25 November for the Winter Championship, with racing sailed over an Olympic-type course. The weekend was particularly notable for the form of new Rondar boats, which filled second, third and ninth places.

The wind on the first beat of race one was light and very shifty. Peter Cook and Janet Exelby rounded the top mark in first, followed by a tightly packed fleet. Cook/Exelby gybed at the wing mark and all bar Matthew White and Clare La Forge, followed suit, all fighting for the wind, which had dropped considerably. White/La Forge rounded the leeward mark in first place, closely followed by Cook/Exelby and Martin Gillam and Matt Griffiths. The wind then piped up again and the gap between White/LaForge and Cook/Exelby increased to the finish, with Gillam/Griffiths in third.

Races two and three were sailed in light and variable conditions. Fran Gifford and Neil Ravenscroft led from a flying start for much of race two, but were gradually worn down by the speed of Cook/Exelby who finished first with White/LaForge finishing in a strong third.

In race three it was the turn of Alan Krailing/Tom Alexander and Bob and Kelsey Suggitt to chase Cook/Exelby home, giving the latter the clear overnight lead. Unfortunately, a back injury sent Cook home leaving the fleet to speculate what ‘might have been’.

After a very successful inaugural ‘Laying Down Supper’ on Saturday night, Sunday dawned grey and drizzly, but with a stronger 10-15 knot wind.

In race four, Dave Larkham and Rachel Jenkins, started to find form, chased hard by the new Rondar boat of Nigel Hufton and Edd McArdle. However, a change to the finish line format left both boats sailing the wrong side of the finish line. Krailing/Alexander and Adams/Gardner capitalised on the confusion to take first and second, dropping Larkham and Hufton to third and fifth respectively. In race five, White/LaForge had to fight hard to an impressive win. Hufton/McArdle chased hard but had too much to do to fend off the whole fleet closing up in a gust and were pipped on the line by Richard Dowsett and Ruth Johnson. Race six saw Chris Ellis and Carolynne Curwen lead virtually from beginning to end, followed by Adams/Gardner – giving a ‘one/two’ to new Rondar boats. Third place went to Larkham/Jenkins.

However, finishing in seventh, White/LaForge had done enough to take the overall title, with Adams/Gardner taking second and Hufton/McArdle third.

Overall Results

1st Matthew White and Clare LaForge (2065), Waldringfield SC

2nd Richard Adams and Paul Gardiner (2466), Waveney and Oulton Broad SC

3rd Nigel Hufton and Ed Mcardle (2479), Frensham Pond SC

4th Dave Larkham and R Jenkins (2301), Barnt Green SC

5th Richard Dowsett and Rachel Jones (2331), Bristol Corinthian YC

6th Alan Krailing and Tom Alexander (2304), Waldringfield SC