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Larks, National 12s and Fireflys at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Tony Vagg 28 Jun 2012 18:53 BST 23-24 June 2012
Strong winds at Harwich for the N12 fleet © Tony Vagg

44 boats travelled to RHYC for the joint Lark, National 12 and Firefly Open meeting, attracting sailors from several local clubs including Waldringfield SC, Aldeburgh YC and Ardleigh SC, plus others from further afield including Keyhaven YC and Rock SC.

Saturday saw winds gusting Force 3 to 5 and the fleets enjoyed 3 races on both creative and challenging courses set by Race Officer Graham Ireland and his team.

The National 12 fleet were the most consistent with the top finishers the same in all three races, Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantine taking 1st followed by Jon Ibbotson and Charlotte Stewart, and Antony and Jo Gifford. There were some great performances by up-and-coming youngsters in this class including James Gifford and Sophie Storey.

The Firefly fleet enjoyed some very close racing although Stuart Hudson crewed by Amy Bowden emerged winners in all 3 races. Those hot on their heels included Ali Barker and Nicky Goff, Josh and Tristan Richardson and Mike and Debs Steele.

The Lark fleet was also highly competitive with Henry Mills and Oliver Jones, Charlie Roome and David Marlow amassing equal points at the end of the day, each registering a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place during the races.

Sunday saw strong winds with gusty squalls from the North-West but despite this the fleet braved two further races. There were numerous capsizes and a broken mast on a National 12 and many competitors came in after the first race, the conditions proving so challenging.

Stuart Hudson, this time crewed by Jane Hudson, and Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantine continued to dominate the Firefly and N12 classes. In the N12 class other boats sailed by John and Mandy Thornton, and Mike Hoyle and Adam Fuller revelled in the strong winds and got 2nd and 3rd places. In the Lark class, Charlie Roome and David Marlow continued their winning streak, with Helen Scott and Karen Alexander, and Steve Cumley and Lucy Evans each getting a 2nd place in two races.

Whilst the adults had their fun on the water, some 16 under 10 year olds held their own crab catching contest, managing a haul of 36 in 15 minutes. Samuel Brown and Rory Gifford scooped the day’s prize with a total of 11 crabs caught.

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