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Gul B14 TT Series at Porthpean Sailing Club

by Mark Barnes 1 Oct 2019 12:42 BST
Gul B14 TT Series at Porthpean © PSC

After a late Indian Summer and lighter winds over the last few weeks, the B14 fleet was looking forward to the Porthpean hospitality, Niles pasties and a good open water blast in St Austell Bay followed by after sailing festivities overlooking the bay.

However, the joker was played early in the week when the forecasts started to come true with high winds, heavy rain and drop in temperature. All not just the B14s, but other events pored over GRIB files and general weather websites which saw many events cancelled, postponed or unable to fufill the events due to the conditions expected.

So Facebook lit up and many exchanges later, it was decided the event would go ahead. As the weekend arrived a few more dropped out, but a hardy/fearless few arrived on Saturday morning to the forecast of SW'ly winds increasing throughout the day to 30+ by the evening, but with some shelter in the bay, five intrepid B14s launched into what was going to be a busy but manageable day with some memorable downwind blasts. As the guys in the RIBS said prior to launching that they were salivating at the prospect of watching the B14s stretch their legs. They were not to be disappointed.

Race 1 and Torq (Gerry Fermor/Chris Fermor), Brightmile (Mark Watts/Kathy Sherrett) Team GUL/North Sails (Mark Barnes/Charlotte Horlock), Dirty Sanchez (Patrick Sayler/Stacey Bray) and Torbay Tigers (Dave Roberts/Cody Griggs) ripped off up the course at speed with Team GUL/North Sails leading the charge. However, at the windward mark they were overlapped with Brightmile and Torq and the other two not far behind. They extended at 20+ knots ripping downwind into the single gybe to minimise the risks. First went Brightmile and they hit the tide, then inside went Torq and the same, then Team GUL/North Sails and they came off the top of a wave to spread the wings and take the race over the next two laps from a recovering Brightmile and Torq coming in third.

Race 2 and less breeze (well felt like it), rejoined by Dirty Sanchez after a pit stop ashore to repair their kicker, all five ripped off again. Team GUL/North Sails led being kept honest by Brightmile. Lap 3 Brightmile got a big line of wind and got inside to lead near the last mark. However, down but not out, Team GUL North Sails double gybed to regain the lead only to lose it on the drop/round up as the prior had thought Brightmile were heading to the other mark and had a lot going on but managed to get an inside overlap. At the finish Brightmile won by feet from Team GUL/North Sails followed by Dirty Sanchez.

Race 3 and a confident Dirty Sanchez led the charge but Team GUL/North Sails blasted through to leeward and Brightmile bailed and headed inshore right. At the windward mark Team GUL/North Sails led from Brightmile and slowly these two extended. Start of lap 2 neck and neck rounding opposite sides of the gate simultaneously, Team GUL North Sails slowly extended from Brightmile with a big shift to lead out downwind into the start of lap 3. At this point Team GUL/North Sails headed hard right and to the waiting shore team as Char had become unwell with a bad tooth ache and infection around the tooth. This left Brightmile, looking for their combatants at the windward mark only to see they were missing. Brightmile won from Dirty Sanchez and Torbay Tigers.

Once all ashore the wind went up a notch and the rain set in for the night. With B14s strapped down and all retired to the club, an evening of Tin Can Alley, Push a Penny (Leaky old school game) forfeits and a great curry to see the night out. Some of the youngsters showed the adults how to play Tin Can Alley and all retired anticipating another mad day on the water.

Next morning and with the forecast coming in true and white foam approx. 2.0 miles offshore, it was decided to call it a day whilst all were still in good shape and leave the fat lady to sing another day. So RO Nigel Dowrick and assistance Ken Fobbester called it a day. Special thanks to the RIB drivers Craig and Steve Robinson, shore and galley teams. Unfortunately there were no on water photos due to the constant heavy rain and sea state.

So Brightmile won from Team GUL/North Sails and Dirty Sanchez, with Torbay Tigers winning the Classic and Torq the merit award. All kindly donated by series sponsors GUL.

Next and final two events on the same weekend over the 12 - 13 October is Brightlinsea Skiff Fest and Plymouth Final Fling, both with Gul prizes to be won. We'll see you at one of them!

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