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Lark class at the Waldringfield Easter Egg

by Matt White & Dan Watson 22 Apr 2022 06:24 BST 17-18 April 2022

The Waldringfield Easter Egg open is always seen as a yardstick for the season ahead at the Suffolk club, with the numerous fleets all battling it out on the water. The Lark fleet is no exception, with the class's recent resurgence at the club and nationally, now in full swing, 15 boats took part over the two-days. And what a glorious weekend it was, both on and off the water.

The event also saw the continuation of the Lark Demo Boat tour!! This sees the newly built Synergy Marine Demo Lark being Used by any interested sailors who fancies a go in the Lark. So much positive feedback has already been received from the newly reformatted and modernised deck layout. Alex Page and Ethan Davey were the lucky guys to be sailing this great boat for the Easter Egg.

As the competitors arrived they were met with wall to wall sunshine and a 10 knots of the wind from the south-east on a flooding tide. Race officer Patrick Gifford set up a start at the end of the island with a Windward up at Gallions and a turning mark down at the boat yard.

Race 1 - So we had a split in the fleet, majority starting towards the committee boat tacked off to the Waldringfield side to get out of the tide, whilst some stood on from the Pynn end and chose to cross later.

Approaching the first cross Matt White & Marion Enkel were ahead of the early tackers of Samuel Bailey & Ollie Goodhead, Matt Stearn & Kate White and Glenn Enkel & Sara Cox-Olliff, however Harry Pynn & Gemma Cook stood on from the start and crossed much later tucking into second place. On the next lap Matt & Marion managed to hold onto the lead from Harry & Gemma, at the turning mark by the boat yard a shorten course was displayed Matt & Marion held on to take the win from Harry & Gemma followed by visitors Nigel Hufton & Pete Nicholson.

Race2 - Maintaining the same course and start area with Harry & Gemma taking an early lead chased by Chris Fish & Cathy Fish and Matt & Marion. Some tussling on the spinnaker legs, especially a short reach where cadets were pushing the fleethigh, gave the Fish's the opportunity to overtake Harry & Gemma with Matt & Marion maintaining the lead. No changes on the run with another shortened course at the turning mark led to a photo finish for second and third between Chris & Cathy and Harry & Gemma with travellers Samuel & Ollie securing fourth.

After a traditional WSC lunch in the sun it was a change of course with an extension of the turning mark towards Tips. With the tide turned the travelling sailings were now getting the hang of the river and the fleet spilt after the windward. Harry & Gemma made the reaching mark first followed by Chris & Cathy and a big pack. With the leaders going high after the club line the pack behind continue to close. At the turning mark Harry & Gemma closely followed by Chris & Cathy, who tacked immediately, Matt & Marion, followed by the latest Synergy Lark, helmed by Lark class builder Simon Cox with young son George crewing and returning sailors Emma Harris/Joe Hunt. The following lap had big changes with Chris & Cathy disappearing. At the final turning mark the race was on to the finish at red. Harry & Gemma went low and Matt & Marion took advantage of the tide eventually holding them off to the finish followed by Simon & George and Emma & Joe.

It's not all about sailing and it's not all about Easter, as many competitors sacrificed their family commitments to join in for a multi-fleet social gathering held at the local pub in the nearby town of Woodbridge. The Cherry Tree did a roaring trade with the dinner and drinks generously enjoyed by all.

The wind did not play ball on Easter Monday; there wasn't any wind, so RO postponed for 2 hours.

Race 4 - A triangle course was set across the river on a floodtide. Nigel Hufton/Pete Nicholson started towards the pin and found the breeze favourable and rounded it in first place followed by M&K and Chris & Cathy. Then the chasing pack rounded some of the boats but did not push up high enough out of the tide which meant Matt & Marion and Harry & Gemma sailed high out of the tide and rolled over the top.

At the gybe mark, Nigel & Pete had maintained his lead but Chris & Cathy had closed the gap. In the next lap the only place changes were in the following pack of Simon & George, Alex & Ethan, Samuel & Ollie and Harry & Gemma. So up the last beat to the finish Chris & Cathy had some breeze and managed to overhaul Harry & Gemma who finished second. Then it was Matt & Marion followed by Harry & Gemma.

Race 5 - Race officer had a change of course because the tide has started to ebb making it a starboard hand course.

At the start, more than half of the fleet started down the line towards the Pin in more tide. However, some decided to go to the Waldringfield side of the river which certainly paid because of the lift that you got on the right-hand bank. A familiar pattern started to occur with Matt & Marion rounding in the first place closely followed by Harry & Gemma, then Chris & Cathy third followed by Nigel & Pete in fourth. At the gybe mark Matt & Marion chose not to gybe straight away allowing Harry & Gemma inside. Harry & Gemma made it to the turning mark in first place followed by Matt & Marion followed by Chris & Cathy. At the windward mark, Matt & Marion had regained the lead having chased the windward mark travelling down river.

Matt & Marion chose to tack last out of the leading three which gave them the advantage because they pulled ahead of Harry & Gemma so the cat and mouse game played out right up until the shortened course which was a photo finish with Matt & Marion stealing the win at the last leg from Chris & Cathy.

A weekend of tight racing across the fleet, in some challenging conditions, for the race management and sailors alike resulting in local teams taking 1st and 2nd and travellers Nigel Hufton and Pete Nicholson taking third.

Overall it was an awesome event by all, with mounting expectation for the WSC Regatta and Cartoon opens to be held at Wadringfield later in the year. The Lark Class is also enjoying an upturn from the Covid restrictions with numbers exceeding those pre-pandemic. The Lark Nationals circuit focuses now onto the famous Rock open in Cornwall and the following Youth and National Championships.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st2471Matt WhiteMarion EnkelWaldringfield SC111‑314
2nd2520Harry PynnGemma CookWaldringfield SC232‑429
3rd2538Nigel HuftonPete NicholsonFrensham Pond SC3‑952414
4th2494Christopher FishCathy FishWaldringfield SC92‑121315
5th2516Matt StearnKate WhiteWaldringfield SC4‑865722
6th2540Alex PageEthan DaveyRoyal Harwich YC7576‑1025
7th2534Emma HarrisJoe HuntWaldringfield SC5104‑11827
8th2468Samuel BaileyOliver GoodheadSouth Staffordshire SC649‑10928
9th2502Steve ChattenEdd McArdleNetley SC107‑137630
10th2477Glenn EnkelSara Cox‑OlliffWaldringfield SC8689‑1131
11th2541Simon CoxGeorge Cox‑OlliffWaldringfield SC(DNF)DNF38532
12th2410Geoff SintonJackie McKellarWaldringfield SC111111‑121245
13th2531Daniel WATSONHannah BurtWaldringfield SC12(DNC)10131348
14th250Philippe KerampranYanis KerampranWaldringfield SC13(DNC)UFD15DNC60
15th2504   (DNC)DNCDNC141460

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