September 2nd will see the B14 Flying Circus descend on Porthpean SC for the 3 day National Championships. A quick review of entries suggests that there is a strong top group with a few others within the fleet capable of upsetting the order. Forecast is looking good with mixed conditions which should see a bit of variation at the front
Here is a selection of the "Runners and Riders":
796 – Nick Craig & Toby Lewis (Harken)
Current National Champion with Tom Pygall, Toby Tastic taking a break from nappy changing etc is looking to keep this team on song and holding on to the trophy in their fast Seavolution B14. Both having recently been at the Merlin Champs, they should be gunning for it with Nick looking to get another run at the Endeavour Trophy.
Odds: 7/4 (Fav)
795 – Mark Barnes & Charlotte Jones (GUL/North Sails)
Builder/supplier of the B14 and 2007 Nationals winner and one of the in form teams over the last year in their Seavolution B14, having had an indifferent Worlds by their standard, due to injury and running the event, are back looking to place their stamp on the event. Will Char out muscle the boys on the hoists and drops, the record says yes but the results will tell all. Jonny having run out of holiday, is busy at home ironing his kite ready for the next face off with Char.
791 – Mark Watts & Chris Bishop (P&B/Flying Donkey)
Will be looking to do something special after their performance at the Euro/Worlds in Garda, especially if there is big breeze. Having gone over the handle bars during the Gorrick 12 hour race last weekend but not breaking anything, will we see this team doing the same in their B14. Also, will they perform in the light to moderate conditions. This will be the telling of whether they claim the big one or not. Another podium favourite.
785 – Peter Knight & Jane Reeves (Demelza)
Returning to the fold after a good start at Garda, but being unable to complete the series due to illness, how quickly will they perform in their Ovington ship. Fast and tactically astute, especially in the light. The breeze over 2 days should be to their liking. Question is, will they do enough to hold on in the breeze as they are towards the light side in the front pack.
786 – Gerry Fermor Brown & Leaky (Torq)
The team that often goes below the radar, how fast can they push their Ovington ship. Big question is how hurt is Leaky after meeting a tree during the Gorrick 12 (mountain bike) hour race last weekend. It seems to be a habit as another member of the fleet goes under the knife tomorrow for a bike injury and two others will not be there due to recovery from bike induced operations. Think the B14 fleet should be banned from competing in such events, but it is an adrenalin rush and when the likes of Trish Dixon get on the podium, it probably is worth the risk. Anyway if all is good they should be chasing down and occasionally beating the favoured teams.
787 – Alan Davis & Richard Bell (North Sails/Troublegum)
This team in the Ovington ship have plenty of experience and a good performance at the Euros/Worlds at Garda. They were knocking on the door in some races and getting faster as the days progressed. Being
consistent will be the key. Will Rich keep Alan on the straight and narrow with a podium looming up on the last day or will Wattsy and Bish do Alan in at the bar if a threat on the water.
772 Kathy Sherratt (Watts) & Declan Clamp (Girl Power)
Helming her own Ovington ship this year, these 2 have shown some great speed at the Euros/Worlds at Garda, with a podium finish in one race and crossing the fleet off the start on port. Courage they do not lack, balls they have plenty, plus Kathy survived the Gorrick 12 hour race intact. This team may well be in the mix, but who will have the bragging rights amongst the girl helms this weekend.
With some of the other fast teams either broken or run out of holiday due to already having done two plus weeks in Torbole Garda (Beezer holidays), this will give some other teams including some of the new faces, a chance to shine at the front and have their moment of glory.
The class has been well supported during the year by GUL and there are some great bits/prizes to be had for the teams that attend the Nationals this year
The key prizes that the middle order teams will be keen to get their hands on where they can qualify, will be first newcomer and tin rig. Another prize worth its weight is the Endeavour Trophy for the last boat to complete all races.
Wherever in the results the teams end up, they will be subjected to the usual friendly welcome of the B14 fleet and Porthpean SC. With a good mix of socials and pasties on the water 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!