Sunday 12 June 2016 dawned wet and miserable on the Thames with little or no wind so not promising for the new member’s free sailing day. The rain drowned the first race but eased off during lunch. With the rain in retreat the wind braved the elements and puffed gently enough to encourage a few stalwarts on to the river.
The race stared about 1415 with a handful of boats on the start line and as they crossed all but one remained almost stationary. The Lark was helmed by Mike Hendra with an Aussie friend Rob “Stevo” Stevenson on the foredeck and she made the top mark almost before the remaining fleet had cleared the start line. The Lark managed the first circuit in 20 minutes heading in to the second round before any of the others were near the second mark.
The wind continued to be flukey but Mike and Stevo managed to find almost every puff and were coming up on the pack as they neared the finish for their first circuit. With the sounding of shortened course signal, all eyes were on the river as the Lark crept toward the line, sneaking over and taking the gun just before the first of the remaining pack managed to complete its first circuit.
It is no secret that Mike is not a crack dinghy helmsman and this was the first time he had taken the Lark on the river so to see it catching every breath and lapping the pack was a big surprise. Clearly Mike had a secret weapon aboard in the shape of “Stevo” his Aussie mate from the Mooloolaba Yacht Club Queensland. It was only a “fun race” but well done guys and thanks for the day’s most exciting performance.