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Gul B14 TT Round 5 at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club

by Mike Bees 10 Sep 2018 15:44 BST 8-9 September 2018
Gul B14 TT at Eastbourne © Ben Daigneault

The Gul-supported 2018 B14 Travellers Trophy series continued at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club on the weekend of 8/9 September. Entries were depleted by a post-Nationals lull, holidays, and even an outbreak of Shingles (get well soon Leaky).

Blue Badge (Mike Bees/Neale Fitzgerald) had turned up the day before for a spot of cheating crew-induction (Neale having never sailed a B14, and not done any dinghy sailng for 15 years!). This lasted about 20 minutes and and ended with a broken mast. Fortunately Barry Price pitched up on Saturday with his spare which allowed 2 sad old men to get back on the water for the weekend.

Saturday started as it meant to go on, a brisk F4 from the SW, wind-over-tide, giving competitors the 2 options of inshore in less tide and flatter water, or offshore in solid breeze and a lumpy "it's not normally like this at Eastbourne" sea state. The superbly punctual race team blew the first preparatory signal for a scheduled 13:00 start at 12:55:00 on your correspondent's watch - beat that!

Blue Badge, with the Caution Light flashing, led the first race away from Bodge (Paul Roberts/Rob Taylor), HB&R Consulting (Barry Price/Gareth Lincoln) and Bullet-B1 (Christian Wilms/Daniela Alt). Choosing when to gybe on the run was very tricky - the longer you left it the worse the waves and the stronger the breeze, so gybe safely & early and you underlaid the leeward mark resulting in a double-gybe at the bottom, or opt for a later riskier gybe and you tended to get dragged off the course to the right and have to drop early. Bodge succumbed to the conditions on the first gybe leaving Blue Badge to romp limp away to victory followed by HB&R Consulting.

Race 2 followed a similar pattern, with Bodge having a sinking feeling early on due to an errant inspection hatch. This left Blue Badge alone on the water, and having ridden their luck somewhat for 2 races with a borrowed mast they decided it was beer o'clock and headed for the beach.

Sunday promised a similar wind strength & direction, a flatter sea and sunshine - and boy did it deliver. At precisely 10:25:00 on your correspondent's watch the preparatory signal for a 10:30 start was made (how did they do that?). 694 (Alastair & Rory Moppett) had joined the fray although unfortunately just failed to make the start of race 4. As per Saturday Blue Badge & Bodge (now there's a name for a firm of septuagenarian builders) duelled from the off with Blue Badge extending after a close first beat.

Race 5 and the breeze was building - the Eastbourne Doctor had left the surgery and was on his way. Blue Badge put the Caution Light in flashing mode and again tussled with Bodge up the first beat. On the final run they went scallop fishing with the kite and had to stop to count their catch, allowing Bodge through to take a well-deserved win.

By race 6 the Doctor had arrived, with the downwind legs rivalling the best of Lake Garda conditions under a blue sky. Again Blue Badge (Caution Light now fully on) led from Bodge, and this time made it to the finish with upsetting any fishermen. Bodge stopped for a rest on the final run and were followed home by 694.

Huge thanks to Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club for putting on a superb weekend of sailing, food, beer and particularly to the beach party for helping us up & down the beach with our boats and trolleys. And thanks as ever to Gul for supporting our events.

Overall Results:

1. Blue Badge, 771, Mike Bees/Neale Fitzgerald (Brightlingsea SC) 6pts
2. Bodge, 321, Paul Roberts/Rob Taylor (RYA) 17pts
3. HB&R Consulting Ltd, 766, Barry Price/Gareth Lincoln (Grafham Water SC) 20pts
4. 694 Alastair/Rory Moppett (Bough Beech SC) 25pts
5. Bullet-B, 672, Christian Wilms/Daniela Alt (Eastbourne Sovereign SC) 28pts

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