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Gul B14 TT at Brightlingsea Sailing Club
By Mark Barnes on 12 Oct 7-8 October 2017
Photo © Nigel Edmunds
B14 TT at Brightlingsea Photo © Mike Bees
B14 TT at Brightlingsea Photo © Mike Bees

The B14 fleet returned to Brightlingsea SC, after a while off the B14 TT circuit. As part of Horizon Construction Brightlingsea Skiff Fest, the prediction was for a weekend of two halves, Saturday a very tasty one, and Sunday snakes and ladders. Race Officer Dave Gibbons held the fleet ashore whilst a front went through on Saturday morning.

Saturday was to prove anything but. With Team Gul / North Sails having (Pistol) Pete Nicholson guesting for Char who was on her honeymoon in Mexico. All eyes were on how this team would perform, having not sailed together since 2010 other than a light Bloody Mary this year. Plus the return of Chris Bines helming Blue Badge, in for Mike Bees forced absence, it was certainly looking to be a case of winding the clock back.

The day was to prove to be one of luck rather than speed. With a tasty force 4+ and building sea for the last race in fading breeze, the big guns hit Race 1 hard. Team Gul / North Sails had to make a pit-stop mid-first beat to sort a wrap in the jib sheets, locking the jib on one side, Blue badge, rolled the dice and mixed it at the front, Wonky Donkey (Mark Watts/Tom Kyne) and Harken (Nick Craig/Toby (Tastic) Lewis) benefitted. With little to chose, the top four finished in quick succession led by Harken.

Race 2, and Pistol was out to prove a point, out hoisting and dropping those around him, rolling Harken and ripping to a good win from Harken and P&B (Jasper Barnham/Fergus Barnham).

Race 3, more of the same, hitting out right led by Team Gul / North Sails and Wonkey Donkey. Going under the radar was Blue Badge, but the Fat Lady was in the circle. With Harken and P&B finding themselves off the front, they rolled the dice on the last run, gybe set and twin racked in the fading breeze to go round the front pack ringing the bell on the left. Going into the line Harken won, with Team Gul / North Sails hunting down P&B, but just missing out by feet. Harken led overnight from Team Gul / North Sails and P&B

A great evening was had, with good home cooked food provided by Tanya, Ian and the team with live music provided by Contraband.

Sunday arrived and the fleet was delayed for 1 hour while the breeze stabilised, which helped some sore heads.

More of the same close racing, but who would blink first? With little to choose, Team Gul / North Sails lead from Torq (Gerry Fermor/Leaky Fermor) most of the race, but Blue Badge had the last laugh, outsmarting and nicking the lead on the approach to the finish ripping through below the front two on the last gybe across the tide.

Race 5, and Harken worked their magic, while the next 4 had a battle royal for the bridesmaid's position, won out by Blue Badge.

Going into the final race, Harken had won, but all was still to play for in the minor positions. Team Gul / North Sails had their first bad start and bailed, but came back to second half-way up the beat, but lost out in the top quarter. Hitting the run, Harken had a 25 metre lead that allowed them to extend in the fading breeze while the next six fought hard with little to choose over the one-lap race. As the greasy pole proved, several went from hero to zero, Wonkey Donkey taking second making up for race 5, with Blue Badge not doing quite enough to catch Team Gul / North Sails for second.

A well run event that delivered in spade loads on the conditions, drama front and shoreside, and some great prizes from event sponsors Horizon Construction and circuit sponsors Gul.

Next event is the Gul / Allspars Final Fling this weekend at Plymouth, followed by the last Gul TT/B14 Inlands at Northampton SC on 21st/22nd October. With the container leaving for Tasmania on Friday 14th October it shall be interesting to see which steads the top teams have managed to blag.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st796Nick CraigToby Lewis 121‑4116
2nd795Mark BarnesPeter NicholsonBSC3132‑4413
3rd771Chris BinesMartin WorthBSC‑44412314
4th797Mark WattsTom KyneWeston SC255‑73217
5th791Jasper BarnhamFergus BarnhamSnettisham Beach SC53267(DNC)23
6th772Kathy SherrattJosh WikeWeston SC667‑85529
7th786Geraldine BrownLeakyBSC(DNC)DNCDNC36639
8th754Brandon HastingsTyler StonebridgeBSC‑99998742
9th766Barry PriceAdam KitchenGrafham Water SC10(DNS)DNS59844
10th768James GardnerAnne GardnerHayling Island776(DNC)DNCDNC44
11th757Alex CaponFin ClarkBSC888(DNF)DNCDNC48
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