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B14 Invitational and TT round 4 at Weston Sailing Club

by Crispin Taylor & Guy Harrill 17 Aug 2022 19:43 BST 13-14 August 2022

Prior to this event the class association undertook a Facebook survey to better understand the priorities for competitors and association members. Based on some of the feedback we were keen to make this event attractive to sailors coming out of Covid hibernation and to attract less-regular attenders with offers of coaching and boat tuning.

The B14 fleet is exceptionally friendly and boat parks are usually humming with old hands offering practical and technical advice and this one was no exception.

The event saw some teams we have seen for a while return as we hoped and many arrived on Friday 12th August for an afternoon of free sailing and as the club had allowed camping onsite, many stayed for a BBQ on the shoreside in balmy 30c Mediterranean conditions with the impromptu Cocktail bars from Wattsy, Leaky and Amir dishing out drinks until late into the night.

Saturday dawned with little or no wind but as forecast, a steady sea breeze built and the fleet set off for race one in 10 knots SSE. Crispy and Gi in 789 were first to the windward mark and kept the lead with Mark and MJ (797) in second with Russ and Lucy (762) third.

Race two and the wind had picked up to 16+ knots SSE and wind over tide made for awesome downwind legs. Mark and MJ gave the fleet a masterclass and were clear winners followed Russ & Lucy & Kathy and her scratch crew, Nathan (772) in third.

Race three now 20+ knots SSE with a peak of 22 recorded in the race box. Champagne conditions in 30c and warm water. Great upwind and downwind legs from Mark and MJ gave them a clear lead followed by Paul and Will 787 who were comfortably in second using their leverage to good advantage until some impromptu sail washing in the last gybe let 789 through into third.

It later transpired that Paul had been making Will (the owner of the boat and usual helm) do both the tackline and halyard in the kite hoists, exhausting his poor crew, and ultimately causing the capsize.

The crews union failed to comment on this as technically Will is a helm.

The fleet gathered for another great BBQ, more cocktails and some serious boat bimbling entertainment laid on as Tony looked to finally track down and fix his leak, supported by an eclectic mix of tunes from Tony's CD collection

Sunday dawned mirror calm with some people looked a tad fragile, perhaps it was the Mediterranean heat causing mild dehydration?

Thankfully a delayed start due to the lack of early breeze gave time for recovery and all 12 boats made it to the start of race 4.

Race 4. 5-8 knots (patchy) SW veering SSE. Crispy and Gi tacked early to port but overcooked the lay line, Mark and MJ climbing into them to round overlapped. Crispy and Gi pulled out a lead down the first run as the wind shut down, gaining enough distance to pull off their penalty turn (for infringing Mark and MJ at the top mark) a lead which they held to the end.

The battle for second and third was intense with Russ and Lucy taking the win from Mark and MJ as the sea breeze struggled to establish and faded in and out.

Race five. 5-8 knots. Similar direction. Crispin & Gi were ahead at the first mark, but the ever-stealthy Russ & Lucy went inshore & snatched the lead at the leeward mark. A close tacking duel ensued between 762 and 789 with 762 still ahead at the windward mark. At the leeward mark, 789 was infringed causing them to lose their position leaving the win to 762 with Kathy and Nathan (772) in second and Tony & Jamie (764) third. Mark and MJ having a race to forget that included MJ briefly exiting the boat on a gybe.

Race 6 8-10 knots SSE. It was winner-takes-all with the two form boats of Crispy or Mark taking it to the final race to decide the series winner.

Crispy and Gi tacked early and were ahead at the first mark, Mark and MJ getting tag teamed by team Starcross to lose some ground approaching the top mark to round in second. Crispy and Gi gybed inshore as the tide was ebbing and kept loose cover on Mark & MJ. Geri & Leaky (786) were relishing the conditions and kept the pressure on throughout the race on the front two.

On lap two Mark and MJ seemed to have sorted their light wind pace and picked up a nice lift up the inside to close to within a whisker but it was Crispy and Gi who maintained their close cover to cross the line first followed by Mark and MJ with Geri and Leaky taking third.

Racing was close across the fleet with regular place changing in all races. On the final countdown, Crispy & Gi took a well deserved TT win from Mark & MJ.

This was the first open win for team 789 (Crispy and Gi) who, with a combined age of 122 were seen hobbling to the prize-giving.

Special mention to Kathy Sherratt as first lady helm and Starcross Yacht Club's B14 fleet with a 1,3,5.

The fleet thanks Mark, Kathy, Alan Davis and Paul Roberts for their local organisation, and Weston SC for hosting the excellent event. The combination of champagne conditions on Saturday, hospitality, onsite camping and the start line being mere metres from the slipway make Weston as much summer festival as it is open meeting.

The next event is the Europeans/Nationals 1-4th September. It's not too late to enter where you'll be guaranteed a great event and hospitality from Whitstable Yacht Club.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st789Crispin TaylorGi1‑421‑415
2nd797Mark WattsMat Johnson211‑3‑626
3rd762Lucy LoughtonRussell Gibbs32(RET)21(RET)8
4th772Kathy SherrattNathan Steffenoni43(RET)42‑513
5th764Tony BlackmoreJamie Dawson‑8‑7463417
6th787Paul RobertsWill Rand553‑9‑9720
7th795Amir ShamsuddinNick Pye‑10‑9577625
8th798James GardnerAnne Gardner76(DNC)5(DNC)DNS31
9th786Geri FemorLeaky Femor(DNF)(RET)DNC115332
10th756Barry PriceGuy Raines68(RET)108(DNS)32
11th770Simon HadleyCharlie Hadley9(RET)(RET)8RETDNS43
12th694Alistair MoppettThe Freezer(RET)10(DNC)DNCDNCDNC49

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