As mentioned in my post on the Lark Scow - The Laser of the 1900's, Thomas Day of The Rudder magazine encouraged the home-builders of the Lark to be inventive; there was no strong concept of one-design strictness at this genesis of small sailboat development. So builders strayed from the plans, building Larks with yachty looking counter sterns, with cuddy cabins, longer and shorter Larks and they gleefully sent reports of their modifications into The Rudder and Thomas Day published them.
In 1903, in The Netherlands, W. Beekhuis, owner of the boat building yard "Navis" te Loosdrecht, built a small Lark, only 3.6 meters long (11.8 feet). He built them from the time period 1903-1905 but it is unclear how many he actually produced.
The 1903 Beekhuis Mini-Lark
In 1919, A Van Gool, from the northern coastal district of Friesland, The Netherlands, built a Beekhuis type Lark with additional modifications. Having traveled to America and observed American sailboats, Van Gool borrowed the Star type keel and grafted it on the Beekhuis Lark scow hull. He made the hull longer, 4 meters (13.1 feet). He replaced the squat gaff rig with a taller gunter rig. This Larken Klasse would become very popular in Friesland and Twente during the 1920's and 1930's.
The Van Gool/Friesland Larken
In 1934, Romke Vries designed an even higher aspect, full battened gunter rig for the Larken Klasse. By the end of the 1930's the more modern O-Jolle singlehander centerboarder was cutting into the Larken Klasse numbers and, as the Finn dinghy and OK dinghy were introduced after World War II, the class continued to lose popularity. In 1965, the class made its last appearance at Sneekweek, seemingly destined to fade into obscurity.
That is until 2004 where a group of Larken Klasse enthusiasts banded together to start restoring the old Larkens and build new ones. In the short span of 11 years they have built the class up to where they are now getting a vibrant 20+ turnout at the major regattas. An amazing resurrection of a true classic!
The newer Larkens have adopted a more modern keel with a separate rudder. The lead ballast is 34 kg.
The present day Larken Klasse on a reach (Anyone know who the photographer is?)
A vintage photo of a happy Larken skipper.
At this years Sneekweek regatta, artist and small boat racing enthusiast, Jan Tekstra decided to jump into a different class each day and record his race on a GoPro. This is his Larken segment.
Acknowledgement: All of the history of the Larken Klasse was taken from this article by J.K Kuipers
As I was tossing this post around my brain, the German Segel Reporter beat me to it by about two weeks and brought out Michael Kunst's post on the Larken Klasse.
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