The scheduled six races were split equally over two days, with a 5-15 knot variable breeze adding spice to the form. The top three from the class rankings were all present sporting the appropriate coloured jersey's as well as visitors from as far a field as Starcross and Burnham.
Race 1 got shakily underway at 1pm with the fleet bunched at the committee boat end, as the shifting variable pressure started to hand out the snakes and ladders to the fleet, much place changing occurred, culminating in a well deserved lead at the final windward mark for Don Forster and new crew Geoff Arnold. This looked to be the final roll of the dice as they led defending Inland champions Dave Hayes & Sean Dwyer and number 1 ranked Matt Searle & Rich Bell around the last leeward mark. In a cruel twist of fate Don & Geoff snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, mis reading the finish and failing to cross the line, leaving Dave & Sean with the bullet, Matt & Rich in 2nd and a worthy podium finish for Chris Bines & Martin Worth from Brightlingsea.
Race 2 was quickly underway with the fleet spread out across the course, Dave & Sean had squeezed out a small lead at the windward mark but the variable pressure on the run first bunched and then split the fleet. Gaining valuable breathing space at the bottom mark were Dave & Sean, chased by Jono Pank & Andy Ramus, both boats having pulled away from the pack, now headed by current world champions Tim Fells & Dave Cunningham. The positions held steady for the next lap until the top of the final beat, Jono & Andy squeezed past Dave and Sean then held on down the final run to take the victory. Tim & Dave held the baiting pack at bay to gain the final podium spot.
Race 3 and the breeze was up beginning to chill the air slightly. This seemed to have little effect on the reigning champions Dave & Sean who nailed the pin end and headed out left before tacking over and cleanly crossing the fleet. They maintained this lead around the first windward, about 20 yards up on the pack, initially led by Jono & Andy then Tim & Dave. The reigning champions lost their lead as the pack concertinaed, and at the top of the final beat all was still to play for. The final run was low on pressure across the course and the fleet split out searching for zephyrs. Jono & Andy managed to find the new pressure first and to gybe inside to ease ahead to take their second win. Mark Barnes & Tom Pygall sailed a solid race to grab second with the always consistent Tim Fells & Dave Cunningham in third. Overnight, at the half way stage it was all very close. Three races still to go with and all to play for...
Dave Hayes & Sean Dywer--- 1,2,4 (7)
Jono Pank & Andy Ramus--- 7,1,1 (9)
Matt Searle & Rich Bell--- 2,4,7 (13)
Mark Barnes & Tom Pygall---4,7,2 (13)
Tim Fells & Dave Cunningham--- 8,3,3 (14)
Sunday Morning's 1st, race 4, kicked off at 11am in fresher and cloudier conditions. Tim Harrison & Jenny Radcliffe hovered up the first beat and were never headed, storming away to a quality win. Meanwhile the battle raged in the pack right to the final leeward mark where Tim & Dave stormed down the run in new pressure to gain a late overlap on Jono & Ian Williams to take 2nd on the water, pushing Jono & Ian to 3rd and Mark & Tom to 4th.
The penultimate race was dominated by the top rankers, with frequent place changes throughout the rest of the pack. Reigning Inland Champions Dave & Sean, with number 1 ranked Matt & Rich in close company headed off to a commanding lead and were never really bothered again to finish in that order. The rest of the competitors fought tooth and nail against the variable and challenging wind with Tim & Dave easing away on the last lap top complete the podium.
The final showdown started in good breeze, all boats now well powered up off the line. The breeze was slightly more consistent but still switching regularly! At the first windward, it was Matt & Rich showing their metal, leading from World Champions Tim & Dave. These two edged away from the rest of the fleet to conclude their own battle whist the rest of the fleet fought on. On the final beat Tim & Dave squeezed through to the lead and held their bullet to the line, Matt & Rich finished a comfortable 2nd and despite some fleet compression and mixing due to varying pressure, Jono & Ian maintained themselves at the head of the pack to finish third.
One thing remained... *Had Tim infringed at the last leeward in race 4 as Jono was protesting about? Who knows, but the jury thought he did. This meant that Tim's was DSQ and his one point lead was quashed, placing Jono Pank & Andy Ramus / Ian Williams at the top of leader board by 2 points from both Dave & Sean and Matt & Rich.
Another great weekend's nip n tuck racing in the B14 was had by all.
The circuit continues at Whitstable on April 26th & 27th. See you there.
|1||Jon Pank||Andy Ramus||7||1||1||2||5||3||12|
|2||David Hayes||Sean Dwyer||1||2||4||7||1||6||14|
|4||Tim Fells||David Cunningham||8||3||3||DSQ||3||1||18|
|5||Mark Barnes||Tom Pygall||4||7||2||3||7||5||21|
|6||Tim Harrison||Jenny Radcliffe||9||6||9||1||6||4||26|
|7||Geraldine Brown||Chris Fermor||5||11||6||6||4||12||32|
|8||Simon Hadley||Pete Nicholson||10||5||10||10||9||7||41|
|9||Nils Joliffe||Jon Branch||11||12||5||5||DNC||DNC||51|
|10||Dan Willett||Stuart Phillips||6||9||11||8||DNC||DNC||52|
|11||Chris Bines||Martin Worth||3||8||8||DNC||DNC||DNC||55|
|12||Dan Cowin||Chris Seymour||13||13||12||12||10||8||55|
|13||Mark Pollard||Ann Pollard||14||14||DNC||9||8||11||56|
|14||Tom Powell||Rachel Wright||12||DNC||14||11||11||10||58|
|15||Dan Forster||Geoff Arnold||RAF||10||13||DNC||DNC||9||68|
|16||Mike Burn||Nigel Scott||DNC||DNC||DNC||13||DNC||DNC||85|
|17||David Smith||Joanna Pieper||DNF||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||90|