The dogs have finally been unleashed and the wind abated. With an oscillating 5 – 6 knots, the chance was there for the Pommie B14s to show their prowess in the light shifty NW’ly winds.
The fat lady was grandly standing in the prime box in the theatre as 6 of the top 7 currently hoped that the lightweights would not get their chance for revenge.
With two races (9 & 10) and the second drop coming into force, there was all to play for with two groups, 2 to 5 and 6 to 12 to be decided. The first race was to be 2 laps with a cut-off at 1530 after the first race was delayed due to lack of wind until approximately 1345.
Off the line, it was Bonus (AUS – Bangers/Louis) shadowed to windward, then lee-bowed by Team Gul / North Sails(GBR – Barnsie/Lauren) and Team Harken / Sandiline (GBR – Nick/Tobes). Up the beat the first two climbed out in pressure to round 1–2 with Team Harken 2 (GBR – Simon/Nikki) followed by Team Harken/Sandiline.
Down the run Team Harken/Sandiline in 4th gybed first into the new pressure, sweeping up Team Harken 2 who gybed, but not reaching the two leaders. Team Gul / North Sails gybed next, taking the medicine and slipping to 3rd with Bonus (recovering to 8th) slipping back further as the fleet came down in pressure. By the leeward gate Team Gul / North Sails had managed to get over Team Harken 2 by the narrowest of margins, which released them to chase Team Harken / Sandiline.
Up the next beat Team Harken / Sandiline loose-covered Team Gul / North Sails as these two pulled away. However, contrary to the script, Pinky and the Brain (AUS – Kirsty (Scotland)/Jules) under the radar snuck into 3rd. This super-light crew, were on a charge and closed up on the two leaders, with Team Gul / North Sails dropping a cover tack on them to make sure that they could not quite get on their coat tails.
Down the last run, Team Harken / Sandiline led to the finish from a closing Team Gul / North Sails, with the ever present, Pinky and the Brain in pursuit looking for the elusive pressure to pop them onto the plane. Alas it did not happen and the leaders closed out the championship’s last race in that order with four GBR teams in the top 5 of race 9. Race 10 did not happen due to the clock running down and no suitable breeze, which meant that the GBR teams were not going to get the chance to have a second go at sending some of the heavier teams that had revelled in the breeze down the mine shaft as they collected big scores.
Team Harken / Sandiline had already won, but how the results were to play out would need a mathematician to see who ended up where… 3rd and 4th (Bonework/Snatch) was decided on countback, Team Gul / North Sailsclimbed from 11th to 7th and were one point off 6th. Bonework and Snatch had missed the bullet by not having another race which would have sent them down the snake with others coming up the ladder. Australia won the Ashes for the best top 10 score.
A great event organized by John and Adrian Beswick with Amanda and Steve’s team ashore and Peter Sluce’s team afloat. Bell Bay delivered in bucket loads with winds up to 32 knots (racing abandoned due to class limits of gusts of 30 knots), and as little as 5 knots at the end. Thanks to the headline sponsors and race day sponsors from both hemispheres.
The next Europeans / Worlds are to held in Carnac from 25th July to 2nd August 2019. The Aussies will be there in force to win back the World Title and Europeans to reclaim the Ashes.
The UK Nationals in 2018 are at Paignton in August. With some new boats going into build, and some great front of fleet GBR B14s coming to the market in the coming months, there is not a better to chance to step into a race-proven well set-up ship to test your metal against the likes of Team Harken, Team Gul / North Sails or Team P&B(Jasper Barnham/Olly Wells).
See you all on the water in 2018 for a great season.
by Mark Barnes