Southport lads take B14 Europeans
After the long restaurant run/practice race down to the south of Malcesine on the Tuesday, racing kicked off on Wednesday with three races in Garda’s famous southerly 'Ora'. Not as windy as it can be though with about 10-15 knots keeping the fleet busy but not too stressed.
Matt Searle and Rich Bell showed their mastery of the conditions by recording an awesome three straight bullets. Dave Hayes and Sean Dwyer in Sea-Sure held on with what would normally have been a fairly impressive 4, 6, 2 and Tim Fells and Dave Cunningham, Jason Andrews and Joel McDonald, both recorded a 2 and a 3 to go with one they’d probably rather not mention. Nils Jolliffe and Jon Branch in Raymarine followed with a consistent 6, 4, 4.
On Thursday Garda really did its stuff. A 20 knots plus Ora kicked in and it was all change at the top with Matt and Rich not winning by quite as much. Tim and DC grabbed second and Dave and Sean third to keep their series going. A little further behind, Ades Williams front tooth and Jamie and Gemma Mears rudder blade joined the chandlery at the bottom of the lake and Mark 'rocket man' Elkington and Dan Bridger finished the race with their daggerboard pointing skywards. No further racing was held.
After Thursday night’s excellent fleet meal in the clubhouse Friday dawned thundery, rainy, but not windy. It brightened up, but all three races were held in a light and tricky northerly - Nils and JB weather, and they duly opened with a 1, 2. Dave and Sean also notched up a race win and going into what was to be the final race in a dying breeze, any one of four boats could win. Matt and Rich needed to add a respectable result to their four bullets. Tim and DC, Dave and Sean, and Nils and JB could also still win the regatta.
Tim and DC were the pathfinder and therefore committed to going right for at least two minutes. With the bulk of the fleet looking like it was going to start late Dave and Sean got away from their rivals by starting early, heading hard left, crossing their fingers and praying. They duly led the way round. The wind died to almost nothing, the race was shortened after a lap and Dave and Sean in Sea-Sure won the championship counting a healthy 1, 1, 2, 3, 4. Matt and Rich’s early form was enough to gain second overall, Nils and JB’s late form helped them into third and being the pathfinder in the last race did Tim and DC no favours, leaving them fourth.
Mention is also due to Chris Bines and Piers Lambert, who gained 6, 3, 2 on the final day; Don and Kate Forster who pitched in a 2 and a 3 and above all to Joanna and David Piper who finished a B14 race for the first time on the Wednesday and followed that with three more finishes on the Friday – but we won’t talk about the time they started by crossing between the pathfinder and the guard boat behind it!
A big thank you goes to Tony and Alan who, as well as driving Laser 4000s to Riva, acted as the B14s race officer and assistant. More of an enjoyable task than usual, however, given the array of bikini-clad assistants they managed to entice into the Committee boat!
1. 767 (Sea-Sure) - Dave Hayes and Sean Dwyer - Southport
2. 725 - Matt Searle and Rich Bell – Hayling Island
3. 728 – (Raymarine) Nils Jolliffe and Jon Branch - Weston
4. 758 – Tim Fells and Dave Cunningham – Grafham Water
5. 756 – Jason Andrews and Joel McDonald - Eastbourne
6. 713 – Chris Bines and Piers Lambert - Brightlingsea