With the Holt Tide Ride taking place this weekend at Hayling Island Sailing Club, the event looks as if it is going to be a good one. The big question this year, is will the breeze play ball and what will Tim Hancock, the Master of Ceremonies have in store for us. All will be revealed at the briefing on Saturday morning at 10:30 hours.
In the B14 fleet, nearly all the current big names will be attending. For those that have never attended the event, it consists of short course racing in front of the club over a 400m course with 2 downwind gates and twin leeward marks. For the round robins the fleet is split into 2 flights of 10+ boats. Each race lasts approximately 15 - 20 minutes with up to 3 races each day back to back.
On day 2 after the first 2 races the fleet is sent ashore to total the scores. Then once this has been confirmed the fleet re-launch for the Gold and Silver finals. Scoring consists of the boats series overall position plus their medal race result. With on the water umpiring, this will add spice and occasionally unpredictability to the proceedings. No B14 has won this event twice.
There are two teams that have shown themselves to be the leaders of the pack at this event over the last three years by finishing in the top three on those occasions and they are CSC and Seavolution/Blue Marine. However, they have not had it easy and during the season racing has been very close. So with this type of event, you can tear up the form guide as this is a truly unique and unpredictable event but below is an indication of who to watch. Chris Bines / Dave Gibbons – CSC: 3 - 1
The bridesmaids at this event until winning in 2007. They have a habit of finishing second as was the case in 2007. One of the most consistent starters and strong in the breezier conditions. This year looking for speed at times at TTs but with this being a boat handling event, looking to be in the top 5 boats. Mark Barnes / Pete Nicholson – Seavolution/Blue Marine: 3 - 1
Finishing second last year by a point to CSC. They had a mixed series culminating in Pete going into the water to the assistance of a distressed B14 in the round robins prior to the final. Back this year to have another crack and try to get the trophy back, they have been the force in the fleet this year on the TT circuit winning back to back events. Good in all but particularly fast in light to medium conditions. Looking to be in the top 5 boats. Tim Harrison / Johnny Radcliffe – Anthill Mob: 4 - 1
Another team that is up there in most conditions and should be well suited to this type of racing. One of the top teams on the circuit, narrowly missing out on top boat at several TTs this year. Being one of the lighter teams, they are in with a chance if it does not blow on Sunday. Looking to be in the top 5. Dave Hayes / Sean Dwyer – MJF/North Sails (UK): 4 - 1
Though both experienced in the fleet with championships to their names, they are only recently back together but will be hard to beat. They love the snakes and ladders as the roll of the dice seems to often go in their favour. Never ones to be discounted and hot to trot. Looking to be in the top 5 boats. Mark Watts / George Morris – Ince&Co: 5 - 1
Currently second in the TT series and there or there abouts during 2008. This team know how to sniggle round the course and will be there at the finish especially if a little breezy. Looking to be top 5 boats. Mark Emmett / Allan Stuart – Acxiom: 6 - 1
Though both experienced, a new team this year and have they arrived with a bang. This year, they have shown they love the breeze and in the light, tend to be sniffing the heals of the front boat. Ones to watch especially if they go into Sunday in a strong position. Looking to be in the top 7. Chris Turner / Phil Eltringham – Ovington Boats: 7 - 1
Chris and Phil when together on the circuit have shown great speed and with Chris doing this for the first time, could be an interesting start for them on Saturday. However, they are quick in all conditions and will be up there whatever the conditions. Have a look at the boat as they will be demonstrating some new carbon development racks. This team if firing on all cylinders on Saturday, will be there or there abouts come the final. Looking good for the top 7. Gerry Brown / Chris Fermor – Leaky Pipes: 9 - 1
What can we say about these two, life’s manyana team who frustratingly on occasions show great speed but on others struggle in the back half of the fleet. This has again been the case this year. Consistency is the key. If firing on all cylinders, could come good. Hungry to prove they can achieve and come good, may in chasing the prizes come Sunday. Looking to finish in the top 10. Theo Gaylor / Jack Spencer – Credo: 9 - 1
Not to be discounted when the dice rolls and ones to watch out for. They have shown their metal this year, and if they stay on the right side of the judges, should be in the frame come the end of the day. If you fancy a long bet, this could be the team to back. Good in the medium to light conditions. Looking to finish in the top 10. Tony Blackmore / Char Jones – Sailsport: 9 - 1
Famous for the tombstone series of photos, they are virgins at this event, but that will not hold them back. Challenging Kathy for top Girlie crew, these two will be more of a Ford Mustang than a Lotus Elise and if they get to grips with the course and go into Sunday in good shape, they will be in the thick of it. Looking to finish in the top 10. Daniel Cowin / Kathy Sherret – Chattanooga Choo Choo: 10 - 1
Dan sailing with stand-in top girl crew Kathy, should be showing their competitive edge. With fire in the belly and Kathy getting the Mojo working, we may see these two at or near the front. During this year Dan and regular crew Rachel Bennett have been in the hunt at several TTs. Looking to finish in the top 12. Will McGrath / Harrison Reece – Arkansas Chuggabug: 11 - 1
The other complete youth team, who will win the bragging rights between these two and Credo. At times they show great speed, especially in the light stuff. Be sure, they will be watching Credo closely. First timers at the event, if they go into Sunday in good shape and the breeze is not full on as they are one of the lighter teams, anything is possible. Looking to finish in the top 12. Steve Hollingworth / Chris Murphy – Crimson Haybailer: 11 - 1
Virgins at this event and one of the SWs main circuit boats, based in Falmouth. They are on the light side and will fair well in the lighter conditions. Going into Sunday and the meaty end of the event, looking for a possible mid fleet finish. Anything is possible. Looking to finish in the top 12. Barry Price / Al Storrer – Mean Machine 00: 12 - 1
Virgins at this event and one of the class’s colourful characters, they will be in the mix and will no doubt give a good account of themselves. A steady team that at times, show good speed. Anything is possible. Looking to finish in the top 12. Richard Valentine/Simon West – Steam Boat Willie: 12 - 1
Long time B14 sailor but missing from the circuit for the last 2 years, should give a good account of themselves but hard to predict where they will finish but if all goes well, will be in the mix. Looking to finish in the top 12. Late entry? - Call the HISC Office now
Event website - www.hisc.co.uk