by Paul Fleming & Craig Garmston
Storms yesterday evening were expected to play havoc with today's breeze, and by the time the fleet launched for a 1pm start the breeze was already quite an unsteady southerly, which left some of the lighter crews licking their lips at what was going to bring them some good results.
Race 5 started off in what felt like at the time a building Ora which enticed some, including series leader Nick Craig / Tobytastic (GBR 796), to go the right cliffs which were visibly closer to the start line and seemed to some as an obvious choice. Mark Watts / Matt Johnson (GBR 797) lead the left pack with Russ Gibbs / Lucy Loughton (GBR 762) and Mark Barns / Simon Reynolds (GBR 799) in hot pursuit. The down wind legs proved very tricky with gusts coming down and angles changing constantly. Wattsy / MJ defended hard but in was Russ / Lucy that took the win in the end.
With the wind slowly shutting down and flicking 45 degrees that race committee made an excellent decision to move the course to the south to ensure race 8 could be held.
Special mention to Russ / Lucy (GBR 762) who challenged the series leaders all day, and also Crispin Taylor / Guy Haril (GBR 789) for their series best results with a 4th and 5th place respectively today.
After today racing sets up the final day for a proper show down by the top 2 boats Nick / Toby (GBR 796) who lead Wattsy / MJ (GBR 797) by only a point. There is still everything to play for and it will be great to watch these teams fight it out tomorrow for the final two races of the series.
by Lissa McMillan
Day 2 of the B14 World Championships at Lake Garda started out looking like a classic “Ora” for Races 3 and 4.
But the reality wasn’t quite like that.
Official word from the race committee was 15 to 18 knots from the South. Eye-witness reports from sailors at the pointy end of the fleet put the wind at between 9 to 28 knots, or at least “well into the 20s!”. There were some very big shifts, and some dangerous doldrums.
Both races were 2 laps of 1.1 nautical miles, stretching the course a bit from the previous day.
In Race 3, the great bulk of the fleet followed the traditional wisdom of heading for the cliffs. Current regatta leaders Nick Craig and Tobytastic Lewis (GBR796) got a great start at the pin, tacked immediately, then went hard right and were never challenged.
At the first bottom gate, 2nd and 3rd placed Aussie boats from the same club were managing to sabotage each other, with Paul Newman and Leigh Dunstan (AUS378) tee-boning compatriots and good mates Craig Garmston and Paul Fleming (AUS375). Both knew each other’s sailing styles so well, they did the same manoeuvre to avoid each other, bringing them closer together. AUS375 managed to stay upright, finishing in 4th, with Mark Watts and Matt Johnson (GBR797) capitalising on the situation, and ending up in 2nd place. AUS378 withdrew from the race and came ashore for some quick repairs.
Meanwhile French team Thierry Llonch and Michael Duflos will have another morning of boatwork as FRA760 was taking on about 20 litres of water in each race. The French are famous for their submarines, but now is not the time to showcase this mode of sailing.
Out in the lead, Nick and Toby got a monstrous gust on the last run, nailing the finish in one gybe and having to drop before the finish so as not to end up in Riva. Nick described it as “wildly windy” At on point on the run Toby asked him to move back a bit, but there was no more boat left!
The high winds proved tricky for several, with not all masts pointing to the sky throughout the whole race. Amy and Dave Roberts (GBR784), newcomers to the class, did a sterling effort to pull off a high-powered gybe heading for the finish. Unfortunately they timed out by a couple of seconds!! But they showed they are quickly gaining the skills to mix it with the fleet.
Race 4 was Wattsie and MJ’s race. They snagged a massive lift up the first beat and at one point were half a leg ahead of the nearest competitor.
Joey Randall and Louis Chapman (AUS78) went for yet another pin-end port start but, despite crossing the fleet spectacularly, ended up with a U-flag disqualification after their impressive 3rd in Race 3.
This time the Malcesine side of the lake was favoured by the fleet, rather than the cliffs of the previous race. But the racing was difficult, with gusts, lulls and significant wind shifts. As well as training fleets of 29ers, Optis and IQfoils, there was the added challenge of the bottom of the course being in the windsurf hire zone! At least one windsurfer ended up strategically capsized in between the gybe marks.
