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Lark u25 Competition winners reflect on the 2022 Musto Lark Nationals

by Alice Davis 8 Jun 2022 15:06 BST 1-4 June 2022

Following the 2022 Musto Lark National Championships at Pentewan Sands SC, Alice Davis is in reflective mode, providing her thoughts on the Lark Class and the event after successfully gaining her place at the champs by winning the Lark Class u25 Nationals Competition...

This half term I sailed the Lark for the first time at the nationals in Pentewan with Bettine Harris, following our competition win in which the Lark Class generously gave us the use of the Demo Boat, free accommodation and entry to the event. After arriving on Tuesday night, we were up early to sort out the great new class boat that we would be using for the next 4 days, and have a bacon roll from the lovely team behind the galley at the club! After a bit of waiting on shore due to a lack of wind, we launched off the beach and did two races that day in light conditions. The first race was not off to a great start, after slightly overestimating the steering ability on the Lark, and having to do a 720 on the start line, however we caught up again whilst trying to figure out the handling of the boat. The second race was a slight improvement from the last in the light airs. After just two races, we were in early, giving us lots of time in the afternoon to do what we wanted! In the evening, there was a small social with food served by the club.

It was soon recognised that the Lark, in comparison to the 420, is surprisingly different. The boat handling is different as it is relatively stable in comparison to the 420. Pointing high is definitely a no go, as we were told by basically everyone we talked to in the fleet!

The next day had similar winds to the Wednesday, and we got three great races in, with a couple of gate starts which I have only ever done in the 200s! Towards the end of the day it felt like we were just about starting to get to grips with the boat. The evening was again a great social evening and the class was so welcoming to me and Bea - we felt like we fit right in.

The third day dawned with a small breeze which we managed to sail one race in. After forgetting to pull our outhaul on, we sailed a great race, coming 3rd. Maybe it was the lack of outhaul that did it? We felt like we were starting to really get the hang of the great boat, but unfortunately after that race, the breeze shut off and became very shifty, so we sailed back in and waited ashore for a couple of hours before they called off racing for the day, which was the right call, but it was a shame as the weather was not looking promising for the next day (big breeze and waves). In the evening there was a barbecue and fancy dress dynamic duos, for which Bea and I dressed up in our slightly hurriedly prepared beans on toast outfits. It was a great evening with lovely food and drinks.

As predicted, the last day was called off, due to the dangerous sea state that would have prevented us from launching off the beach. However the race team made the call to abandon the days racing nice and early, which prevented a lot of waiting around. In the morning the prize giving was held and then it was time for a long journey home.

I would like to thank the Lark class for this great opportunity that myself and Bea have been given. It was a really good week and I very much enjoyed meeting a new group of people and sailing a slightly different boat than usual!

The social side of the event was very enjoyable, as everyone was really welcoming and inclusive, which was nice due to the big age difference between sailors.

The skill level across the fleet was pretty high; there are definitely some very good and experienced sailors in the Lark class who make it pretty difficult to reach the front of the fleet if you make one mistake!

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