A report from the first big UK event of the year, part of the "Sailjuice Global Warmup" series
Two B14s made the trek to Grafham for the annual Grand Prix handicap event on the 2nd of January. Those that attended were greeted by a cold but sunny 15 – 18 knot breeze.
Race 1 and Seavolution1 (Mark Barnes/Dan Hare) made a late appearance on parade due to a rigging issue, but just cleared the starting fleet whilst hammering it downwind. The rounded the pin and gave chase. Over the first round they slowly broke through the RS400s etc, then chased after the MPSs. Over the next 2 rounds, they slowly got into the mix and picked up the back end RS800s. At the finish, they had two MPSs in front of them with a gaggle of RS800s and one 49er.
Race 2 and the breeze had picked up a bit. They were joined on the start line by fleet new comers B14 655 (Sam Blocksidge, Adrian Walker). Off the start Seavolution got the jump on the fleet bar one 49er. At the windward mark they rounded 4th but struggled to hold off the RS800s. With the 49er and a couple of the RS800s opening up a bit, they managed to hang on to the rest and close them upwind. With the gybing progressing and teamwork coming together, Seavolution 1 had the RS800s watching their wing mirrors and of course ex RS800 helm Ian Martin in his MPS, wondering how he can beat a B14 (well we just snuck him overall).
On the last hoist Seavolution 1, had the wrap from hell and had to drop the kite and rehoist it. This allowed one MPS to pass, but on rounding the leeward mark to the finish, there was now only 3 – 4 boat lengths in it. Seavolution tacked inside and sprinted for the line. On the line the B14 was ahead on the water but the bias of the line gave a dead heat and the MPS got the nod.
The day finished with a 5th and 4th. So with more polished teamwork by both of us (very rusty but no swims), things look good for the Starcross Steamer, the first event of the Seavolution B14 Winter Series on the 15th January. The boys in B14 655 looked like they were enjoying their new ship and hopefully we’ll see more of them in the near future.
Editor's Note: if you've been to a big event, whether part of the Seavolution B14 series, the Sailjuice series or otherwise, and fancy writing a report, please contact Al via the forum. It would be great to have more than one report if there's several boats there! If you've got photos that we can use (we must have copyright clearence on them) even better- nothing spices up a report like pictures - Al