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Gul B14 National Championships at Paignton Sailing Club - Form Guide

by Alan Davis 25 Jul 2018 08:37 BST 2-5 August 2018
Racing on day 1 of the B14 Nationals at Paignton 2014 © Steve Cayley /

With the waters of Torbay likely to provide a wide variety of conditions for the Gul B14 National Championship fleet when they descend on Paignton SC on August 2nd, around 15 boats in the fleet will be hoping to make the top ten. Someone will have to go home disappointed - but only with the result - sponsorship by Bays Brewery (mmm... beer) along with Leaky's games night will provide suitable compensation for those who don't make it!

Two teams stand out as favourites, both Blue Badge (Mike Bees / Pete Nicholson) and Brightmile (Mark Watts / Matt Johnson) have the proven performance to take the event, but the results of the 2018 season to date suggest that they aren't necessarily the in-form teams. The 2018 championships is likely to be the most keenly fought title for some time.

In addition to the big prize, the Classic prize (for boats of sail numbers pre-755) - provides strong mid-fleet interest, with many of the sizeable classic entry very capable of posting top 10 results this group will produce some of the closest racing of the event.

Runners and Riders overall...

Blue Badge (771). Mike Bees / Pete Nicholson. 7/4 (=fav)
Fast, consistent and always difficult to beat - 2013 National and 2015 European Champion Beezer is joined by 2007 national champion crew "Pistol" Pete Nicholson for the season - showing their undoubted speed with a clear win at the Stokes Bay TT, hopefully Pete will be able to count laps for Beezer to avoid a repeat of the "Whitstable incident". Should produce a consistent series which, in Torbay, is often exactly what is required to win.

Team Brightmile (797). Mark Watts / Matt Johnson. 7/4 (=fav)
Some spinnaker cleat reliability issues and crew swapping have held Brightmile back in early 2018, but with the addition of MJ in the front (last seen in the B14 fleet downing pitchers of red wine at the 2009 Worlds...) are one of the clear favourites, especially if it is a windy championships. Moved to North Sails recently, looking for that little extra "something"?

Demelza (785). Peter Knight / Alex. (7/2)
We've used "tactically astute" to describe this team before, typical Torbay conditions should suit them well. Third in 2017 behind Harken (Nick Craig/Toby Lewis) and Team Gul/North Sails (Mark Barnes/Charlotte Horlock), neither of who are able to compete in 2018, and a victory at the most recent TT at Restronguet. A solid each way bet for a podium and a potential winner (though too modest to admit it).

Trunky (772). Kathy Sherratt / Josh Wilce. (6/1)
Winners of the Whitstable TT, with a peerless 1,2,1,1,2 scoreline, despite a slowly sinking boat. Podium results in the previous two TT events suggest that was far from a fluke, the form team of the season to date. Quite capable of a podium result.

Leaky Pipes (786). Geraldine Fermor / Leaky Fermor. (13/2)
Showed their ability with a solid second in the recent Whitstable TT, but a mid-fleet sixth at Restronguet suggests a lack of consistency might be a problem. Having said that they are almost certain to win one race; it's what they do! Note to keen garden types: Leaky Pipes, if used with a timer, are exempt from any hosepipe bans... might be worth knowing if this weather continues!

765. Steve Hollingsworth / Elliot Holman. 13/2.
Long time B14 team, fast and consistent in a wide range of conditions. second at the most recent TT event, complete with a brace of race wins suggests that we should expect a solid performance. Will likely be aiming for a top five, but have the speed to threaten the podium.

Troublegum/Team GUL/North Sails (787). Alan Davis / Charlotte Horlock. 15/2.
Sitting in the Team Gul/North Sails hot-seat due to the temporary unavailability of Mark Barnes, Alan hasn't raced a B14 since 2016 but has shown some (vague...) talents in the past, including third at the 2016 Nationals, he may be dragged close to the podium by the proven talents of Barnsie's crew, Charlotte Horlock, in the front of the bus. An unexpected pairing who could, but probably won't, produce a decent result (sorry Char!).

770. Simon Hadley / Nikki Hadley. 15/2.
Fast and consistent in the lighter conditions with lots of experience in the boat, Simon and Nikki are a consistent top ten boat in major championships. Good each-way bet for a top five if light to moderate conditions. Will certainly post some solid results during the event. Trailers (764). Tony Blackmore / Meg Baker (Supermegs). 8/1
Event organiser (and legendary beer sponsor acquisition manager) Tony, and Supermegs, reprise their 2015 World's teaming. Never one to count out, wouldn't be a surprise to see a couple of top three results during the event. Should be in the top ten.

Asbo (762). Crispin Taylor, Guy Harrill. 8/1.
Will consistently pop results in the top ten, then go and win a race when no-one is looking. The local Starcross team bragging rights vs. Tony/Meg will no doubt be on the agenda!

Special mentions...

Quantum Leap (GER 358). Mattias Lange / Helge Ludwig. 25/1
Welcome visitors from Germany competing for the Classic and Open Championship. No boat on boat results to base form on, but will be fighting hard in the classic fleet. Guaranteed to win "furthest travelled" if such a thing exists (we will buy them a beer...)

Going Out in a Blaze of Rory (694). Alastair Moppett / Rory Moppett. 20/1 (if it floats), 30/1 (if it doesn't).
Alastair and the Freezer "putting the band back together" and also the boat... significant rebuild of an old well (ab?)used Rondar. Hopefully the guys have had it on the water prior to race 1, but if not it might be a pit lane start for Team Moppett. Will be eyeing up the Classic fleet trophy.

756. Carl Raynes / Guy Raynes. 20 (beers)/1 (race).
Competent on the water, competent in the bar. More competitive at one than the other - capable of sailing many of the fleet under the table on their day, will be life and soul of the party.

Rest of fleet odds

620. Ben Lloyd-King / Jez Page – 25/1 (Classic)
657. Stuart Hadfield / Lewis Kneale - 30/1 (Classic)
WABS (707). Amir Shamsuddin / Al Storer - 25/1 (Classic)
Chuck Norris (723). Paddy Seyler / Steve Coello (probably...) – 25/1 (Classic)
Fluorescent Adolescent (735). Tom Gatehouse / Kate Gatehouse - 20/1 (Classic)
Bullet-B (748). Christian Wilms / Daniela Alt - 25/1 (Classic)
749. Will Rand / Q van Meurs - 25/1 (Classic)
Half Boat (753). Alicia Clifford / Charlie Hadley - 20/1 (Classic)
HB&R Consulting (766). Barry Price / Adam Kicten - 25/1
Havin' a Giraffe (788). Gary Parks / Chris Webber - 20/1
Ghost Train (789). Henry Metcalfe / Jasmine Husband – 15/2

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