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Lark Inland Championship at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Stuart Hydon 28 Sep 2023 06:05 BST 23-24 September 2023

Following hot off the heels of the Weymouth and Waldringfield open meetings the the Lark enjoyed a long awaited return to Draycote Water for their Inland Champs on 23rd/24th, shared with the Scorpions.

The racing was based on a trapezoid course with the two fleets doing different "loops". The novelty caused confusion, mainly in Scorpion fleet, with some crews forgetting the basic principle of counting laps.

Saturday's racing was sailed in a relatively steady wind, building to F3/F4. There were a number of significant shifts favouring the right side of the beat. Race 1 and 2 saw Stuart and Nick Hydon squeeze ahead of National Champs Ed Bradburn and Holly Evans. Back into the fleet after a long absence was Emma Harris and Becky Priest managing third position in the first 2 races.

The final Saturday race saw a big shift in the wind making left favourable. First to spot this was Nigel Hufton and Katie Keith who opened up a tremendous lead up most of the way up the first beat. Darting from the right the Hydons went over to the left digging themselves out of a poor first half of the leg. By the windward mark Stuart and Nick had pulled through to lead ahead of Nigel and Katie. Ed and Holly eventually pulled up to steal 2nd from Nigel and Katie.

Having a joint open meeting is the opportunity for a joint social event, so with no opportunity for camping or social at the club, a few of the fleet join forces with the Scorps and found a great little local pub which did great food and had camping on site, so after hard days sailing, we headed to the pub to enjoy the evening and the rugby. Plus, and more importantly, reminiscing about the last time the larks Nationals where at Weymouth, and looking forward to forthcoming Winter Champs at Barnt Green and into next season. with next year's fixtures being announced soon.

On Sunday the wind started to build as predicted from a F3 to F5 during the day. The wind direction was from the South and provided some very unpredictable shifts. Jonny Coate and Harriet Temple led the way for the first one and a half laps. Both Ed/Holly and Stuart and Nick managed to ease past. On the final lap Stuart and Nick pulled out to the right on the run keeping in breeze. This enabled them to mount a challenge as they caught up Ed/Holly. With the help of a Scorpion Stuart and Nick over hauled Ed and Holly and maintained that to the finish.

The second race of the saw Ed and Holly lead, but after been out paced downwind lost the overlap to Stuart/Nick. After rounding the Leeward mark Ed and Holly lost the kite under the boat which was the end of the race for them. Jonny and Harriet held onto third.

In the final race what was becoming the normal order was establish until the final beat. This saw Nigel/Katie and Emma/Becky take full advantage of a massive wind shift. Rounding the top the course Nigel/Katie and Ed/Holly were reluctant to hoist the kite only to have Emma/Becky and Stuart/Nick buck the trend. Down on the run Stuart/Nick manged to pull up from fourth to second behind Ed. Nigel and Katie finished third.

Thanks go to Draycote Water for hosting a great event, to the Scorpion class for joining inland forces (!) and to the Lark committee for organising a fantastic social event on Saturday evening.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st2495Stuart HydonNick HydonShustoke / Dittisham11111‑25
2nd2526Ed BradburnHolly EvansSouth Staffs Sailing Club2222(RET)19
3rd2491Emma HarrisBecky PriestWaldringfield SC33‑542517
4th2538Nigel HuftonKatie KeithFrensham Pond SC(RET)4353318
5th2464Jonny CoateHarriet TempleSouth Staffs SC45634(DNC)22
6th2536Samuel BaileyFinn MorganSouth Staffordshire Sailing Club564‑75424
7th2539nigel scotttegwyn trickerrya6‑7766631
8th2481Andrew WardToby WardShustoke78887(RET)38

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