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Gul 2017 Boots 728x90

Gul B14 Nationals 2017 Form Guide

by Mark Barnes 1 Aug 15:30 BST 3-6 August 2017
B14 and 505 Open at Whitstable © Nick Champion / www.championmarinephotography.co.uk

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 YachtsandYachting.com, www.b14.org and Facebook "B14 Sailors".