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Zhik 2023 December - LEADERBOARD

Lark Open at Banbury Sailing Club

by Stuart Allen 22 Jun 06:36 BST 18 June 2023

Banbury Sailing Club welcomed visiting Lark sailors and home boats for a four race series to battle it out for the Flynn Salver; first won by Bob Suggitt in 1973, with other notable names taking honours over the years.

It was not until 2017 that crews names were added to the list of winners, and today's racing was, as always, going to come down to a team effort. A gentle force 2 was generally blowing from one direction at one end of the lake, and another completely different direction half way down the pond. However, Race Officer Ivor Smith-Davenport managed to set good start lines and great courses with plenty of gybing involved.

As for the racing, the Nationals winning crew of the year, Holly Evans, South Staffs SC, gybed with prowess and called the big shots, which helped her helm, Samuel Bailey (SSSC) manage the shifts well, taking three bullets to win the Flynn Salver and adding both names to the trophy. Behind, other teams fought hard for the next podium spots.

Visiting yachtsman Garry Packer, Bristol Corinthian YC, with crew Finley Kirkby (an upcoming Topper helm, and only his third time in a Lark) mixed it up well throughout the series and, with fast starts, finding shifts that no one else found (race two... how did they do that on the second beat?), they had an accomplished race series.

Garry & Finley fought hard with the Castles (Sarah & Graeme, BSC/Castaways) and other local sailors, Pat Kuenzler, missing her armchair in the Merlin, with regular helm Tim Bury in their beautifully renovated wooden decked boat (Vortex 1738). Sarah, a tactical genius, got her helm into good starting spots and won most of the pin ends of the line. Tim, being used to his Merlin, tried not to take too many steps in each tack and managed to stay within the confines of the lovely wooden deck.

Sue Firth (BSC), not using her trusted twin poles, instead trialling a longer (single) spinnaker pole, held the kite well on tight reaches to gain height and speed; perhaps the longer pole does have some credibility. Sue's helm, husband Neil, showed his guile and proved again that close quarter racing is right up his street.

Julia Allen (BSC) did more swift gybes than expected and roll tacked with great skill to overcome the Firth's challenges, whilst keeping helm & husband Stuart in the mix for podium places.

Kimmie Dooner (SSSC) made sure her team, with helm Tony Hotchkiss, was also in the mix, calling the starts well and making sure Tony knew about all the shifts coming down the pond.

In the end, racing for second and third spot came down to getting on the right side of a few shifts; Julia & Stuart fought hard and took three second places, just in front of Sue & Neil in third, with Kimmie and Tony just being pipped to the podium.

The end of race three was marked with a bolt of lightning and rolling thunder. The subsequent abandonment flag put paid to race four and enabled early tea and cakes; a good call from Ivor as the rain commenced and the wind fell away to nothing. Thanks to Ivor and his whole team for providing great racing and the galley team who kept everyone really well fed.

Congratulations to Samuel & Holly for a masterclass in pond sailing and adding their names to the prestigious Flynn Salver.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameClubHelmCrewR1R2R3Pts
12508KautooSouth Staffs SCSamuel BaileyHolly Evans‑1112
22509Fluffy ThwartsBanbury SCStuart AllenJulia Allen‑2224
32199Pink ChampagneBanbury SCNeil FirthSue Firth‑4336
42532JezabelSouth Staffs SCTony HotchkissKimmie Dooner3‑447
52222ToomaiBanbury SCGraeme CastleSarah Castle‑55510
62470TigerBristol Corinthian YCGarry PackerFinley Kirkby‑66612
71738VortexBanbury SCTim BuryPat Kuenzler77(RET)14

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