The 5th Ullman Sails TT Event was held at Whitstable Yacht Club over the weekend of the 5th & 6th June. With the World Championships on the horizon the results of the latest event in the Ullman Sails B14 UK Series were going to be watched with interest. A compact but incredibly competitive fleet arrived at Whitstable YC for an event shared with the Musto Skiffs and Cherubs. The fleet was greeted by sunshine and very little breeze however all the locals were promising a Whitstable classic sea breeze.
The fleet launched in anticipation of a building breeze although the sea breeze struggled to settle in, the racing progressed in 6 to 8 knots of breeze from the east. In the first race Tim Harrison and Jonny Ratcliffe in 758 started too close to the pin of the port biased line touching the mark spinning and restarting, they took the first opportunity to head out to the left hand side of the course where they found themselves a 20 degree shift and a lead that they held to the finish ahead of a group of boats including North Sails/Gul (Dave Hayes & Rich Bell), Dynamic Sails (Dave Dobrijevic & Phil Eltringham) and Chris Bines & Dave Gibbons.
The following 3 races all followed a very similar trend. North Sails/Gul dominated all races leading from start to finish, behind them Leaky Pipes (Gerry Brown and Leaky) who stepped in the boat for the first time this season featured strongly - usually arriving at the first windward mark in 2nd place chased by Dynamic sails and Tim & Jonny. With North Sails/Gul way out front, these three boats had some close racing, being all really suited to the marginal planing conditions, Chris Bines & Dave Gibbons were always close, capitalising on any mistakes, with Seavolution (Mark Barnes and Paul Smith) featuring in race 2 with a third place.
Overnight it was North Sails/Gul - who have won the majority of TT events this year - leading with their three bullets. The fleet enjoyed Whitstable Yacht Clubs' hospitality which is without doubt a favourite of the fleet. Sunday was overcast with a forecast for thundery showers, no chance of a sea breeze. After a short postponement while the wind filled in, racing started in a westerly wind and more marginal planing conditions.
Sunday it was Dynamic Sails who shone, they won the first race from North Sails/Gul and Team Gill (Nick Craig & MJ). In the next, the variable conditions led to a lot of place changes both upwind and downwind, Dynamic Sails were the early leaders with Leaky Pipes and Tim & Jonny both having a go at the front. At the finish Tim & Jonny won, Leaky Pipes overtook Dynamic Sails on the last run after losing out from Gerry dropping the main sheet earlier. In what turned out to be the last race of the day Dynamic Sails again took the early lead, North Sails/Gul were lagging at the first mark, having gone hard left off the start, and lost out more when they took an early gybe to the left on the first run. From then on Dynamics Sails sailed a conservative race as a big black cloud was lurking to the right hand side of the course, which Tim & Jonny used to close the gap. On the last lap the black cloud caught up with the race course, Dynamic Sails just got over to the right hand side of the course to join Tim & Jonny, as the wind shifted 90 degrees, they held on to.
With the postponed start and the significant wind shift at the end of Race 7 the race officer, Howard Paterson, continued his solid weekend’s work with a sensible decision to call it a day, leaving Tim & Jonny with the event victory by 1 point from North Sails/Gul in second. Dynamic Sails took third. With teams of the calibre of Team Gill along with Tim Fells & Sandy Ramus in 7th and 8th overall the quality of the fleet really shone through.