by Mike Bees and Mark Barnes, 26 Apr.
The B14 bandwagon headed to the south coast after a bruising Rutland Inlands a few weeks ago. Over the weekend of the 23rd - 24th April, we were promised sun and fair wind. The sun arrived as ordered but the weather gods were to play their joker with the wind.
by Mark Watts 23 Mar 10:48 GMT 19-20 March 2022
With a long-range forecast showing sunshine and a nice breeze there was a lot of pre-event excitement to open the season with the annual trip to Rutland. Sadly a few hiccups along the way led to a reduced turnout, excuses ranging from the now old excuse of Covid, to car accidents (on the way to the event) and what seems to be a sudden shortage of crews (scared off perhaps after a lack of winter training by the pre-event news article mentioning big guns!).
It seems such a long time ago, but the last show most of us would have attended would have been the 2020 Dinghy Show at Ali Pali just before the first lockdown.
In that time much has passed, Restart Sailing has been born carrying the banner for UK sailing, and against the odds we saw sailing as a sport prevail with championships held for many classes in the back half of 2021, and sailing as a whole increased participation as many rekindled their love for outdoor activities.
So it is to 2022 that we look to put the experience of the last two years with lockdowns and curtailing of many events behind us. Be it rekindling friendships and attending events to see what others are doing and to test our skills against like-minded people. To this end the B14 class has a full calendar in 2022 which can be found on www.b14.org, though this has not been without change due to having to postpone the 2022 Worlds at Garda until July 2023 to allow inclusion of our Antipodean friends/competitors, so removing uncertainty of whether they could get a container and/or themselves there by the end of June. However, we have a European and National Championships at Whitstable Yacht Club commencing on the 1st September for four days. One not to be missed, racing on waters where many championships have been held over the years. With competitors coming from across Europe it will be the focal point of the 2022 season.
Further to that, as we are seeing people returning to structured sailing events, the B14 class are looking for people who would be interested in crewing or possibly helming B14s in 2022. You do not need to have previous B14 experience. If interested come to stand C30 and/or also join the FaceBook page B14 Sailors and leave a post. You may just get that experience that you have been looking for from fun high performance sailing.
At the exhibition over the weekend of 27th – 28th February, we will be exhibiting on stand C30 close to the main stage. On show will be the all-conquering B14 GBR799, Rapid Fire, Team Seavolution/North Sails, sailed by Mark Barnes (Seavolution) and Charlotte Horlocke and will be in all her pomp. Having won both the Nationals and TT series in 2021, she will be exhibiting the latest thinking in B14 sailing and North Sails latest mainsail development which is now being used by several teams.
Over the weekend, members of the fleet will be available to discuss all aspects relating to the B14, whether looking to join, current or past member of the fleet, all are welcome. With much activity during lockdown where we saw the second-hand market evaporate, we now have several top B14s coming to market as teams look to upgrade or consolidate where they have more than one B14, plus Seavolution have a brand new B14 in stock if you fancy an all gleaming all dancing weapon. So if looking to attend the 2022 Europeans or 2023 Worlds, there is not a better time to pick up a top package ready to prance your stuff at the big regattas in what is considered to be the fastest non-foiling non-trapeze dinghy. Therefore, if you want that adrenalin rush sailing against some of the UKs best sailors, you need look no further. We look forward to welcoming you onto the stand over the weekend.
It looks like the B14 2022 TT series is kicking off with a bang over the weekend of the 19th - 20th March at Rutland Sailing Club. The class's five main winning protagonists over the recent period will all be there.
Lining up will be Harken GBR 796 (Nick Craig/Toby Lewis, current World and multiple event/class Champions), Team Seavolution/North Sails GBR 799 (Mark Barnes/Charlotte Horlock current National and multiple class champions), Blue Badge GBR 771 (Mike Bees/Martin Worth, past multiple champions), Highland Girl GBR 774 (Dave Hayes/Pete Nicholson, past multiple champions) and Brightmile GBR 797 (Mark Watts/Matt Johnson, multiple podium finisher). A line up that would match that of just about any domestic class, with possibly only the Merlin Rockets at their strongest bettering, of which three of these teams also compete in.
So if you fancy testing yourselves to see how you match up against these 5 teams of which several will need no introduction, do not be intimidated, then you need to be on that start line to experience probably some of the best dinghy racing in the UK over that weekend. With the 2022 season starting off with a bang and a full calendar leading in to the Europeans at Whitstable one of the UKs pre-eminent bits of racing water on 1st - 4th September 2022, if you fancy skiff racing, then you need look no further if you really would like to know how you match up against some of the fastest dinghy sailors in the UK.
There are currently a couple of top B14s on the second-hand list www.b14.org just waiting for the right teams to take them on their next adventure. Also if you would like to get involved as a crew of helm then go to the FaceBook page B14 Sailors and join in the discussions.
Designed by Julian Bethwaite and based on the Bethwaite 18 footer, you've no doubt been watching the JJ on 18footer.TV on YouTube (now the Murrey designed 18), well you could get an idea of the taste of what it could be like racing a B14 here in Blighty. Just imagine going downwind with 50 sq.m. of sail area doing 20 or more knots grinning from ear to ear as you get that adrenaline rush.
So if you want so great sailing at some great venues, sailing a great dinghy with a bunch of friendly but competitive souls, then you need to be in a B14 testing yourselves against these teams.
See all on the water in 2022 and lets all have a great season.