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International 14 Bull Trophy at Itchenor Sailing Club

by George Yeoman 10 Sep 11:31 BST 5-6 September 2020

The 5/6 September saw the return of the International 14s with the first formal event of the season, the Bull Trophy at Itchenor SC. There were 3 short races planned each day with a light to medium forecast looked to be a great opportunity for teams to shake off the rust of the lockdown period.

Nine boats made the start line on the Saturday, 3 of them being the new B6s all with different sail plans. We were welcomed with a full Chichester Harbour and a shifty 8-12 knots.

In race 1 Andy Shaw & Rob Struckett led off the line to the right-hand side followed by George & Jack Yeoman and these two led around the top mark followed by Andy Fitzgerald & Rich Dobson and Katie Nurton & Ed Fitzgerald. Up the second beat the wind started to clock left but had some holes in it and George & Jack fell foul of this capsizing to windward, much to the amusement of Andy & Rob. Andy & Rich took up the chase of Andy & Rob and on lap three karma reared its ugly head as Andy & Rob found George & Jack's hole and went for a swim. Andy & Rich took the lead and the race win, followed home by George & Jack with the hard charging new pairing of Peter Bromley & Hugh Maclean sailing a couple of lovely downwinds to come in a well-deserved 3rd.

Race 2 saw George & Jack and Katie & Ed go off the pin with Andy & Rob going right again which proved to be the better choice as they led comfortably around the top mark with Andy & Rich in hot pursuit, there was a trend appearing with the new white boats! At the bottom mark George & Jack and Katie & Ed managed to sneak inside Andy & Rich who had a slight issue on the drop. The track became a bit one sided after this and Andy & Rob won comfortably, with George & Jack in 2nd again followed by Katie & Ed.

The final race of the day saw the tide start to turn and the wind started to die. Katie & Ed led off the pin end and went all the way to the lay line which proved profitable as they led round the top mark, and never looked back to take their first win. Andy & Rich chased them round with Robin & Martin Pascal in 3rd as a close knit group battled it out for the top 3. Pete & Hugh just pushed the gybe too hard and capsized in the middle of the gybe point making a few scary calls from different boats and causing carnage at the bottom mark. After all this excitement it was a fairly processional race at this point, until Andy & Rob came charging down the last run to gybe inside George & Jack and take 3rd on the final downwind.

Day 2 started with slightly lighter breeze and the RO decided to sail under Thorney Island which made for some interesting tactical choices, and also some calls on how risky to go to get out of the tide. George & Jack went won the start, but only because everyone else started on port and a drag race commenced into the Thorney shore. At the top mark George & Jack led just from Andy & Rich and these two battled it out. George & Jack were first to blink, running aground and handing the lead to Andy & Rich only for them to do the same and hand it back. Around the last mark they were neck and neck with George & Jack tacking early for the line and not quite laying, handing the race win to Andy & Rich. The Pascals came home in a comfortable 3rd.

Race 5 saw all the fleet except Olly Sloper & Nick Blevins, who won the pin on starboard, line up on port and George & Jack again led at the top mark. However a poor hoist gave Andy & Rich the roll and a gybe off back in to the tide proved costly and Andy & Rich sailed smartly to cover George & Jack the rest of the way round the course, showing superior downwind pace. Behind Peter & Hugh had a great battle with Olly & Nick until the last downwind where they managed to distance themselves to take their second podium of the weekend.

The final race had Andy & Rick with the trophy already, however they were hungry for more as the wind had swung left slightly and the fleet started on starboard this time. Most tacked just under the lay but Andy & Rich charged all the way to the port lay to put a lee bow tack on George & Jack and to lead round the top mark. This time George & Jack managed to gybe inside and roll them only to bail out from the shore a bit early and Andy & Rich continued in the shallower, less tidal water to lead by a distance at the bottom and held to take their 3rd race of the day and a very well deserved overall win. Peter & Hugh again were flying in 3rd and by the final mark had closed right up to George & Jack.

It was a great weekend of racing and the perfect way to restart the season following a couple of Sterickers. Thank you for to the race committee of Andy Penman, Caroline Gosford & David Mclean. Next up is the Gallon on 19 September.

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