B14 NATIONAL TITLES DAY 4
The final day, and the National Title still to be decided, between Pig’s Arse, the overnight leader (Nick Richardson and Mark Padgett, TAS) and Sly Bone (Guy Bancroft and David Grace, VIC). Toxic (David Lorimer and Rafael Heale, VIC) decided not to compete with Raf still injured.
Conditions were a little heavier, 12 to 15 knots, easing to 10 knots with some rain.
Race 9, and the start was a bit hectic, with many not able to lay the pin. The Nude (Richie Reynolds and Lissa McMillan, NSW) and Siren (Gerry Brown and Chris Fermor (Leaky) – UK) had a fabulous start, but first to the top mark were the consistent leading group of Pig’s Arse, (Nick Richardson and Mark Padgett, TAS), Bonework (Scott Cunningham and Jason Walker, VIC) and Sly Bone (Guy Bancroft and David Grace, VIC). The lead didn’t change much after that, but The Plumbers (Ian and David Cunningham, VIC) and Sly Bone got through Bonework. The Nude came 5th, beating sistership The Prudes (James and Angus Luffman, NSW) who had a terrific race, coming back to the class after a two year break.
The win by Pig’s Arse secured the National Championships for Nick Richardson and Mark Padgett.
Race 10 and the start was chaotic, with three boats over at the start. Sly Bone went around and restarted, and headed off to the right hand side of the course on their own. The Last Gasp (Chris Bibby and James Huggett, VIC) were OCS, having a shocker of a day after technical difficulties forced them out of Race 9. Castleton Plumbing and Yachting (Drew Malcolm and Josh Phillips, NSW), who had chartered the boat for the event, were also OCS. New team on Buggar the Bone, Nick Darlow and brother Charlie Darlow from VIC, had a blinder – first round the top mark and leading for most of the race. Craftsman Homes (Adrian Beswick and father John, TAS), were second round the top mark. The Craftsman Homes boat was made famous earlier in the year, when Adrian Beswick and crew Josh Philips crossed Bass Strait in their B14 in order to raise money for research on the facial tumour disease that is endangering the Tasmanian Devil. (Donate online at www.strait4devils.com.au).
The usual suspects came to the front, however, with the order at the finish the same as the order for the National Championships - Pig’s Arse first, then Sly Bone, and Bonework. Having a fantastic regatta in a new boat, Blown Seal came fourth (Kelvin Boyle and Mike McDonald from VIC), followed by Kelvin’s old boat – Siren, chartered by UK rockstars, Geraldine Brown and Chris Fermor (Leaky). Buggar the Bone came 6th, a promising result for this new team – if only the crew would work a little harder on his calves. Hunt Leather (Sophie Hunt and Andrew Payne, NSW), came 7th, then 8th was The Nude, and 9th was Epic (Chris Wells and Rani Dabner, TAS). 10th was Craftsman Homes.
It was a terrific regatta, despite the grey days – the wind was steady, with plenty of shifts to play, with no blowouts or drifters, and a good range for most crews, from 8 to 18 knots across the four days. The standard of racing was the best ever, in the opinion of many who’ve been in the class for a very long time. Belmont 16ft Skiff Club provided excellent operational support – and what a rigging area! Great for Crews Union volleyball.
The next regatta is the World Championships, to be held at Carnac, in Brittany, France, a well-known skiff- sailing mecca, in July 2010. The fleet for Carnac looks to be the biggest ever for a B14 Worlds. The Australian Association is organising containers with great sponsorship lined up, so there should be a strong Australian contingent.