A C-Lark (background)
|Draft||4 ft 9 in (1.45 m)|
|Hull weight||275 lb (125 kg)|
|LOA||14 ft (4.3 m)|
|Beam||5 ft 9.5 in (1.765 m)|
|Mast Length||22 ft 0 in (6.71 m)|
|Upwind Sail Area||133 sq ft (12.4 m2)|
The C-Lark 14 is a small and fast racing dinghy designed and first produced in the mid-1960s. They were manufactured by the Clark Boat Company of Seattle (the same company that produced the popular San Juan sailboats) and were meant to be Bob Clark's version of the international 14.
C-Larks look like a Thistle sailboat, only they are three feet shorter and have a closed instead of an open bow. They are Sloop-rigged with a jib and a mainsail and can fly a spinnaker. They are very versatile boats and can be sailed by one person, or can fit up to four people in the large open cockpit. The pivoting aluminum centerboard draws about four and a half feet of water when locked in the down position, with a kick up rudder C-Larks are very easy boats to sail on and off of a beach.
Aside from making excellent training boats C-Larks can perform and keep up with many modern race dinghies. The C-Lark and Laser Radial share a nearly identical rating according to their Portsmouth handicap. A C-Lark carries more sail area (about 130 square feet) than other boats of similar size like a Snipe or a Flying Junior. In 15 knots of air they will begin to plane quite easily (if sailed properly) reaching speeds of 10+ knots in heavy air, and in light wind the plumb bow and sleek lines help the boat glide effortlessly across the water. C-Larks are very sea worthy little boats and can sail with little discomfort in 25 knots (46 km/h) of breeze by two people of average size hiked out under the boat's hiking straps. In a stiff breeze these are very fast and exciting little boats. In their heyday there were not many small boats that were faster than a C-Lark. One weakness is that they do have a tendency to turtle rather quickly once capsized, yet the 300 pound boat can be popped back up relatively easily by an average size skipper, just be prepared for a lot of bailing since the open cockpit design holds a lot of water.
C-Larks were once a very competitive one-design class raced across the country, but now many of the boats have fallen into disrepair, with most of the surviving ones concentrated in the Pacific Northwest. There are active racing fleets at the Peninsula Sailing Club (near Poulsbo, Washington) and on Lake Chelan in Washington as well. Despite their age these boats are still a lot of fun and can usually be found for under $1500. Their dimensions and weight make them easy to trailer, even behind a small car, and easy to enjoy in a variety of ways.