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Salcombe Brewery 50th Lark Masters Preview

by Tim Fells 12 Oct 14:00 BST 14 October 2017
Lark flying during the Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series in 2013 © Karen Ballantine

The Lark Class is delighted to announce the sponsorship of the 2017 LARK Masters by Salcombe Brewery Co.

Based out of a brand new, energy efficient brewery in the beautiful South Hams, Salcombe Brewery Co have been producing hand crafted, refreshing, clean, hoppy ales for a number of years.

As part of the Lark class 50th anniversary celebrations, the Masters championship is being held at Salcombe Yacht Club on Saturday, October 14. With a long track record of high quality racing and legendary socials, the 50th Masters is a great opportunity for anyone associated with the class to take a trip down memory lane.

Salcombe Brewery Co prizes will be awarded to Apprentice, Masters and Grand Masters winners at a Black Tie Dinner and Dance after racing. Diners will be also able to enjoy Salcombe Brewery's finest ale in the welcoming embrace of Salcombe Yacht Club.

Entries have been flooding in and dinner bookings are nearing capacity.

Clearly, the combination of Salcombe Brewery Co and the Lark Class is a marriage made in heaven.

Runners & Riders

With 34 entries, including 16 helms and crews who have put their names on the Silver Lark Championship trophy, the competition will be hot. The only qualification to that statement is that for many this will be their first time in a Lark for a very long time. Hopefully it will be just like riding a bike.

Salcombe looks to be putting on its best face for the event. The wind is due to be a Force 3 from the best direction, blowing South-Westerly straight up the harbour. The tide is a very small Neap with high water in the middle of the first race. The Sun is due to make a showing with temperatures pushing 20 degrees. Altogether it could not get any better.

With the fleet containing three categories; Apprentice (35-49), Master (50-59) and Grand Master (60+), there will be tough competition throughout the fleet.

Within the Apprentice category it looks like a battle between the girls. Superfast Sarah Richards and Ruth Johnson will be taking on the local knowledge of Fran Gifford and James Ward. Jason Andrews, who has been known to be confused for a girl, will be applying his considerable talents to get his heavyweight pairing with Zeb Elliott into the chocolates.

The Masters category is jam packed with talent and Championship winners. Much is expected from Tim Fells who won Salcombe Merlin Week this year and has been reunited with his three time Lark Champion crew Jerry Eplett. However, he will have two other three time Champions to contend with. John and Vicki Brickwood are past Masters champions and Mark and Liz Rushall have more tactical knowledge than the rest of the fleet put together.

Also vying for the Masters category will be ex-Masters winner and the only person to win the Championships as helm and crew, Chris Allen sailing with Ally Hall. His Championship crew Nigel Hufton, still at the front of Lark fleet with crew Matt Wood will be a strong contender as will recently crowned RS300 Champion and past Lark Champ Steve Bolland sailing with the talented Chris Whitehouse.

The Grand Masters will be a sight to behold. Fueled up with Sanatogen and with their Shop-Mobility scooters lined up in the dinghy park, these white-haired warriors are keen to show the youngsters how it should be done.

Top contender must be Bob Suggitt, 1976 Champion and recent winner of the Banbury Solo Open. He has signed up current Lark Champion Stu Hydon to crew in his mega-quick ship and we have a feeling the 'Silver Wizard' has one more title up his sleeve.

Local hot shot Will Henderson has thrown his hat in the ring with wife Mandy and will be hard to beat around a track he knows so well. Also, from the front end of the local RS400 fleet, John and Anne McLaren will be having an emotional reunion with the class which John's father Ian founded back in 1967.

Nick Haigh will be taking time out from the front end of the Solent big boat world and special mention should also go to Dr Paul Raby who will be stepping back into a Lark for the first time since he won the Championships back in 1985.

Altogether, the scene is set for a big fun day out on the water followed by an even bigger night of socializing (with maybe a bit of singing thrown in). Hopefully no nudity.