Please select your home edition
Gul 2017 Boots 728x90

Gul B14 Nationals 2017 Form Guide

by Mark Barnes on 1 Aug 3-6 August 2017
B14 and 505 Open at Whitstable © Nick Champion /

August the 3rd will see the B14 Flying Circus descend on Whitstable Yacht Club for the 4 day National Championships. The runners and riders this year are not so clear cut as it looks like it will be a game of two halves. Windy on Thursday, less windy on Friday and then we switch into the lighter teams domain. So it looks like it may not be over till the fat lady sings out loud on Sunday afternoon.

Entries suggest a strong competition, with resumption of the Craig/Lewis and Barnes/Jones battle from last year where a collision (not involving Craig/Lewis) on day two decided the outcome of the championships.

So here we go then, pick your stead and place your bets:

  • 796 – Nick Craig & Toby (Tobytastic) Lewis (Harken)

    Current National Champions, having just won the OK Worlds (Nick) and Wilson Trophy (Tobs), will these two be on form. Will Nick survive the Harbour Day food fest on Saturday, plus children on tow, it could be a full on weekend. With the mixed conditions predicted for the event, they will have it all to deal with. Good for the podium. Running North Sails.

    Odds: 7/4 (Joint Fav)

  • 795 – Mark Barnes & Charlotte Jones (Team Gul / North Sails)

    Builder/supplier of the B14 runners up last year with little to chose between them and Harken, it could go to the wire for a podium place. This year they have been one of the two form teams, not finishing outside the top 2 since the Worlds last year. Will Char out muscle the boys on the hoists and drops? Having been on her Hen party last weekend, she'll be keen to make sure that she beats Team Horlock (Bo Iain Horlock). Will Barnsie be distracted running the event and spares pit lane ashore. Record says, if the form carries on from Starcross they will be there at the end. Running North Sails.

    Odds: 7/4 (Joint Fav)

  • 797 – Mark Watts & Chris Bishop (English Braids/Griptec)

    Since getting their new ship in March, they have pushed the button and been jousting at events with Team GUL/North Sails. The big breeze will suit them, but the lighter it gets, the more they will have the rear view mirrors keeping an eye on the lightweights. Knowing they enjoy the socials and food, the Friday night party or live gig and foody fest on Saturday may be their undoing if it goes really light. Another podium favourite. Running P&B/North Sails.

    Odds: 7/2

  • 791 – Jasper Barnham & Oli Wells (Team P&B)

    New team to the fleet this year, but both multiple champions, they have shown some great speed at times. With more tweaks to their rig looking for that elusive edge on the North Sails powered B14s. Breeze should favour them. Tactically astute, especially in the light, they may just have a set of conditions that fall into place, and as they refine their setup their other strengths may come into play. Will they be working their way through the scenarios with a few beer glasses. Should be one to watch.

    Odds: 7/1

  • 786 – Gerry Fermor Brown & Leaky (Torq)

    This team have been in France last week refining their skills and doing a lot of dancing to the wind gods to turn off the fan. Back to full fitness after a number of bike accidents, Leaky should be on the money, and being the ring master on games night, might be one for sorting a few of the teams ahead of them after the big wind day(s). Tricky one to call, but the last two days will see them in the mix. So if all is good they should be chasing down and occasionally beating the favoured teams. Running North Sails/Urwin (AUS).

    Odds: 12/1

  • 772 - Kathy Sherratt (Watts) & Josh Wilce (Trunky)

    Kathy has shown on occasion some very quick speed. A lot seems to be placed on who is in the front and how the team jells. A new team for the event, but with Josh having been helming GBR 788 Seavolution last year to great effect, they will be ones to watch further into the event. Known for their port end flyers, they will be full on. Running Ullman Sails.

    Odds: 15/1

  • 762 - Crispin (Crispy) Taylor & Guy (Gi) Harrell (ASBO)

    These guys are quick across the range but have a habit of checking the condition of their daggerboard when it is breezy. Must be something to do with sailing at Starcross SC where it is a bit shallow. They will be trawling the food fest on Saturday after racing. So Sunday could be fun. Jack Sparrow comes to mind. You think they have disappeared and then they pop up again. So ones to keep an eye on. Running P&B Sails.

    Odds: 20/1

  • 784 - Stephen Barnes & Simon Reynolds (Team NeilPryde)

    They will be jumping with joy about the conditions on the first two days if it comes in on prediction and we race. May struggle a bit on the latter days as it gets lighter. Local knowledge and tactics in the front may pull a few jokers over the series and get them a repeat of their 3rd in one race at last year's Worlds. Could be ones to keep an eye on. Running North Sails.

