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Lark National Championship at Sidmouth Sailing Club - Overall

by Chris White & Nigel Hufton 22 Aug 17:00 BST 18-21 August 2018

Following another "legendary" fancy dress party, the sailors awoke to sore heads – but no wind. Racing was initially postponed, but with the wind averaging 3mph by late morning – and very little gradient wind around - the decision was made to cancel the final two races of the championship. This meant Chris & Nicola White were crowned as 2018 Lark National Champions.

Over the six races sailed, competitors experienced predominantly light to medium winds. The muggy, overcast conditions led to the wind varying in direction and pressure throughout, challenging the excellent PRO John Keast. Three races were lost due to lack of wind and no gate starts were used for the first time in over 35 years. It meant a range of sea states, with the waves often 'bigger than the wind' and from the 'wrong' direction.

Given this changeability, Chris & Nic sailed a remarkably consistent championship throughout, never lower than second and winning two races – which could have been four, but for navigational errors when in the lead - to win on 8 points. They also took the trophy for first married couple.

Chris commented, "It was a great event and Sidmouth were excellent hosts. We experienced big wind shifts in some of the races. This made the tactics challenging, but the racing always stayed close throughout the fleet".

While worthy winners, they didn't have it all their own way. Nigel Hufton & Matt Wood finished second and won race 3, finishing on 13 points, meaning Nigel regained the Haigh Masters' prize.

As Nigel said, "These were tricky wind conditions, almost like being inland. We got most things right, but sailing is about who makes the least mistakes. Chris and Nic sailed fast and intelligently - and barely put a foot wrong".

Ex-champion Dougal Scott and wife Helen finished a strong third overall, winning two races and ending up just 1 point behind Hufton and Wood.

Winners of the Silver fleet were Dave Young – back in a Lark after 10 years and loving it – with crew Mya Peterson.

Winners of the bronze fleet were local Scorpion sailors Chris & David Clapp, who jumped into a borrowed boat and finished 9th, also taking the best newcomers trophy. A great achievement for a father and son pairing who had not sailed a Lark before.

James Goss [this year crewed by Kamila Czartalomna] won best improver for coming 4th, a rise of 8 places.

South Staffs Sailing Club took the Team Trophy with their top boats placing 1st and 4th overall. This continues a series of major championship wins for the club this year.

Youth prize went to Kamila Czartalomna in her first Nationals as a crew. The evergreen Chris Ellis and Judith Young picked up the prize for oldest combined age of boat and crew.

Winning lady helm was ex-champion Emma Harris crewed by Becky Priest, who sailed a consistent championship.

Special thanks must go to Sidmouth Sailing Club for hosting an excellent national championship. From the great race management of John Keast and the team, to the brilliant catering, headed up by Liz White. Beach master Simon White did an excellent job ensuring that the launching and recovery went smoothly.

Overall, the 2018 Sidmouth Lark Nationals provided close, exciting racing and great socials.

The Larks have some great, innovative plans for 2019, including a National Championship in late-May at Rock, the spiritual home of the Larks. This has already generated a lot of interest from current and returning Lark sailors, plus those from other classes who want to sharpen their race skills for other championships. This family-friendly format continues with a Lark start at the Salcombe Yacht Club regatta in August. Later in the year there will be a Masters, which in the past has seen many top sailors attending.

Keep your eyes open for more information, as the 2019 season is shaping up to one not to miss.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Lark nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Smartie Pants253Chris WhiteNicola WhiteSouth Staffs S. C.-2121228
2Tiger Too2538Nigel HuftonMatt WoodFrensham Pond S. C.4212-9413
3Muppet2484Dougal ScottHelen ScottRock S. C.1345-10114
4James Goss2529James GossKamila CzartolomnaSouth Staffs S. C.34533-1118
5Mozzy2521Simon CoxAnna NankervisWaldringfield S. C/ Felixstowe Ferry S.65-945323
6Nantucket Sleighride2508Dave YoungMya PetersonSouth Staffs S. C.7-103101930
7Bomber2534Emma HarrisBecky PriestR. Y. A.578-94630
8Weeble2502Steve ChattenKirsty Phipps / Helen ChattenNetley S. C.866811-1539
9Zebidee2472Chris ClappDavid ClappSidmouth S. C.9-141466742
10Problem Child2522Chris BiglinBen BiglinShustoke S. C.1097147(DNS)47
11Windchaser2530Chris EllisJudith YoungFrensham Pond S. C.141311712-1657
12Black Velvet2537Neil FirthSue FirthBanbury S. C.121210-13131057
13Lucky Pants2442Kate MerrittKaren AlexanderSouth Staffs S. C.11111211-151459
14Dylan2539Nigel Scott R. Y. A.16816(DNF)16561
15Polar Bear2531Daniel WatsonSofia AbrahamsWaldringfield S. C.15(DNS)131281361
16Slow Transit2498Simon KennyNicole KennyWest Kirby S. C.13-151515141269

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