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Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

Lark Midlands Double Header event at Shustoke Sailing Club

by Zara Turtle 14 May 14:34 BST 12 May 2024

This was the second day of the Lark Midlands Double Header event, the first of which was hosted by Banbury Sailing Club the day before. Despite the original forecast of thundery showers it was a lovely summer's day with high temperatures and low winds. Proper shorts and T-shirt weather, and not forgetting the sunglasses - to protect the eyes from the glare of any white legs getting an airing for the first time this year!

Three visiting boats joined the four club boats on the water for some very tight racing - of course remembering it's the quality of the fleet, not quantity!

The first race of the day was set over a long course covering the whole area of the lake, to give the visitors a real appreciation of the home club's water. Everyone got away cleanly at the start, it paid to go up the right side of the course on the first beat; with the Hydon and Saunders/Frankton teams using their local knowledge to their advantage to round the windward mark in first and second place respectively.

Unfortunately for the Hydons the wind filled in from behind on the run allowing Team Bradburn/Evans to slip past and keep this lead to the finish. In the middle of the fleet Team Coate/Phillips managed to pull through and take third on the last lap. The wind was fairly light throughout the race before completely dying away at the end - cue a welcome lunch break!

Fortunately the wind filled in from a more southerly direction over lunch resulting in a course change before the next two races were held back to back in the afternoon. Team Bradburn/Evans made it to the windward mark first this time, closely followed by Team Hydon. The rest of the fleet were left to manoeuvre themselves through some big headers to enable them to make the mark. Team Hawley rounded in third followed by Team Saunders/Frankton who managed to pull past them on the next reach.

It's worth mentioning now that Ffion Hawley (aged 10) is fairly new to the Lark travellers circuit and this open was her first rodeo at flying the spinnaker throughout the course, gybes and all! She did brilliantly well all day and I am sure her dad is very proud!

At the front of the fleet Team Hydon managed to close the gap to just a couple of boat lengths at the end but Team Bradburn/Evans retained first place, winning them the overall event. Team Coate/Phillips pulled back through the fleet into third position and had a good battle with Team Saunders/Frankton over the last lap, swapping places a few times!

However it was Team Coate/Phillips who managed take the inside line round the last mark, giving them third place by half a boat length. There was some hope that since the father of Zara Frankton was OOD he might not have seen this half boat length advantage... but no family bias was shown here!

The final race saw Team Cuxson/Briscoe shoot out of the line at the port end on what looked like to be a real flyer, unfortunately for them the magic shift never materialised, however this was their best race of the day coming in fifth. It was good to see them teaming up again in a double hander (they're usually found in Solos) after their debut last season at the Miracle open. I hear one of them may be buying a Merlin... so maybe they can sail the Merlin open together next!

It was Team Hydon who made it to the windward mark first this time, comfortably in front and retaining this lead to the end. Team Bradburn/Evans followed on with no threat from behind. Team Coate/Phillips got stuck in a hole on the final run allowing Team Saunders/Frankton a glimmer of hope as they levelled up. But Team Coate/Phillips pulled away again on the next beat taking third place in the race and overall.

Well done to everyone who took part, and especially to the prize winners:
First - Ed Bradburn and Holly Evans
Second - Stuart and Nick Hydon
Third - Jonny Coate and Kate Phillips
First Junior - Ffion Hawley

Big thanks to the race team and rescue crews, galley, Andy Ward for organising the event, and Paul Collins for the lovely photos!

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st 2526Ed BradburnHolly EvansSouth Staffs SC11‑22
2ndWell Dodgy2495Stuart HydonNick HydonShustoke SC‑2213
3rd 2464Jonny CoateKate PhillipsSouth Staffs SC‑3336
4thAriadne2468Olly SaundersZara FranktonShustoke SC‑4448
5th 2442Steve HawleyFfion HawleyBartley SC55‑610
6thThe Stig2488Jamie CuxsonCole BriscoeShustoke SC‑66511
7thThin Blue Line2481Andy WardToby WardShustoke SC‑77714

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