by Mark Watts
In the B14 Europeans and Pre Worlds, following light winds and wall to wall sunshine, day one greeted the fleet overcast, breezy and with the sea in full spin cycle. The shore break causing plenty of anxious looks.
B14 World Championship - Plerin, France
As the tide retreated the sea state moderated the fleet were able to launch on time, albeit with a few attempts needed by many to get off the beach into the onshore breeze.
On the race course the swell of over 2m and a breeze in the early 20’s presented challenging conditions for the fleet as Race 1 got underway. AUS 782 'One more for the bone' Guy Bancroft/Lachlan Imeneo led the charge of the Aussies with the top mark seeing AUS 782 lead from, AUS 375 'Octopussy' Andre Webster/Allen Graham, and AUS 373 'Bonework' Ian/Dave Cunningham with only GBR 791 'Team Ullman Sails' Mark Watts/Chris Bishop joining the Aussie party in fourth.
The first run was a case of keeping the bow out of the tide and trying to spot the yellow marks against the beach. The result was the majority of the fleet over-standing the gate and blasting in at various over pressed angles.
Lap two saw the places remain unchanged with AUS 782 extending for a convincing win. The final run saw AUS 375 hit the tide leaving AUS 373 to take second and GBR 791 third.
Race 2 and the breeze had eased fractionally but the tide had turned creating even steeper foaming ramps. A number of teams succumbing to the sea state in the pre start.
The start saw split opinions on tactics with some teams taking the pin on port whilst others opted for a more conservative mid line start. GBR 788 'Seavolution' Mark Barnes/ Jeremy (Doobie) Williamson' led the charge with AUS 782 hot on his heels. The pack was led by GBR 774 'Doris' Ben/Roz McGrane finding their feet quickly in the class and proving once again that light teams can be fast in the breeze.
GBR788 and AUS 782 were then seen to play a tactical dogfight and stretch away. GBR 788 finally losing the fight on the last run to see AUS 782 take a second win. GBR 774 delivered a solid third.
For all teams the day was not yet over. .. The return to the beach saw breaking surf and different approaches ranging from sending it into the shallows for a last minute handbrake turn through to mains down, foils out surfboard approach. All proved equally successful/un-successful with a number of teams ending up on their side in the surf. Some anxious moments followed but the fleet worked together to rescue teams in trouble and see them all escape damage free.
The club hosted welcome drinks as the fleet told tales of the day’s adventures and some licked their wounds.
Forecast for tomorrow is the swell and breeze to reduce.. Phew!!
1st AUS 782 Guy Bancroft/Lachlan Ineno
2nd AUS 373 Ian Cunningham/Dave Cunningham
3rd GBR 791 Mark Watts/Chris Bishop
1st GBR 791 Mark Watts/Chris Bishop
2nd GBR 774 Ben McGrane/Roz McGrane
3rd GBR 788 Mark Barnes/Jeremy Williamson