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Gul B14 Inland Championship at Datchet Water Sailing Club

by Mark Barnes on 4 Oct 2016 1-2 October 2016

The B14 Flying Circus headed to Datchet for the last event in the Gul 2016 TT series. The weekend was to be more about ghosting round the course rather than flying, with lots of rain and some sun on Saturday, which did for one of the B14s on the way to the event with trailer light socket failure but 17 B14s still made the journey. Sunday started with mist and eventual sun.

Up for grabs, was the GUL TT series overall, GUL B14 Inlands and the top prize from GUL, a weekend at the Watergate Hotel ( in Watergate Bay with surfing or SUP lesson for the winning team. So all eyes were on the prizes as well as the racing.

Both days were to be very close with real snakes and ladders. Many teams were to have their turn at the front during Saturday, but the holes (or should we say snakes and ladders) led to several changes in the lead. As the rain/clouds came through, some gusts bounced off the surface with little warning. The one capsize occurred on a leeward mark rounding whist dropping the kite to GBR 724 (Steve Hollingsworth/Elliot Holman) whilst in the lead.

A couple of new teams turned up for their first event prior to the assault on the 2017 series. A couple of guest helms (Jasper Barnham (Merlins/2000s) and Ian Horlock (Supernova)) had a run out and had some good results as well. All the way through the fleet there was good competition to be had with a right ding dong over the 4 races at the front between the top 4 with little quarter given or taken.

On the day, Team Harken (Nick Craig/Toby Lewis) pulled many rabbits out of the hat to lead overnight from Blue Badge (Mike Bees/Ferrett) Team Gul / North Sails (Mark Barnes/Char Jones) equal second. What could they do the following day to reverse fortunes. Could Team Gul / North Sails crack the settings on the Dacron jib they were running for the weekend or Blue Badge find its parking bay on the start line.

Saturday evening the fleet disappeared off to Spices for dinner in Datchet village, whilst Nick headed off to go line dancing at a village get together. Unfortunately there is no footage as we'd all love to have seen it.

Sunday dawned and we were greeted by mist and fickle wind. After bacon butties, coffee/tea, the sun did its business, a very patchy light breeze kicked in. The day's star team was to be Team Ullman (Kathy Sherrett/Alex Horlock) achieving 4, 3, 2, 3 so dragging them close to the podium as both Blue Badge and Team Gul / North Sails had an indifferent day finding to many holes and headers, and NA Another Asbo (Crispin Taylor/Guy Harrell) sailing round the front 6 boats on one run and winning a race.

Team Harken, Nick was still stepping to the right then left and doing a turn, but the team were still pulling rabbits out of the hat and creeping through in stealth mode. Must be all that time sailing on a pond called Frensham Pond in his youth. So at the end of the day, Team Harken won out from Team Gul / North Sails and Blue Badge just holding on to beat Team Ullman.

Blue Badge won the TT Series from Team Gul / North Sails and Donkey (Mark Watts/Chris Bishop).

Great prizes and tokens from Gul were spread out through the fleet with the youth getting the merit prizes. Gul B14 Inlands Tin rig went to GBR 707 (Ian Horlock/Amir Shamuddin).

Then came the big prize. Each team that attended an event got one entry for every event they attended. This was the one we all wanted to win. So the bag was opened and out came one entry. The team in question had only done 2 TT series events. Team Customised Composites (Carl Raynes/Guy Raynes) were the winners of the biggest rabbit pulled out of the hat all weekend.

The club ran a great event on the water with quick turnarounds and good courses in very difficult conditions where we saw big wind shifts and pressure changes. Off the water early breakfasts were greatly appreciated and the bar on arrival ashore.

The next events will be the Seavolution Winter Pursuit Series, with some great prizes, consists of 4 events over the winter. Pre-event indications are that attendances should be good. We'll see all there.

  • Draycote Dash Draycote SC 19-20 November 2016
  • Datchet Flyer DWSC 10-11 December 2016
  • Grafham Grand Prix GWSC 2 January 2017
  • Starcross Steamer Starcross SC 5 February 2017
GUL B14 TT Series 2017 is now online on the B14 Facebook page B14 Sailors and B14 website,

GUL B14 Inlands Results:

1. Team Harken – Nick Craig/Toby Lewis – Frensham Pond SC
2. Team Gul / North Sails – Mark Barnes/Charlotte Jones – Whitstable YC/Exe SC
3. Blue Badge - Mike Bees/Ferrett – Brightlingsea SC
4. Team Ullman – Kathy Sherrett/Alex Horlock – Weston SC
5. B14 GBR 775 – Jasper Barnham/Johnny Ratcliffe – Snettisham Beach SC

GUL B14 TT Series:

1. Blue Badge – Mike Bess/Ferrett – Brightlingsea SC
2. Team Gul / North Sails – Mark Barnes/Char Jones – Whitstable YC/Exe SC
3. Donkey – Mark Watts/Chris Bishop – Weston SC/Bristol Corithian SC

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