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International 14 Bull Trophy at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Dan Holman 12 Jun 10:31 BST 8-9 June 2019

Plenty of I14s arrived for day one of the Bull Trophy at Itchenor hoping to get some racing practice ahead of the euros in Flensburg at the end of the month. On the Saturday they were thwarted by 25-30kts. Although there was some macho talk to start with, it soon gave way to an AP flag, some boat bimbling and general banter.

Sunday arrived with far more clement conditions, bright sunshine and light airs. After a short postponement to allow breeze to fill in, a cracking turnout of 14 boats made it to the start line including Steve Fisher / Andy Ramus and Adrian Williams come down from Hayling which was a most welcome surprise. Whilst race officer Harvey Hillary had let himself down sartorially, lacking the shirt and club tie that the RO position deserves, he redeemed himself with a well set windward leeward course making the most of the low tide and limited width racetrack.

Fast out of the blocks were Julian Pearson, looking dangerous with regular crew Richard Sherdan, and Katie Nurton. Plenty of sailors had issues with a late lull and header on the line and tied themselves up in knots. Nurton, sailing with the world's fastest learning new i14 crew, Ian Lodder, was first around the windward. Over the course of the race, the slick skills and great pace of this season's standout team Jones / Fitzgerald began to tell and a commanding lead was pulled out. Further back in the ranks, Shaw / Struckett; Yeoman/Yeoman and Holman / Knight took turns to put pressure on Nurton, with Holman / Holman shaking enough rust off to pull through to second getting back into the leaders a little.

Second race and a little more wind i.e. some comfortable twin stringing and a more textbook start. Once again, Jones / Fitzgerald were under some pressure up the first beat but managed the dynamics towards the top of the beat to get a lead around the windward mark and sneak away. Behind them, most of the rest of the fleet were having excitements with various of the perennial Itchenor holy trinity of weed, shallow water, and other sailors who selfishly wish to sail on the same expanse of water.

This weekend was also an open meeting for Hadron singlehanded dinghies, which was a new and interesting obstacle to dodge when compared to boring old x boats, the downwind kneeling stance required presumably making it harder to hear hails of other water users. Several Hadrons made use of the shallow edges only a few yards from the committee boat to haul themselves onto the sand (mud?) for a moment's relaxation between races, looking like sunbathing seals (boats not sailors). Back to the racing and a familiar pattern emerging with Jones / Fitzgerald winning fairly comfortably and Holman / Knight getting on top of the chaos to pull through to second. In third this time was Daddy Fitzgerald and (new daddy) Dobson, staying off the putty this time, ahead of Pearson / Sheridan.

For the final race Harvey really excelled himself with a cheeky point to point course. Lap one and once again Jones and Fitzgerald got themselves clear pretty quickly to build a nice lead. Second lap a long beat to east head and Nurton / Lodder and Holman / Knight put a fair bit of pressure on in turns, with plenty to think about with tidal considerations to be played off against wind strength and direction, and tack minimisation, especially for those less slick than Jones / Fitzgerald. Down the last run to Park before a dog leg to the Gallon line, Holman / Knight got a lucky puff to get close enough to put reasonable pressure on Jones / Fitzgerald, but a minor navigational choke saw the opportunity pass and Jones / Fitzgerald take the well-deserved win.

Next event is the Century Cup on the 22nd which is actually looking like one of the hotter events on the i14 calendar, so if you can field a combined age of over 100 then come and get involved.

Following that is the i14 Euros in Flensburg.

Full results can be found here.

The Bull Trophy wasn't part of the ranking system but please see a ranking update:

Neale + Ed 267pts
Andy + Tom 147pts
Andy & Rich 144pts
Douglas + Mark 114pts
Andy + Rob 108pts
Julian P 96pts
Kimball + Jeremy 90pts
Dennis G 84pts
Archie & Harvey 84pts
Katie N 81pts

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