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B14 TT at the Mayflower Sailing Club Final Fling

by Mark Watts 18 Oct 2012 13:01 BST 13-14 October 2012
Team Green Meanie arrive in style for the prize giving © Mayflower Sailing Club

Beware the Green Meanie!

Mayflower Sailing Club welcomed the B14 fleet to Plymouth over the weekend of 13th/14th October for the penultimate TT event of 2012.

With the top 2 teams from the recent Europeans in attendance and some new faces to join the fun the fleet received the usual warm welcome from Dave Curno and team for what was set to be an unusual but highly successful change in format.

Weather conditions meant the usual plan of heading outside the breakwater on Saturday was replaced by racing inside Plymouth sound. The team ventured out into sunny and relatively light conditions wondering if the forecast was wrong but the first of many storm clouds of the day suddenly delivered breeze well into the early 20's on the run out with some monster gusts!

As the fleet gathered at the start area under the impressive backdrop of the RFA ships moored by the breakwater nervous glances at the conditions were replaced by surprise as a B14 appeared from outside the breakwater and promptly put on a downwind display down to the race area. Rod Boswick with press ganged crew Jon Cotgreave had arrived (lost apparently having launched from his home at Mountbatten!).

After a short delay trying to set a startline under the ominously swinging RFA ships the course was moved and set with a beat in towards Drakes island to add some spice to the already gusty conditions.

Race 1 saw Team NeilPryde (Mark Emmett/Allan Stuart) take the early lead and set the pattern for the day to sail through to take the win. Behind in the chasing pack Team Ullman Sails lost control on the hoist in a gust and took an early bath (How embarrassing) the Green Meanie (Rod Boswick/Jon Cotgreave) (unrecognisable after having the full rod pimping treatment) led the charge from Flower Power (Tony Blackmore/Al Storer) and relative newcomers 694 (Alastair Moppett/The Freezer) with the crew taking the main (first crew to make this work on a short course?).

The day took the form of varying from light wind and a bit random through to 25+ knots and a bit of swimming as Dave threw quick turnarounds and even some beautifully timed race management to see the fleet perfectly avoid a large tanker which we gave up waiting for! (He is a clearly magic!!) Team NeilPryde took 4 straight bullets and were only stopped from a full house for the day by Team Ullman Sails who finally got off the line in good order and took the final race. Green Meanie and 770 both proved to be worryingly quick with their alloy rigs.

Back to the beach and the club welcomed a few chilly teams with piping hot showers and a magnificent dinner plus plenty of drinks from the bar before the obligatory trip down the Barbican to meet the locals...

Sunday dawned calm and bright with the promise of 6 - yes, 6 - more races!

After a long sail outside the breakwater (To allow the yachts to drift around the many and varied colourful objects in the sound) the fleet were greeted by a building breeze of 5-10 knots and some sparkling Autumn weather showing Plymouth at its best.

After a short postponement and some singing accompanied stripping action from 694 (it wasn't a 5 mil steamer day boys!) Race 1 got underway again setting the scene for the day with some ridiculously close racing over a 2-3 lap short course of sub 30 mins in length.

The highlights:

  • 4 out of the 6 races finishing with photo finishes on the line.
  • Dave's brand new custom build windward mark (even he couldn't spot it with binoculars), so thanks to the rescue boat for making it more VISIBLE!
  • Rod Boswick throwing away a lead with a 'should have gone to specsavers' moment on a 3 lap race.
  • 694 retiring early with a hole in the foredeck.. which turned out not to be a hole - still the worst excuse for an early beer yet! Green Meanie not arriving until Race 3 having got lost again!
  • Six Beautifully executed races in under 3 hours with less than 90 seconds turnaround in some cases - Dave Curno and team made it look effortless!
  • Team Ullman sails winning all 6 races, much to the annoyance of the increasingly grumpy Team NeilPryde to take the weekend win.
  • The first female helm to win a TT series event in recent history? Kathy helming Team Ullman Sails for 5 out of the 11 races including 3 bullets on Sunday despite Mark looking puzzled in the front!

On return to shore the fast turnaround was once again shown with a quick prize giving, interrupted by the unusual (But not entirely unexpected!)arrival of team Green Meanie on paddle boards from over the water at Mountbatten to claim their much deserved 3rd place.. (Proving a meticulously sorted early B14 with an alloy rig and good sails can still be quick!).

Again a huge thanks to all that travelled including some relative newcomers. All went home with smiles thanks to a great weekend from the team at Mayflower Sailing Club. We look forward to coming back next year to, rumours suggest, a newly refurbished clubhouse and the already upgraded dinghy park. We look forward to helping put the Mayflower Sailing Club Final Fling Open back on the map as a must do end of season event.

The B14 fleet now moves on to the end of season Inlands at Queen Mary on the 11th/12th November - see you all there!

Overall Results: (top three)

1st 772, Team Ullman Sails, Kathy Sherratt/Mark Watts
2nd 761, Team NeilPryde, Mark Emmett/Allan Stuart
3rd 767, (Really ???) Green Meanie, Rod Boswick/Jon Cotgreave

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