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B14 Nationals at Rock - Runners & Riders

by Mark Barnes 30 Aug 12:44 BST 2-5 September 2021
2015 Gul B14 Europeans at Rock © Roger Williams

Well this has been a long time coming due to Covid-19 and the cancellation of the 2020 season and much of 2021. So the circus is finally coming to town and getting a real chance to meet up and get in some racing out of Rock in Cornwall.

The forecast looks to be mixed but nothing like the first day of the Europeans in 2015 when the swell was so large, the horizon appeared to be moving as the fleet set sail to the racing area in fruity conditions, and a memorable day was had for those that completed the two races. Personally, it was a first for two waves meeting and peaking under your dinghy and then dropping like a stone only for the two to then meet again as they land on top of you, swamping the dinghy, resulting in a pitchpole upwind at the windward mark. Note do not triple wax foils as you cannot stand on them in a lumpy sea. Comedy show was had and viewed by others as we had been leading at that point.

Numbers are down this year as a number of the stalwart teams are not travelling still, and the European members deciding they are unable to attend due to the complexities of travelling to the UK and back into Europe. So we'll miss the French, Germans, Polish and Swiss teams and hopefully meet up with them in 2022 at Lake Garda or the Blitzskiff series in France which runs throughout the year.

This year will be a difficult call as many of the front runners have hardly sailed, and middle order some have been out quite a bit.

  • Blue Badge: Beezer/Ferret sailing GBR 771 - The Brightlingsea time machine, when it breaks down, a bit more surgery and Beezer comes bouncing back with the ever faithful crew Ferret. Winners last time here by a squeak, but rumour has it they have been out getting in some training. So over the wind range they should be favourites or a shoe horn for the podium. 3/1

  • Anthill Mob: Tim Harrison/Jonny Radcliffe sailing GBR 758 - Never write this team off, even if they have not sailed together since the last Worlds in Carnac (most of us have not done much since then). Serial winners and have the habit of falling on their feet. So we'll see them at the sharp end and no doubt in the running till the last race. 4/1

  • Brightmile: Wattsy/Matt Johnson sailing GBR 797 - These guys had been out checking their big wind strategy and will be running one of the new North Sails big head mains alongside Seavolution/North Sails. They will certainly be in the mix and one of the teams on for the podium. With the forecast, who will have the bragging rights in the car home as Kathy Mark's wife is also in for a shout. 5/1

  • Porky's Revenge: Dave Hayes/Pete (Pistol) Nicholson sailing GBR 774 - A team that has won all the domestic B14 trophies to be one but not as this team. On first looks this weekend, they will be quick, but with lack of race time together, will the race craft shine or will it get better as we get deeper into the event. 5/1

  • Seavolution/North Sails: Barnsie/Char Horlock sailing GBR 799 - Well on their first outing in competition this year showed promise and on or about the pace in their new B14 GBR 799, but race craft proved a bit rusty, other than that should hopefully be in the mix throughout the week. They have been the bridesmaids for five Nats/Euros events since 2015 and runners-up last time at Rock by one point. 5/1

  • Dimelza: Peter Knight/Jane Reeves sailing GBR 785 - The team are back together and Jane will be dragging Peter round the track, only joking. These guys will be quick and slippery in the light. Shall be interesting to see how much practice they have got in. Another of the lighter teams. 6/1

  • Trunky: Kathy Watts/Josh Wilce sailing GBR 772 - A team that at times shows great speed and came close to winning in Paignton in 2018. The forecast is looking favourable for them as lighter than many of the front runners and Josh will be making sure they cover the bases prior to the first race. 7/1

  • Team Asbo: Crispy/Gi sailing GBR 789 - A quick ship and new this year to this team. So shall be interesting to see if they slip up the pecking order. They have had much practice and splashed on on a new sail here and there. Ones to watch. 8/1

  • Team Magic Marine: Guy Gillon/Tom Offer sailing GBR 784 - New to the fleet, but bought a very quick well sorted package. With local knowledge in Tom and no doubt some slick training, it will be interesting to see where these two pitch up in the mix. By the very nature of their local knowledge and track record worth a punt. 8/1

  • Asbo Rides Again: Russ Gibbs/Lucy sailing GBR 762 - Yet to race against the big guns, but when racing at local level been in the mix with Team Asbo and Admiral Trailers. So good for the mix to mug any of the front runners if they slip up. 9/1

With a good representation of female helm and crews, it will be interesting to see who gets the bragging rights come the end of racing. No doubt there are teams not in this list that will be there in the mix at the end. One thing is certain it will probably go to the wire with the Fat Lady singing all the way up the River Camel on the way home.

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