B14s Line up for the start

A game of Snakes and Ladders

A healthy turnout of 16 B14s enjoyed close racing with almost every boat leading a race at shifty Stokes Bay on 16-17 April for round 2 of the GUL B14 circuit. B14 turnouts are on the up as the class builds towards the Europeans and Worlds in Garda at the end of June where 40+ boats are expected with 2 Australian containers already on their way.

Gul Logo

With the course set well inshore, Saturday's sailing was very shifty with sailors having to weigh up heading inshore to escape the tide or out to sea for more pressure. It was hard finding a clear pattern so consistency was challenging, racing was close and over the weekend almost every boat had moments of glory. Team Harken (Nick Craig and supercrew Tom Pygall) emerged as overnight leaders with 2,4,1. B14 legends Team GUL/North Sails (Mark Barnes/Charlotte Jones) were remarkably consistent with three 3rds and early GUL B14 circuit leaders Blue Badge (Mike Bees/Ferret) weren't far behind on 4,5,2. North Sails (Alan Davis/Rich Bell) won the opening race by a country mile and perhaps should have been awarded 2 race wins for ducking to finish a lap early and still managing to come back and win the race again! Torq (Gerry Fermor/Leaky) enjoyed the light winds to nearly win race 2 from ex World Champions The Anthill Mob (Tim Harrison/Jonny Ratcliffe).


Copyright Tim Olin

Saturday evening all the fleets attended the curry night and Dan Vincent’s quiz night. Though the B14 teams gave a good account of themselves, sadly local Stokes Bay’s Musto team won

After a short postponement on Sunday, the fleet got underway in very shifty winds as the sea breeze fought the light gradient breeze. The sea breeze finally won out to deliver a steady, solid force 3...whilst we were packing our boats up! This was a day of snakes and ladders as the wind shifted by up to 100 degrees and varied from almost no wind to full planning. Blue Badge won the opening race from North Sails with which Blue Badge took the event lead. Seavolution (Josh Wilce/Will Hall) had their best race of the weekend holding on to 4th on a very light wind last run.


Copyright Tim Olin

In race 5, Blue Badge had a very close race with Team Harken who crucially just took the lead on the last run to win leaving Blue Badge needing at least a 3rd in the last race to win overall. Blue Badge looked like they had the event in the bag as they picked the best shifts on the 1st beat of the last race to lie 2nd behind Eeyore (Mark Watts/Chris Bishop), with Team Harken back in 5th half way through the race. However, the wind turned inside out and then the sea breeze came in from the left dropping Blue Badge to 5th.


Copyright Tim Olin

The Anthill Mob have returned to the class after a 2 year break and got faster as the weekend progressed finishing with a 3rd and bullet to snatch 3rd overall, on equal points with the consistent Team GUL/North Sails.

The top 4 B14s were separated by 3 points and top 5 finished within 6 points of each other showing the great close racing the B14s are enjoying.

Round 3 of the B14 Flying Circus is at Whitstable on May 21 - 22 where the class will also benefit from a coaching day by Olympic skiff coach Bunny Warren


Copyright Tim Olin

Overall results


GUL B14 Circuit after 2 rounds

1st Blue Badge (Mike Bees/ Ferrett) 3

2nd The Anthill Mob (Tim Harrison/Jonny Ratcliffe) 5

3rd Team GUL/North Sails (Mark Barnes/Charlotte Jones) 6


More Images from the weekend can be found HERE


Report written by Nick Craig

All photos copyright Tim Olin