While conditions were varied, they had nothing on the variety of sailors who can be competitive in the B14 class. The boat reacts well no matter the crew size combinations. With rack hiking, it doesn’t matter if it’s the crew or the helm who is bigger, lighter, taller, shorter... This flexibility allows all sorts of pairings to be competitive in this socially active class! There are women sailing on a third of the boats at this regatta, with sailors ranging in age from late teens to nearly 70. The racing is close and exciting with 2nd and 3rd on the same points and 4th to 7th separated by only one point.
It’s also great to see the Race Committee boat is almost exclusively women, led capably by Carla Malavolta. Grazie signore!
by Mark Watts
After the light show the night before and the enforced lockin at the local winebar (whilst waiting for the rain to stop) the fleet were optimistic of sunshine and the legendary Ora for Day 1.
The abbreviated version of the day from roving reporter Leaky
"Race report from behind the scenes (& behind reinforced concrete survival bunker)…..
Yeah. They all went out and used-up all the sensible air…..then, “IT” came. 😬. Quick, RUN FOR THE HILLS!
NO! NOT THE HILLS! Just RUN!………"
The full report..
After holding ashore to ensure we weren't being sent out into a dangerous thunderstorms the fleet headed out into a solid Northerly but the big holes in the breeze were a warming of things to come.
Off the line the fleet split looking for pressure with none of the favourites agreeing. In the end it was Russ Gibbs/Lucy Loughton GBR762 "ASBO" that rang the bell out left to lead round from GBR799 "Seavolution" Mark Barnes/Simon Reynolds
The first run saw a number of teams distracted by the scenery and heading for the cliffs only for the wind to shut down. The big winners "Wonky Donkey" GBR797 Mark Watts/Matt Johnson pulling through to 2nd.
The next beat and run saw plenty of snakes and ladders with ASBO holding on with a lot of place changes behind. The final beat became very patchy with a pack of boats all arriving at the windward mark together and some big losers and gainers.
The last run was super light, at the finish ASBO were pipped to first by Seavolution, recovering from their earlier sightseeing trip to the cliff. GBR 796 "Harken" Nick Craig/Toby Lewis picking some good shifts for third to make it a GBR 123. Behind were a lot of photo finishes in extremely close finishes.
Special mention to GBR 756 Paul Roberts/Guy Raynes "Erectile Distinction" for sticking it out for 2 laps despite their obvious problems…..
The looming thunderstorm meant the next race was for the beach before an opening ceremony accompanied by torrential rain and massive hailstones.
Fingers crossed Day 2 reverts to classic Garda conditions, as the sun sets in beautiful sunshine it looks promising. And if the early socials and close racing are an indicator an epic few days to come.
The battle to become supreme champions of the B14 class resumes after a break due to CV19. All kicks off with the B14 Europeans 13 – 15 the July, one lay day and then the Worlds 17 – 21nd July at the Circolo Vela, Torbole, Lake Garda. The flying circus is now in town and the party begins.
In the left corner we have the Australians and in the right, the Brits, French and Germans. The Ashes are up for grabs. Which would reign supreme with their top teams taking home the prize.
The Garda ORA blows from the south west and can produce thrilling warm winds of 20knots or more, equally the weather gods can have an off day and a light northerly will prevail. Heavier weather will suit the Macrea Aussie fleet, especially Craig Garmston/Louis Chapman, Joey Randell and Lois & from team GBR, following the last event at the Whitstable 2022 nationals showed that Nick Craig/Toby Lewis & Mark Watts/MJ raced an exceptionally tight series with Mark taking the European and Nick the national.
Lighter winds may favour the current Aussie national champions, Richie and Lissa & team Starcross YC who used the spring and summer regularly practising in all winds.
Mark Barnes previous national champion, this time with Simon Reynolds, who by their own admission have been a bit rusty will no doubt pull many good results out of the bag during the series.
The fleet is highly talented and this year has attracted excellent new sailers into the class who, despite their newness will post strong results when the conditions are right. Rumour has it that we may get further entries right up the deadline who could shake it up!
Sadly our exceptionally talented friends Francoise and Alain Cadre who are exceptionally have retired due to injury leaving Thierry Llonch & Mickael to fly the French flag and Chris Wilms and Daniela to fly the flag for Germany.
The form guide.
The best predictions of future performance is understanding recent previous results so please do keep up with the daily reports and results from the European championship that runs over three days this week. These will demonstrate just who’s on good form and who’s on great form, as we all know, it’s not over until it’s over… the worlds final form guide will published on the lay day…
You can also follow the updates on the B14 Facebook page, the webpage, B14.org and Twitter
Photography from Lotte Johnson