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Lark Open at South Staffordshire Sailing Club

by Jonny Coate 14 Apr 15:16 BST 9 April 2022

The season opener for the Lark class in 2022 was the first of a two-day "double header" at South Staffs SC and Barnt Green SC. A quality fleet of 16 boats assembled at SSSC on the chilly Saturday morning, eagerly waiting for the forecast light breeze to fill in. OOD James Croxford wasted no time in getting us on the water for the first race at 1130.

Race one got away with a clean start in a light Easterly breeze, with a short and shifty beat to the first mark. Jonny Coate and Kate Phillips picked up some private breeze on the right which also lifted them to mark on starboard to round in the lead. The battles for places behind allowed Jonny and Kate to sail conservatively and hold their lead for the rest of the race, however a late challenge from Chris White and Ollie Goodhead on the last lap kept them on their toes right to the finish. Samuel Bailey and Finn Morgan took third to claim 1-2-3 for South Staffs.

After a break for lunch in the clubhouse the fleet got back on the water for two back-to-back races in the afternoon. Conditions hadn't changed much since the morning, so it was to be another tricky light and shifty race. A heavy pin end bias at the start of race two set up a port tack drag race to the first mark. Stuart and Nick Hydon, visiting from Shustoke SC, nailed the start and led the fleet to the first mark, a lead which they would go on to extend and take an impressive race two win. Chris and Ollie took a comfortable second place, with Jonny and Kate again finding themselves in a favourable private breeze which allowed them to recover from a poor start and take third place in race two.

Going into the final race it was all to play for, with any one of the top four boats in a position to take the win. Jonny and Kate were first to rule themselves out with another butchered start, so could only look on as the race played out ahead of them. Matt White and Marion Enkel put in a masterful performance to take the race win, with Samuel and Finn in second place. A battle for third place between Chris and Ollie and Stuart and Nick would prove critical to the final outcome. The two boats swapped places a couple of times but ultimately Stuart and nick just pipped Chris and Ollie right on the finish line to seal the overall win. The final scores show just how close it was in the end with all of the top three boats tied on 4 points, Jonny and Kate taking second with Chris and Ollie in third when the tie breaker was applied. Samuel and Finn just missed out on the top three with 5 points, followed closely by Matt and Marion with 6.

In the evening most of the fleet enjoyed a takeaway curry and drinks at the clubhouse. Round two of the "double header" would take place the following day down the road at Barnt Green SC.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3Pts
1st2495Stuart HydonNick Hydon‑4134
2nd2464Jonny CoateKate Phillips13‑64
3rd2533Chris WhiteOllie Goodhead22‑44
4th2468Samuel BaileyFinlay Morgan3‑625
5th2471Matt WhiteMarion Enkel‑9516
6th2529James GossEmma Mackey‑6459
7th2523Ed BradburnLaura Burch57(OCS)12
8th2509Stuart AllenJulia Allen‑118715
9th2496Steve CumleyEluned Stewart7‑10916
10th2489Keith MacaulayClare Waymont‑129817
11th2537Neil FirthSue Firth8‑141119
12th2541Simon CoxGeorge Cox‑Olliff1011‑1321
13th2532Tony HotchkissKimmy Dooner‑13121022
14th2539Nigel ScottVickie Burgess15‑161227
15th2524Mike OwenLawrence Hartness‑14131427
16th2481Andrew WardToby Ward‑16151530

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