Feeling chilly? Fancy sailing somewhere warm, with the air temperature about 26 degrees, water temperature a balmy 22? Let’s throw in a Harbour Bridge, an Opera House, and lots of fireworks on NYE.

The first leg of the B14 NSW State Titles 2019-20 kicked off on the first weekend of November at the fabulous Illawarra Yacht Club, the venue for the fast-approaching 2020 Nationals.

B14 Form Guide Carnac

 

So the resumption of the battle to become supreme champions of the B14 class resumes over the next 10 days at Yacht Club de Carnac in France. The flying circus is now in town and the party begins

 

In the left hand corner we have the Australians and in the right hand corner we have the Brits, French and Germans

 

What we all know is that the windier it is, the more the Aussies like it, but in their back yard 18 months ago where the last back to back series was mainly windy, a Pom team, Team Harken (Nick Craig/Toby Lewis) won the big one. When it is light the Europeans come to the fore and the flatter cut AUS rigs are not so potent

 

There is also the classic fleet (pre-2001 hulls) within the main fleet and this will be hotly contested by those eligible to count

 

So for the form guide we’ll list a few teams in groups

 

Podium

 

Team Harken (3 – 1): Nick Craig/Toby Lewis, current World champions and recent National champions. Going into the event they have form and will be seen by many as the bench mark to beat. However, they have had it far from their own way at the recent Nationals and could be in the mix in most races

 

AUS 375 (5 – 1): Craig Garmston/Louis Chapman, part of the McCrae mafia. Serial performers at World and national level. Louis has won before, but Craig not. They will be flying in the breeze when it eventually arrives. Louis will be out there each morning checking on the wind count. The more the merrier for this team. Good for the podium

 

Bone Work (5 – 1): Scott Cunningham/Joey Randall, part of the McCrae mafia, and sailing 373 one of the most successful Aussie B14s. Scotty has not been sailing a B14 much over the last few years till recently,  but we know they are on form and will be quick. So on that basis, like 375, the windier it is, the more they will excel

 

Team GUL/North Sails (5 – 1): Mark Barnes/Charlotte Horlock, serial race winners this year and pushed Team Harken very hard at the recent Nationals. After a year out with cancer, Barnsie is coming back slowly to form and Char keeping a close eye on proceedings. The conditions across the series may dictate where this team finish, but right them off at your peril. If lighter conditions prevail, they’ll be in the hunt at the end

 

Team France (6 – 1): Alain and Francois Cadre, multiple national, European and World champions across and number of classes and Alain in windsurfing, they are the ones that go below the radar, but are very street wise on the tactics and maximizing opportunity. For them realistically, France’s chance of a World Champion rests on their shoulders. Good for a podium position

 

Brightline (6 – 1): Mark Watts/Matt Johnson, the nearly boys. They have been on the heals of 795 and 796, but though beating both in individual races, have yet to finish in front. They are now running North Sails this year and showing better performance across the breeze range. This could be there moment

 

GBR 774 (7 – 1): Dave Hayes/Sean Dwyer, if the old magic is going to work, then it will be these two who will be rubbing the lamp to see if they can get the Genii to play ball. Coming back together this year after a number of years away, they have won all the class’s major regattas other than the Worlds. It could be their year

 

Top 10

 

Trunky (8 – 1): Kathy Sherratt (Watts)/Josh Wilce, one of the lighter teams, but do not be deceived, they are quick across the conditions and in the light stuff, are right up there at the front. Consistency will be the key here if we get a couple of windy race days, which knowing Carnac is a goof bet. Could end up with bragging rights in the Watts household come the end of both regattas

 

The Nude (8 – 1): Richie Reynolds/Lissa McMillan known as the super lightweight team and boy do they deliver in the light stuff. However, in the heavy stuff where shear righting moment is key, these guys tend to slip back a bit. However, they will probably win one or more races over the two series, and may just be lucky enough to have one with big winds and be on the podium

 

Custom Composites (9 – 1): Paul Gifford/Rob Taylor sailing a totally revamped classic B14, aka the famous Primal Scream (original name), will be the Classic B14 that will upset the form guide and could be anywhere from 15 to 5th. Ones to watch and ones who should win the Classic fleet

 

Phantom (10 – 1): Steve Miller/Lauren Bird, one of Tasmania’s finest from Midway Points SC. Known to be quick when in the groove and shall be looking to take a few scalps come the end of the regatta. If the cards fall right , they could hit the top 10

 

Leaky Pipes (10 – 1): Gerry and Chris Fermor, one of the staying teams who will be pushing the front runners and claiming a few scalps along the way. Leaky’s dry humor may put a few off at that critical moment. Shall be interesting to see how these two fetch up come the end of the series

 

Harken 2 (11 – 1): Simon and Nikki Hadley are always in with a shout and should be in the mix at the back of the front pack, and when the fat lady sings, they’ll be picking off many of the higher rated teams

 

There are a number of other teams that will probably end up in the mix come the end. What we can be sure of, is that all will have a race where they’d rather not have finished and other races where they excel. Come the end of each regatta, you can be sure that whoever wins will be worthy champions

 

Racing starts on 25th for 3 days for the Open Euros and then a lay day, followed by 5 day World Championships. Reports will be sent in daily.

Check out the event link to the Australian National Championships for the release of the Notice of Race and Entry Form for the 2019-2020 B14 Australian Championships. 

http://b14.org/index.php/events/aus-events/60-australian-national-championships#.XNgLyygzbtRe

More information will be sent out as it's available. Happy winter sailing.