    Odds: 20/1

  • 770 - Simon Hadley & Nikki Hadley (Harken 2)

    Another local team with history of putting some good results together. With Nikki injured till recently, Simon has been putting in some impressive results in sailing his Laser. These guys if they survive big Thursday, could be a ticket to watch and have good odds on in the back half of the event. Running North Sails/Urwin (AUS).

    Odds: 20/1

Classic Fleet (Non-Seavolution/Ovington Hull)

  • 728 - Alex Horlock/Iain Horlock (Team Horlock)

    Though sailing a Rondar with alloy rig, these two, having finished 1st and 2nd at this year's Supernova Nationals, should be quick in the breeze. Have they been out practising and have they survived the Stag weekend in one piece? They should be quick and ones to watch in the breeze, but may struggle in the lighter stuff. One of the favourites for the Classic Nationals. Could upset the order in the breeze as well. Running North Sails.

    Odds: 22/1

  • 724 - Steve Hollingsworth/Al Storer (Cool Beans)

    Both experienced B14 sailors, but not together. Difficult one to call, but a hedge that they will be quick at times and going by last year's Nationals, will be going to the wire with Team Horlock to see wins the Classic Series. Running North Sails.

    Odds: 22/1

There will be a number of teams forced to sit this one out (B14 sailors should be banned from extreme cycling) with the most high profile 771 Blue Badge Mike Bees (Beezer)/Martin Worth (Ferrett) due to Mike's ongoing knee issue which is not bike related.

Again this year, the class is well supported by Gul and there are some great bits and prizes to be had for the teams that attend the Nationals this year.

There will be reports daily on, and Facebook "B14 Sailors".

Related Articles

Gul B14 TT at Brightlingsea
As part of Skiff Fest The B14 fleet returned to Brightlingsea SC, after a while off the B14 TT circuit. As part of Horizon Construction Brightlingsea Skiff Fest, the prediction was for a weekend of two halves. Posted on 12 Oct
Gul B14 Nationals at Whitstable overall
Nick Craig & Toby Lewis leave it late Day 4 of the Gul B14 nationals, only 4 of 10 races had been sailed, With a maximum of only 4 races on the day, the championships effectively started again with only one discard available. Posted on 8 Aug
Gul B14 Nationals at Whitstable day 3
Snoozes, squalls and shifts During the 6 hr wait for the breeze to settle, the B14 'athletes' spent the day limbering up with ice creams, bacon rolls and practicing how to rig with the finest athletes taking time out for several power snoozes... Posted on 6 Aug
Gul B14 Nationals at Whitstable day 2
Out on the water after a day of sightseeing With day one being a day of sightseeing and sampling the delights of Whitstable as the wind screamed down the beach it was with great anticipation that the fleet woke for day 2. Posted on 4 Aug
Gul B14 TT at Eastbourne Sovereign
I don't know how some people sleep at night Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club welcomed us for the fifth TT of the year. The B14 fleet included locals Christian and Daniella and long distance travellers Jasper and Oil from King's Lynn. Posted on 10 Jul
Gul B14 TT Series at Starcross
Wall-to-wall sunshine on the River Exe The B14 Flying Circus headed back down SW for a shoot-out on the River Exe at Starcross. The big question was would there be any wind at all over the weekend? Posted on 25 Jun
Gul B14 TT Series at Porthpean
Just getting to the race course deserved points! For those that haven't been, Porthpean is nestled on its own secluded beach just outside St Austell with an enviable raised position offering spectators chance to look out over the impending carnage whilst enjoying the legendary hospitality and pasties... Posted on 2 May
Paignton Sailing Club's PODD preview
Event for doublehanded dinghies to be held on 20-21 May 2017 will be the 6th year of Paignton Sailing Club's iconic flagship event for double-handed dinghies: PODD. This is the only BIG double hander event in the south-west for all double-handed mono-hull single handers with a PY of 1200 or lower. Posted on 21 Apr
Gul B14 TT Series at Stokes Bay
Let jousting commence! So, April arrives and the joker has been played. What did we do to Blue Badge and Team Marlow at Rutland. Both teams have doctor's notes due to physical injuries to their helms, so both had to sit this one out, but will hopefully be seen again soon. Posted on 11 Apr
Developing products with Gul
We speak to B14 & Merlin Rocket sailor Mark Barnes We spoke to B14 and Merlin Rocket sailor Mark Barnes about the sponsorship arrangement he has with Gul, how this helps him in his sailing, the feedback he gives to Gul on product, and what he and the B14 class have lined up for the 2017 season. Posted on 31 Mar