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B14 National Championship at Rock Sailing and Waterski Club - Day 3

by Mark Barnes 5 Sep 2021 08:14 BST 2-5 September 2021

Day 3 of the B14 Nationals and the fleet were greeted with a decent SE blowing down the river, but as the morning progressed the breeze reduced to the point when the fleet launched it was only 6 - 8 knots.

Racing today would be over the Bar with the line out to sea. Race 7 got underway and the fleet split left and right with the left coming out on top led from that side by The Anthill Mob (Tim Harrison/Jonny Radcliffe) and from the right by Seavolution/North Sails (Barnsie/Char Horlock). As the fleet headed downwind the land and sea breeze fought for supremacy with the course having more holes than a Swiss cheese. With the leaders eventually getting close to the leeward mark, the race was abandoned.

With the course reset in the river and windward mark in the outer limits, the race got away first time with The Anthill Mob just squeezing a cheeky port flyer. Up the beat into the rocks the fleet charged with Demelza (Peter Knight/Jane Reeves) and Seavolution/North Sails in hot pursuit. As the beat unravelled The Anthill Mob and Seavolution/North Sails swapped the lead. Over the next 2 laps these two shadow boxed and sailed away to a comfortable lead with Seavolution North Sails getting the better on the last run to win with Demelza in third and Brightmile buried in the pack after a pileup at the start (the race was later to be binned under as protest as the committee boat had struggled to hold station and ended up using her engine to regain station).

Final race of the day, Race 8 got away quickly in the river off Saint Saviors Point with the Anthill Mob again lining up for the port flyer and squeezing through but two others failing to do so. With a windshift and tidal effect, the leaders were soon taking and taking the lee bow lift into the mark. The Anthill Mob led from Porky's Revenge (Dave Hayes/Pete Nicholson) and Demelza. Over the 3 laps the two leaders held good to the finish, but the action was ongoing behind with Seavolution/North Sails on a charge, Demelza slipping back and Asbo (Crispin Taylor/Guy Harrol) getting into third on the last beat. At the windward mark, Seavolution/North Sails decided to back off and follow Asbo round rather than risk the tack, following in fourth, only to have Demelza come crashing in trying to do a Firefly tack and landing their rack at 45 degrees on the deck of Seavolution/North Sails locking both up and when eventually untangled, leaving the latter in irons and Barnsie forgetting to call protest whilst protecting their deck allowed Demelza to avoid the protest room. Would this be the elephant in the room come the final day's showdown with Seavolution/North Sails slipping to 8th to gain back one position on the finish line.

So a mixed day with one abandonment, one thrown out and one where there were no passing lanes due to the tide and shift in the wind during the race and lack of width to lay another mark (the fun of river racing). All that was missing was the pantomime and the two ugly sisters and you would have a complete cast. Tomorrow it looks like the championship starts again with the two leaders equal on 18 points but with Brightmile carrying the bigger number discard. All to play for and nothing certain in this championships.

The fleet retired to a BBQ and sponsor's gin and rum tasting session, with a promise of breeze the following day.

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