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Australian B14 National Championships day 3

by Adrian Beswick on 5 Jan 2012
Adrian Beswick
Its day 3 of the Bohaul Express Australian B14 National championships and the fleet is becoming quieter at the breakfast table, pre race there was a lot of relaxing around the club lawns and some snoozing too.

What is even more special about the National championships is that more than 25% of the sailors at the event are Women. This statistic is something the B14 class is proud to show off, eight women are competing this year including seven crews and one skipper.


The days racing started off in an easing Easterly breeze of 12 to 15 knots gusting to 20. The majority of the fleet only just made it to the start line in time for the first gun of the fifth heat of the championships. OMFTB (Bancroft/ Grace) again got away to a good start mid line with Siren (Darlow/McDonald) from the pin end and Octopussy (Webster/Webster) closer to the boat. By the top mark Siren rounded with a good lead over The Nude (Reynolds/McMillan) with OMFTB following closely behind, then came Wing it (Patterson/Vickery) and Clean Skin (Boyle/Van Galen). The first downwind saw those who went left paid with a massive gain and took places from those sticking right and coming back over tight and having to drop their spinnaker early.


As the fleet headed up the second upwind some much larger gusts started making their way down the course and the breeze begun to strengthen to 15 to 25 knots, up wend the centreboard to compensate. Once rounding the top mark OMFTB managed to get through into first position in front of Siren. Strait4devils (Beswick/Cromarty) had a massive gain on the boats ahead on the second downwind pulling back from 13th position after a number of boats capsized and moving up into seventh. Phantom (Miller /Keil) managed to snap a tiller extension and retired from the race to head ashore in search of something to repair it with. After some hunting Steve came back with a well carved twig to re-join the extension to salvage the second race.

On the third and final upwind Strait4devils managed to get through four more boats to move into third position just ahead of Octopussy and The Nude. Meanwhile at the front of the fleet OMFTB got enough space to get over the line for the win with Siren a bit over a minute behind. After a triple wineglass at the top mark Strait4devils let back through The Nude and Octopussy, but on the final gybe managed to squeeze through to take fourth place 10 seconds behind Octopussy in third and the Nude coming through with a fifth. Wing It crossed 30 seconds later for a sixth position.

The second and sixth race of the series got underway after some of the fleet cooled down with a drink and ‘changed gears’ ready for a windier second race for the day. The start was much faster with boats flying off the line with pace, Hunt Leather (Hunt, Paine) got off the pin fast and low with speed and Siren also hit the pin but kept in the high groove. Strait4devils also got off to a good start, but the best start was OMFTB and The Nude who had height and speed.

At the top mark of the first lap Siren rounded ahead of the series leader OMFTB and inside them, Octopussy, not far back was Wing It and Orca Blush (Waldon / Tench) in fourth and fifth. Spinnakers up and the breeze strong, it was a wild ride to the bottom mark for all and the fleet split at the bottom gate heading left and right. By the top mark of the second lap Wing It had managed to get on a winner and get through from fourth into first position, proving that there are big gains to be made on the course. second was Siren followed by OMFTB in third Strait4devils managed to make some gains up the work and get into fourth position.

Downwind was again full on with sailors hanging on tight for a wild ride to the bottom of the course. On the way down OMFTB went for a dip on the gybe allowing Strait4devils into 2rd position and closing in on front runner Siren after Wing It lost time on the downwind. On the third and last upwind, carrying a lift and covering the fleet behind, Strait4devils made more gains up the work and rounded the top mark on the heels of Siren, closing a 100 metre gap to 3 boat lengths. Wing It tightened things back up also and Octopussy did well up the work also rounding in fourth, right behind Wing It.

The final run saw strait4devils run deep to remove their twisted sheets from the Devil mascot’s head on the spinnaker pole, they managed to pull it off without capsizing in 20 knots and not loose more than a couple of boat lengths. First and fastest was Siren followed 10 seconds later by Strait4devils in second and Octopussy third, only two seconds infront of Wing It who finished in fourth position. OMFTB managed to recover well from their capsize to claim fifth position with Hunt Leather rounding out the top six boats.

Overall standings including six races and one drop have OMFTB leading on 7 points from Siren second on 10 points. Octopussy is in third on 13 points and Strait4devils only 1 point behind on 14 points in fourth position. From there Hunt leather is in fifth place with 28 points and the nude rounds out the top six on 32 points.


Tomorrow the wind is forecast to blow 13/18 knots during the morning before easing to W/NW 8/13 knots late afternoon. This should again give some of the lighter crews the chance to get up the field and possibly spice things up at the front of the fleet.

Last night crews organised their own meals, this included BBQ packs, Lasagne and an epic spaghetti bolognaise that was shared amongst six of the crews with much to spare. There was much praise coming from the canteen ladies who were well impressed that two guys were heading up the meal preparation and keeping things clean. All the volunteers around the club have been putting so much effort, from the on water teams to the canteen ladies and also the bar men and women.

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