Feeling chilly? Fancy sailing somewhere warm, with the air temperature about 26 degrees, water temperature a balmy 22? Let’s throw in a Harbour Bridge, an Opera House, and lots of fireworks on NYE.

The first leg of the B14 NSW State Titles 2019-20 kicked off on the first weekend of November at the fabulous Illawarra Yacht Club, the venue for the fast-approaching 2020 Nationals.

B14 Form Guide Carnac


So the resumption of the battle to become supreme champions of the B14 class resumes over the next 10 days at Yacht Club de Carnac in France. The flying circus is now in town and the party begins


In the left hand corner we have the Australians and in the right hand corner we have the Brits, French and Germans


What we all know is that the windier it is, the more the Aussies like it, but in their back yard 18 months ago where the last back to back series was mainly windy, a Pom team, Team Harken (Nick Craig/Toby Lewis) won the big one. When it is light the Europeans come to the fore and the flatter cut AUS rigs are not so potent


There is also the classic fleet (pre-2001 hulls) within the main fleet and this will be hotly contested by those eligible to count


So for the form guide we’ll list a few teams in groups




Team Harken (3 – 1): Nick Craig/Toby Lewis, current World champions and recent National champions. Going into the event they have form and will be seen by many as the bench mark to beat. However, they have had it far from their own way at the recent Nationals and could be in the mix in most races


AUS 375 (5 – 1): Craig Garmston/Louis Chapman, part of the McCrae mafia. Serial performers at World and national level. Louis has won before, but Craig not. They will be flying in the breeze when it eventually arrives. Louis will be out there each morning checking on the wind count. The more the merrier for this team. Good for the podium


Bone Work (5 – 1): Scott Cunningham/Joey Randall, part of the McCrae mafia, and sailing 373 one of the most successful Aussie B14s. Scotty has not been sailing a B14 much over the last few years till recently,  but we know they are on form and will be quick. So on that basis, like 375, the windier it is, the more they will excel


Team GUL/North Sails (5 – 1): Mark Barnes/Charlotte Horlock, serial race winners this year and pushed Team Harken very hard at the recent Nationals. After a year out with cancer, Barnsie is coming back slowly to form and Char keeping a close eye on proceedings. The conditions across the series may dictate where this team finish, but right them off at your peril. If lighter conditions prevail, they’ll be in the hunt at the end


Team France (6 – 1): Alain and Francois Cadre, multiple national, European and World champions across and number of classes and Alain in windsurfing, they are the ones that go below the radar, but are very street wise on the tactics and maximizing opportunity. For them realistically, France’s chance of a World Champion rests on their shoulders. Good for a podium position


Brightline (6 – 1): Mark Watts/Matt Johnson, the nearly boys. They have been on the heals of 795 and 796, but though beating both in individual races, have yet to finish in front. They are now running North Sails this year and showing better performance across the breeze range. This could be there moment


GBR 774 (7 – 1): Dave Hayes/Sean Dwyer, if the old magic is going to work, then it will be these two who will be rubbing the lamp to see if they can get the Genii to play ball. Coming back together this year after a number of years away, they have won all the class’s major regattas other than the Worlds. It could be their year


Top 10


Trunky (8 – 1): Kathy Sherratt (Watts)/Josh Wilce, one of the lighter teams, but do not be deceived, they are quick across the conditions and in the light stuff, are right up there at the front. Consistency will be the key here if we get a couple of windy race days, which knowing Carnac is a goof bet. Could end up with bragging rights in the Watts household come the end of both regattas


The Nude (8 – 1): Richie Reynolds/Lissa McMillan known as the super lightweight team and boy do they deliver in the light stuff. However, in the heavy stuff where shear righting moment is key, these guys tend to slip back a bit. However, they will probably win one or more races over the two series, and may just be lucky enough to have one with big winds and be on the podium


Custom Composites (9 – 1): Paul Gifford/Rob Taylor sailing a totally revamped classic B14, aka the famous Primal Scream (original name), will be the Classic B14 that will upset the form guide and could be anywhere from 15 to 5th. Ones to watch and ones who should win the Classic fleet


Phantom (10 – 1): Steve Miller/Lauren Bird, one of Tasmania’s finest from Midway Points SC. Known to be quick when in the groove and shall be looking to take a few scalps come the end of the regatta. If the cards fall right , they could hit the top 10


