Despite forecasts suggesting breeze well over 25 knots all weekend a number of teams made the trip to Queen Mary SC to battle for the 2013 Inlands Title. A rather unusual scene the fleet must have made on arrival with many teams packing as much mountain biking kit as sailing kit just in case!!  It was to prove to be unused for most..


Bullet-B JosWill power downwind on day 1

Bullet-B powers downwind on day 1

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First off the beach were “Seavolution” GBR 788 (Mark Barnes/Johnny Radcliffe) launching into a large squall that led to a bit of roadblock on the slipway for the rest of the fleet. Thankfully the wind moderated and the fleet headed out into a variable breeze with some significant lulls and squalls sure to make for interesting racing.


Race 1 got away in 20+ knots and it was GBR 748 “Bullet-B” (Josh Wille/Will Hall) that led the charge upwind into the left hand corner, chased hard by GBR 791 “Team Ullman Sails” (Mark Watts/Chris Bishop) chased by the pack led by “ Seavolution” and GBR 771 “Blue Badge “ (Mike Bees/Ferrett).


With big changes in pressure and direction all teams over stood the lay line to the bottom gate leading to a fleet of over pressed B14’s charging in towards the bottom mark and an adrenaline filled first run.  “Bullet B” led round but on the tack back to the windward gate got caught in irons allowing “Ullman Sails” to pass and subsequently  extend away from the fleet to take the race by  minute. “Bullet-B” holding of the challenge from the pack to take second, “Seavolution” sneaking through to third on the last run.


Dan Hollands recovers a sheet

Dan sends Dan to rescue the kite sheet!

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Race 2 and with the wind moderating some of the teams on super windy settings started to look worried. The race got away in sub 15 knots with the fleet closely bunched and no clear right way up the beat in the shifts.

At the top Mark “Seavolution” led from “Blue Badge”, “Ullman Sails” third. Early gybes from both “Seavolution” and “Ullman Sails” saw them hook into new pressure. “Blue Badge” losing out the fleet with a later gybe allowing GBR 787 “Troublegum” (Alan Davis/Charlotte Jones) through to third.


The next beat saw little change at the front and with the left now clearly favoured down the run the leaders set off to chase each other down the left. With the breeze increasing and “Ullman Sails” breathing down their neck the high pressure gybe back into the bottom gate was too much for “Seavolution” who hit the tide (despite having the current world champion crew on board…). “Ullman Sails” sailed away for another clear win with “Troublegum” also extending on the pack to take second. “Blue Badge” taking third.


Team Ullman Sails leading the fleet round the top mark

Team Ullman Sails leads the fleet around the top mark

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Race 3 and with the breeze piping up again and a pin biased line it was a charge to the left corner. “Ullman Sails” dropping into a fast low mode to extend away from the fleet, only to be caught as the breeze shifted right, compressing the fleet. At the top mark it was “Ullman Sails” from the pack in a large rain storm. Down the next run with the wind shifting considerably and fading on the back of the rain it was  GBR 786 “Leaky Pipes” (Gerry Fermor/Leaky Fermor) who took up second from “Blue Badge” third.


With the beat now being very one sided it was a boat speed race for the next few laps. Each lap saw “Leaky Pipes” eat into the lead of “Ullman Sails” as the breeze dropped to foredeck conditions for the crew!!! Up the final beat “Leaky Pipes” came through for the lead from “Ullman Sails” who were now seriously questioning the decision to use old sails for the weekend and the pre event pie diet!


Down the final run “Leaky Pipes” stretched away for a deserved win,  “Ullman Sails” suffered from an early gybe, “Blue Badge” rounding just in front at the gate”.  An early tack from “Blue Badge” saw them heading to the unflavoured end of the line with “Ullman Sails” briefly hooking into a lift further right. In the end it wasn’t enough and “Blue Badge” took a well-earned third.


The fleet headed in just in time for the wind to build again to 20+ knots.


I would like to say the evening was a dancing filled, beer packed evening but that would be a lie.. Instead it became a mass Man (and Woman) vs food battle at the now legendary Goat pub.. Winners were Mark Cockrill and Alan Davis.. both consuming a starter and the ridiculous large carvery..

Sadly this seemed to put most of the fleet into a food coma and a rather quiet (by B14 standards) end to the evening apart from a small Wine based after party for a select few!


Day 2 dawned… windy…  well actually not as windy as forecast. Much chin scratching was seen as the start time approached and a few boats tentatively rigged to the sound of whistling rigging. The QM wind gauge reading wind to 24 knots.. just shy of the class limit. In the end it was Josh and Will in “Bullet-B” that rigged and hit the water to show us how it was done in a repeat of their nationals bravery/stupidity! With the wind increasing further and 4+ people needed to hold down boats to rig “Ullman Sails” followed them out.. The wind now apparently reading 21 knots. 2 more boats made it before it became almost impossible/foolish to launch.. (now apparently 18 knots).


4 boats eventually started Race 4, “Blue Badge” arriving a couple of minutes late..  The first beat was challenging with at times barely any sail in at all. The top mark under the trees/bank saw the wind doing seeming circles and varying from 5 to 30+ knots.. “Ullman Sails” led round after barely missing a windward capsize. “Seavolution” not so lucky or a bit too slow and hit the tide in the same random breeze.

Down the first run “Bullet-B” gybed early, hooked into a huge gust.. and were frankly off!… “Ullman Sails” eventually getting out of the on/off doldrums of the strangest wind ever to follow down in second. “Seavolution” third from a rapidly catching “Blue Badge”… .The rest of the race is to be honest a bit a blur, through shock/adrenalin..


“Seavolution” found the tide again.. swam for a long time and called it a day.

“Blue Badge” got to lap three… saw the forestay going slack down the runs and decided enough was enough and ran for safety.

“Bullet-B” and “Ullman Sails” raced on.. Top speed to Ullman Sails of 19.4 knots.. shortly before noticing the rudder bar was coming lose, stopping for emergency repairs… and deciding to save the boat by waiting for Josh and Will in “Budget-B” to lap them in a ball of spray and take the win.. “Ullman Sails” taking second thanks to the grand prix finishes.


With “Ullman Sails” wounded they headed for the shore.. the ride back unforgettably windy !!! Josh and Will in “Budget-B” are clearly mad/talented and sent it down the lake with the kite to record 18.9 knots.. Ullman Sails nursing the boat back without a kite at 17.9 knots!!

Back on the shore the wind gauge read 17 knots before the wind built further and it stopped spinning completely J


With the scores worked out “Ullman Sails” took the title from national champions “Blue Badge” second. Josh and Will “Bullet-B” being rewarded for their performance on Sunday by claiming third overall.

So a fantastic end to the season, thanks to Queen Mary SC and the team for hosting us and running the event despite the less than great forecast and a reduced turnout. And to the Cherubs for being great event partners.

The class looks forward to a few winter events before we kick of the 2014 season at Rutland and the build up to the January 2015 Worlds in Melbourne.