B14 Nationals action 2013July 10th will see the UK B14 fleet descend on Paignton SC for one of the most competitive National Championships in recent years. A quick review of entries suggests nearly half of the fleet are capable of winning races.


Photo: 2013 Nationals. (c)Stuart France

Here are a selection of the "Runners and Riders":

758 – Tim Harrison & Jonny Ratcliffe (Anthill Mob)
Current World Champions. But haven't been in a boat together since then (or so they would have us believe...). If it comes together and the breeze is light-to-moderate these two will be difficult to beat.
Odds: 7/4 (Fav)

757 – Ben McGrane & Olivier Vidal (P&B South)
Current European Champions (Ben with Mrs. McGrane) it would surely take some kind of idiot to bet against this team - though maybe the other favourites Bees and Harrison might take that bet? Winners of the last TT - but not by much.
Odds: 7/4 (Fav)

771 – Mike Bees & Ferrett (Blue Badge)
Current National Champion. With both boat and helm having had significant physical upgrades this year they will be looking for a repeat their 2013 result. Would be a huge surprise if they were not on the podium.
Odds: 7/4 (Fav)

791 – Mark Watts & Chris Bishop (Ullman Sails)
Will be looking to do something special as this is their last event together as a team. 2nd in 2013's breezy Nationals they are a good 'each way' bet for a podium, but can struggle for consistency in lighter conditions.
Odds: 6/1

788 – Mark Barnes & TBC (Seavolution)
The self-styled supplier of the fastest B14s in the Northern Hemisphere likely needs a little more time in the boat to replicate his 2007 Nationals win. However, it would be a gutsy call to bet against a podium place, especially in mixed conditions.
Odds: 6/1

785 – Peter Knight & Jane Reeves (Demelza)
Fast and tactically astute, this team should go well in the potentially tricky Torbay conditions. A very solid 5th at the last Worlds is a fair reflection of potential. If light-moderate expect this team to be pushing the podium places.
Odds: 13/2

761 – Chris Lewns & Tom Pygall
Both ex. B14ers who have returned to the fleet this year – probably with an eye on a certain winter event in Australia over Christmas and New Year – these two made an immediate impact in the light and shifty Whitstable TT event with a 2nd place overall. Slightly unknown quantity, could spring a surprise.
Odds: 13/2

786 – Gerry Fermor Brown & Leaky (Torq)
Consistent and hugely competitive in light to moderate conditions. Very capable of multiple race wins in Odds: 16/1

787 – Alan Davis & Toby Barsley-Dale (Troublegum)
This team haven't sailed together much this year (once) but plenty of experience. Close to a podium at the last round of the TT series, losing 3rd on count-back to the Leakies in Torq. A consistent series should put them comfortably inside the top 10.
Odds: 20/1

772 – Kathy Sherratt & Charlotte Jones (Trunky)
Having led the UK TT series for most of the year with consistent good performances, Kathy – sailing with SuperCrew™ Char – will show a few of the all-male teams a clean transom. Might struggle slightly with strategy if the Torbay winds don't play ball, but will be pushing for a solid top 10 position.
Odds: 25/1

620 – Scott Gray & Charles Coulborn
Newcomers to the fleet this year these two shown to be very capable of good individual race results at TT level. Would certainly win the concours prize (if there was one...) for their immaculate boat which puts a lot of (all?) newer ships to shame.
Odds: 25/1

769 – Dan Cowin & Dan Hollands (Marlow)
764 – Tony Blackmore & Meg Baker (Ronstan / Kingfisher Ropes)
762 – Crispin Taylor & Guy (Not Another Asbo)
756 – Carl Raynes & Guy Raynes
All these teams will be knocking on the door of the Top 10, all can throw in one or two good low single figure results – including race wins – in certain conditions.
Odds: 33/1

With 10-15 other teams also expected, including many new faces, the mid-fleet results are difficult to place odds on with teams like [sail number order]:

789 – Henry Metcalf & Chris Webber. A new team from Restronguet in a proven boat, could throw a surprise.
783 – Henry Wells & TBC. Always capable of springing a surprise.
768 – James Gardner & Anne Gardner. Solid performers after a couple of years in the boat, will be looking to finish a few races inside the top 10.
766 – Barry Price & Al Storer (HB&R Consulting). Will round the windward mark first in one race.
763 – Don Forster & Sean Dwyer/Sarah Turnbull-Ditler (Minibus). The return of past European Champion crew, Dwyer, for "a bit of a laugh" might be a genius move if the wind blows.
744 – Chris Duffin & Harvey Nott. Haven't had much time with the TT fleet this season but a few days in Torbay will put that right.
735 – Tom Gatehouse & Kate Wardle (Fluorescent Adolescent). Improving with every event and heading to Australia for the Worlds.

And expect the "Tin Rig" teams of Paddy/Steve, Tom/Stafford, Chris/Daniela & Ben/Stephen to be fighting hard for both handicap points (points make prizes!) and some significant bragging rights by beating newer boats sprouting bits of carbon.

Wherever in the results the teams end up they will be subjected to the usual friendly welcome of the B14 fleet and Paignton SC. With a good mix of socials included in the entry fee the off-water activity promises to be as good as the sailing.

Entries are still coming in. The forecast looks great. We'll see you there!