Leaky Pipes (10 – 1): Gerry and Chris Fermor, one of the staying teams who will be pushing the front runners and claiming a few scalps along the way. Leaky’s dry humor may put a few off at that critical moment. Shall be interesting to see how these two fetch up come the end of the series


Harken 2 (11 – 1): Simon and Nikki Hadley are always in with a shout and should be in the mix at the back of the front pack, and when the fat lady sings, they’ll be picking off many of the higher rated teams


There are a number of other teams that will probably end up in the mix come the end. What we can be sure of, is that all will have a race where they’d rather not have finished and other races where they excel. Come the end of each regatta, you can be sure that whoever wins will be worthy champions


Racing starts on 25th for 3 days for the Open Euros and then a lay day, followed by 5 day World Championships. Reports will be sent in daily.

Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland Sailing Club

by Mike Bees & Mark Watts 27 Mar 18:07 GMT

Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

The traditional season-opener took place at Rutland on 23rd/24th March, with the fleet welcoming some new faces in the shape of Kevin and Stuart Moore and the return of some old (or should I say experienced) faces: past multiple champions Dave Hayes and Sean Dwyer.

Saturday's weather chart promised no isobars over most of the UK, but we arrived to flags flapping which at least was much better than expected. At the briefing we were told the race committee was measuring 5 knots gusting 10 down in the course area, so preferring to believe 10 rather than 5 we rigged and got going.

Race 1. The start was nothing if not keen - one who shall remain nameless later admitted being so far over that he was invisible to the race committee! Three-quarters of the way up the first beat Performance Sailboat Repairs (James & Anne Gardner) looked as though they would nail it from the right hand side, but a final spin of the roulette wheel saw Blue Badge (Mike Bees/Pete Nicholson) on the left round first from Betty B (Dave Hayes/Sean Dwyer). Blue Badge were the only boat to fly a kite on the leg between the inner and outer loop windward marks which gave them a comfortable buffer in which to sail their own race from there on. Bodge, the oldest ship in the fleet by some margin (Paul Roberts/Rob Taylor) won the battle for second followed by Betty B and PSB, these results being affected by some disputed OCSs.

Race 2. After being delayed by a breakdown en route to Rutland Brightmile (Mark Watts/MJ) joined the fray. The breeze had softened a bit and continued its trend of lifting starboard tack on the right side of the course and port tack on the left, with a 'no mans land' in the middle to be crossed at some point. Middle right looked good for Betty B but at the last roll of the dice Blue Badge came in from the left ahead of 755 (Kevin & Stuart Moore) in only their second B14 race. Again Blue Badge went for the early hoist and sailed away. Eventually Bodge and Brightmile pulled through for a race-long dice for 2nd place which was settled in that order with Trunky (Kathy Sherratt/Jon Dixon) taking fourth.

Race 3. The breeze was now showing signs of dying off altogether and flicking ominously to the right, so the PRO signalled just two laps. Sure enough the wind flicked right shortly before the start leaving those at the boat end looking initially famous, but as in the first two races the smart money was on the left - that is until the last few hundred metres before the top mark when it filled in from the right with good pressure. The first three (Trunky, Brightmile and Betty B - not necessarily in that order) rounded very close together and parked up in a hole. By the bottom mark things has resolved themselves a bit with Betty B leading from Brightmile, Trunky and Bodge. The first two stretched away in their own private battle, with Brightmile sliding through on the second beat. The last run provided more opportunities. with a risky detour out to the right hand side bringing more pressure and a massive shift. Brightmile took this for a clear first. Blue Badge got their act together late in the race to pull through to 4th on the second and final beat, and then also spotting the express route took Trunky down the run to steal 3rd.

Saturday night and with an early finish in the sun Team Raynes hosted a boat based social to kick off the evening. The 4pm drinking ultimately moving on to the class social at a local restaurant (thanks for organising Kathy - top job) which with some clever negotiation by Team Raynes led to cleaning out the old stock of red wine and a great evening of catching up after the winter break.


Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland - photo © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk
Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland - photo © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

Sunday dawned bright and breezy - 10 to 12 knots with the promise of it building throughout the day. The lure of breeze and a prompt 10 o'clock start saw everyone up early. Some were more successful in obtaining breakfast than others - the look of disappointment on the face of Wigan Man (aka MJ) was both palpable and pitiful has he opened his long-awaited bacon sandwich (ketchup at the ready) to find... no bacon. Bless.

