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B14 TT at Weston Sailing Club

by Mark Watts 14 Jul 2021 07:50 BST 10-11 July 2021

After such a turbulent two years, last weekend's B14 TT at Weston SC, as part of their July Cup, proved the perfect comeback event for any of the fleet not lucky enough to have got an entry to Weymouth the previous weekend.

Friday night saw early arrivals hosted on the newly created Weston Commodore's Lawn where curry, beer and Will's pretty amazing washing machine fire pit kept us warm and happy into the early hours catching up with old friends and some new faces to the class before rolling into tents/vans.

Saturday didn't show much promise on the forecast and it dawned grey and damp but with bacon butties in hand and chatter with the rest of the arrivals it wasn't too much of a hardship to wait for the rain to clear and a rather enthusiastic Mr Watts to encourage the race officer to get us all afloat for what turned out to be a 2 race day.

Race 1 saw a very light 5-6 knots with a few holes for good measure straight up Southampton Water. Fast out of the blocks continuing from their win at Weymouth last weekend was 797 "Wonkey Donkey" Mark Watts/Matt Johnson chased by class newcomers 762 "The 800ers" Russ Gibbs/Lucy Loughton from the pack. The first run saw 772 "Trunky" Kathy Sherratt/Josh Wilce gybe inshore and hook into their own private pressure to pull through to the lead. The next beat saw close racing with crews focused on eking out every ounce of speed. 797 pulled through to lead from 772 but the last run saw the wind drop. It was time for 771 "Blue Badge" Mike Bees/Ferrett to use their latest round of bionic upgrades and Ferret's now infrared vision to spot the new pressure and sail round the outside of the fleet to slot in for second! Final race positions 771 from 797 and 772 with 789 "The Grandads" Crispin Taylor/Guy Harrill leading the pack home in 4th.

Race 2 and the breeze started to build with the fleet pushing the line hard. It was 772 that came through the beat to lead at the top mark with 797/771 buried in the pack. 762 once again showed good pace to follow round in 2nd from 694 "Half Mop" L Cavill Grant/The Freezer who seemed to be gelling pretty quickly as a last minute team. The first run saw some very close racing with 771 pulling through to the tail of 772 and 797 also popping out of the pack. The breeze continued to build and the next 2 laps were a balance of tide vs pressure with no consensus on the winning combo. In the end the Wizards took the win from 797 with a photo finish as 789 pulled into 772 on the last beat and they split tacks for the line. 789 taking third by a nose!

With the tide due to fall fast and the late start the fleet called it a day and headed for the bar!

The evening carried on from Friday with more catching up on the club veranda, beer, a spot of mad hatter bingo and a fish and chip supper before retiring back to the Commodore's lawn for rum and campfire, Will amazingly still having wood from Friday!

Sunday dawned with a promise of more wind but not before a few full English's and coffee to kick off the day.

Race 3 saw the fleet sleepwalking. The clear 15 minute warning signal being totally forgotten as teams stretched their legs and explored Southampton Water. A mad (slow motion) scramble back to the line saw a lot of teams late for the start. 771 "Blue Badge" had a battle royal with 772 "Trunky" who complaining about speed issues from day 1 set about changing everything on Sat night, only to change nothing and magically find some impressive speed! They led for most of the race but some terrible kite drops (pole issues) saw them slip back to 2nd from 797 "Wonkey Donkey" sniffing at their backs.

Race 4 and with the fleet awake this time the start saw 762 "The 800ers" pull off a port tack flyer and lead the fleet away. 771 and 797 battled it out to pull through for the lead. Down the first run 772 threw in a gybe inshore (desperation or genius?) from mid fleet and promptly soaked down the inside to lead. The rest is a bit of a blur as we got a bit dizzy on the 6 laps but thankfully most of us got to sit out the final lap as mixing with the club racing on average laps 771 and 772 were possibly invisible and got sent on for a victory lap.

With 771 having already sewn up the win with a race to spare the last race was going to be a marital battle between the husband and wife Mark 797 and Kathy 772.

Race 5 saw a big left-hand shift before the start. With a minute to go the top 3 overall all flipped onto port and took the line only for them to see that once again Ferret's eye in 771 had spotted it better and took off on what was a 1 tack fetch to the top mark. Ordinarily this would have been the worst race for some time and a bit of weekend dampner but actually for most of the fleet it proved to be a nice twin racking 1 tack beat to do some tuning and speed testing followed by a nice 3 sail kite leg back to the bottom in a building breeze to remind us how much fun the B is when it can stretch it's legs. 771 looking solid for the win saw 797 peel off before the end from 3rd to send MJ back for the football leaving 772 to take 2nd from 762 well clear of the fleet in 3rd.

Overall it was an impressive win for Beezer and Ferret and so good to see the dream team back together. It was a tie for 2nd overall with 797 taking the marital bragging rights from 772.

Special mention should go the 3 way battle for 4th that saw close racing between The 800ers, The Grandads and Bodge throughout the weekend.

It was a great weekend with an emphasis on a relaxed shoreside and close racing. Thanks to Weston Sailing Club team for hosting the invitational and making the event possible with their fantastic covid safe organisation and hospitality. We look forward to coming back next year!

The calendar challenges mean its now on to Rock for the Europeans in early September... that is going to be some event!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st771Mike BeesMartin Worth‑211114
2nd797Mark WattsMJ1233(RET)9
3rd772Kathy SherrattJosh Wick3‑42229
4th789Crispin TaylorGuy Harrill43‑64415
5th762Russ CubbsLucy‑7645318
6th799Paul RobertsRob Taylor555‑6520
7th764Tony BJames B68(DNS)7728
8th787Will RandGuy Raynes‑10788629
9th755Kevin MooreStuart Moore897‑10832
10th694R MoppettL Cavill Grant91010‑11938
11th798James GardnerAnne Gardner(DNC)DNC99RET44
12th784Guy Cillen (DNC)DNC11DNCRET50

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