After an hour of waiting for the wind to arrive, competitors hit the water in a building but none the less soft North Easterly. Light weight crews were keen to get on the water to make the most of their favoured conditions. In particular the chance was there for the Pommie B14s to show their prowess in the light shifty winds.
Two races No. 9 – 10, with the second drop coming into force, there was all to play for with two groups, 2 – 5 and 6 – 12 to be decided. The first race was to be 2 laps with cut off at 1530 after the first race was delayed due to wind till approx. 1345
Race nine got underway in a light 3-8 knot North Easterly. The fleet broke away at the start with a late shift making the pin end nicely biased for the rabble staking out a position on the line around the Red Caltas Mark. At the boat end of the line a number of local sailors gathered hoping to make the most of the prevailing North East conditions and tacked off early from the line to hit the hard right. Middle Island normally offers the chance to get a lift up into the top mark and holds the North East breeze well, but the prevailing winds were shifting to the North as a sea breeze influence battled the gradient wind.
Boats who started on the pin end following the pre race wind shift were able to tack early and take a lift well into the top of the windward work to round first at the top mark. Off the line, it was Bonus (AUS – Bangers/Louis) Shadowed to windward, then lee bow by Team GUL/North Sails (GBR – Barnsie/Lauren) and Team Harken/Sandeline (GBR - Nick/Tobes). Up the beat the first 2 climbed out in pressure to round 1 – 2 with Team Harken 2 (GBR - Simon/Nikki) followed by Team Harken/Sandeline.
Crews who went right didn’t pick up the classic conditions normally experienced in these winds and fell into the middle of the pack at the top mark. This group was lead by Rocketship who rounded in around 15th position and chose to gybe as they rounded the top mark to head down in the North East puff which got them out of the incoming tide. Luckily for them they managed to jump up the fleet to make the most of the pressure they carried down.
Down the run Team Harken/Sandeline in 4, gybed first into the new pressure, then sweeping up Team Harken 2 who gybed, but not reaching the two leaders. Team GUL/North Sails gybed next taking the medicine and slipping to 3 with Bonus (recovering to 8) slipping back further as the fleet came down in pressure. By the leeward gate Team GUL/North Sails had managed to get over Team Harken 2 by the narrowest of margins, which released them to chase Team Harken/Sandeline.
Up the next beat Team Harken/Sandeline loose covered Team GUL/North Sails as these two pulled away. However, contrary to the script Pinky and the Brain (AUS – Kirsty (Scotland)/Jules) under the radar snuck into 3. This superlight crew, were on a charge and closed up on the two leaders, with Team GUL/North Sails dropping a cover tack to them to make sure that they could not quite get on their coat tails.
So down the last run, Team Harken/Sandeline led to the finish from a closing Team GUL/North Sails, with the ever present, Pinky and the Brain in pursuit looking for the elusive pressure to pop them onto the plain. Alas it did not happen and the leaders closed out the championship’s last race in that order with 4 GBR teams in the top 5 of race 9. Race 10 did not happen due to the clock running down and no suitable breeze which meant that the GBR teams were not going to get the chance to have a second go at sending some of the heavier teams that had reveled in the breeze down the mine shaft as they collected big scores.
Team Harken/Sandeline had already won but how the results were to play out would need a mathematician to see who ended up where. 3 – 4 (Bonework/Snatch) was decided on countback, Team GUL/North Sails climbed from 11 to 7 and were 1 point off 6, Bonework and Snatch had missed the bullet by not having another race which would have sent them down the snake with others coming up the ladder. Australia won the Ashes for the best top 10 score
A great event organized by John and Adrian Beswick with Amanda/Steve’s team ashore and Peter Sluce’s team afloat. Bell Bay delivered in bucket loads with winds up to 32 knots (racing abandoned due to class limits of gust of 30 knots), and as little as 5 knots at the end. Thanks to the headline sponsors and race day sponsors from both hemispheres
Next Euros/Worlds are to held in Carnac 25.07.2019 – 02.08.2019. The Aussies will be there in force to win back the World Title, and Europeans to reclaim the Ashes.
UK Nationals in 2018 are at Paignton in August. With some new boats going into build, and some great front of fleet GBR B14s coming to the market in the coming months, there is not a better to chance to step into a race proven well setup ship to test your metal against the likes of Team Harken, Team GUL/North Sails or Team P&B (Jasper Barnham/Olly Wells)
Stay connected with the World fleet:
Facebook:B14 Skiff Sailing