Race 4. The PRO switched us from the previous day's outer loop course to the inner loop, which caused a few surprises for those not entirely familiar with the sailing instructions. Brightmile AKA Wonkey Donkey had clearly spent breakfast time successfully foraging the club grounds for thistles and shot off into the distance leaving Trunky in 2nd and Bodge in third occasionally threatened by Blue Badge. On the first beat Betty B had fallen victim to the blind spot of an RS800 with its kite up which put them well back by the time they had untangled. Bodge had a run-in on the third beat with a 4000 coming downwind which dropped them back behind Blue Badge, who slowly reeled in Betty B and squeaked past on the final downwind leg to take second.

Race 5. The wind was building and now topping 18 knots in its more solid moments. The fleet approached the first windward mark in a tight bunch, whereupon the breeze played its joker - a 20-knot 20-degree lifting gust on the right - allowing Blue Badge to beam reach in to the mark at full chat. They gybed off and cleared out, leaving Brightmile, Betty B, Trunky, and Bodge to fight over second. Some confusion over the number of laps to be sailed resulted in over half the fleet finishing a lap early, which had to be resolved in the club office after racing. Once things were straightened out the order was Blue Badge, Brightmile, Betty B, Trunky, Bodge.

Race 6. Blue Badge were now unassailable, but the remaining podium places were all up for grabs. The PRO switched us back to the outer loop course which made things interesting with the windward mark right up under the shore in the shadows of Half Moon Spinney (so it says here on my Ordnance Survey map). Brightmile led from Blue Badge, but the latter gained the lead by gybe-setting out into the breeze. Brightmile went left and dropped back on second beat leaving Blue Badge with a fairly easy (barring some traffic avoidance near-misses/near capzises to windward in the Rutland holes) ride to the finish. Betty B again came in third ahead of Bodge and PSB.

Blue Badge took a well deserved win with their usual tactical mastery from Brightmile and the returning legends of Hayes and Dwyer closing out third. This amazingly means two of the three boats on the podium are sporting bionic upgrades to shoulders and knees... the class are unsure whether to be astonished by this or concerned this is the latest craze to gain that small performance edge!

The first four overall were awarded vouchers from our generous series sponsor Gul, along with Kevin and Stuart Moore who were awarded the merit prize for an excellent showing in their first ever event.


Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland - photo © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk
Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland - photo © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

The format of separate start and finish committee boats (a technique Rutland SC have perfected with the RS Sprints event) worked really well giving minimal waiting around time between races by leaving the start boat free to start a fleet as soon as all the boats from that fleet arrived back from the finish line. Combined with a 10am first start on Sunday this meant we were off the water at around 1pm to enjoy refreshments in the sunshine.

Big thanks to Rutland Sailing Club and all their volunteers and helpers for putting on a great weekend's sailing.

The next Gul B14 TT event is at Stokes Bay on 13/14 April, followed 3 weeks later by the National Championships at Restronguet as the fleet builds towards the Worlds in Carnac in July.

Anyone interested in chartering boats for Carnac, a class favourite, should get in touch on our Facebook page "B14 Sailors" to secure a boat: www.facebook.com/groups/30388050183

Overall Results:


Pos Sail No Club Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1st 771 Brightlingsea SC Bees Mike Nicholson Pete 1 1 ‑3 2 1 1 6
2nd 791 Weston Watts Mark Johnson Matt (DNC) 3 1 1 2 2 9
3rd 774 Whitstable & Lancing Hayes David Dwyer Sean 3 5 2 ‑6 3 3 16
4th 321 RYA Roberts Paul Taylor Rob 2 2 ‑5 4 5 4 17
5th 772 Rutland SC Sherratt Dixon Jon (OCS) 4 4 3 4 6 21
6th 768 Hayling Island Gardner James Gardner Anne 4 8 ‑9 5 6 5 28
7th 775 Bough Beech SC Triffitt Rhys Hooper Ollie 5 ‑10 7 7 7 7 33
8th 766 Gratham Cowin Dan Price Barry 6 9 8 8 8 (DNC) 39
9th 756 Netley SC Raynes Carl Raynes Guy 7 7 6 (RET) 9 RET 40
10th 755 Netley SC Moore Kevin Moore Stuart (OCS) 6 10 9 DNC DNC 47


Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland - photo © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk
Gul B14 Inland Championship at Rutland - photo © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk