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B14s at the Allspars Final Fling

by Crispin Taylor 18 Oct 2023 05:49 PDT 14-15 October 2023
B14s at the Allspars Final Fling © Paul Gibbins Photography

The 7th Final Fling was held in Plymouth Sound, organised by the Royal Western Yacht Club and sponsored by Allspars. Both hosts and sponsors did a great job on and off the water with great courses in challenging conditions.

7 B's travelled to the event to sail in the fast handicap fleet for boats of PY<1000. The fleet consisted of 4000's, cherubs, a Nacra 15, Merlin Rocket, int Canoe and a 400.

Saturday's forecast was for gusty NW conditions with a big drop in temperature. Three windward leeward races were held in wind strengths of between 15 and 23 knots.

In the class B14 race one, recent world El Campione's Mark Watts and MJ (797) sailed off over the horizon with Barnsie and Kathy (799) finishing 2 minutes later with Crispy & Gi (789) 30 seconds later for the third place.

Paul and Guy (756) & next followed by Tony & Jamie (788), Wayne & Claire (766) and Amy & Dave (784) mastering very gusty and challenging conditions.

Race two 797 passed 799 on the last beat during a large, one of many wind shifts to take the win by 20 seconds and 789 1.5 minutes after. 788 4th, 766 5th with 756 and 784 retiring from the race.

Race three was quite fruity, winds veering more Northerly and solid 20+ gusts. 797 pulled off another masterclass of strong wind sailing leading from start to finish with 789 2nd and 799 3rd. 766 4th with the rest of the fleet firmly in the retirement camp, along with a number of other fast handicap boats.

Sunday dawned cold and with very little breeze so the lengthy postponement was fortunate for a number of brave souls from the B14 massif who had ventured into Annabel's for a few (lots) and were seen heading home at 4am.

Racing eventually got under way with around an hours delay in 6-8 knots ENE and it was 799's turn to take the win and demonstrate excellent speed to finish a minute ahead of 797 with 789 now with Super Crew (Jack) Solly, a Starcross junior in third. 756 in 4th, 788 5th, 784 6th and 766 7th

Race five was light and shifty. 789 with Super Solly nailed the beat and led down the run only to remember that it wasn't a windward leeward course so dropped the kite and managed to stay ahead at the wing mark with the rest held back by a helping International Canoe, leading for the next round until the B14 Jack Russell, AKA 799 pipped them on the line with a 4 second win. 797 3rd, 756 4th, 766 5th, and 784 6th with 788 returning to shore for a much needed Alka-Seltzer!

Race six was the long-distance race around the cans in the sound and all to play for with 799 having closed down 797 in the results. Who would reign supreme in the B14s and possibly the Final Fling as well. 799 having overstood the windward mark, beaten there by the International Canoe, would this upset the final order?

799 just held out 789 to the windward mark extending down the run to pass the International Canoe only to lose out on the next reach. Rounding 30 seconds behind and leading the B14 charge on the way to the line off the club, could they catch the leader and win both events outright. Confusion reigned at the last mark, which was it? The one on the course board or the one directed by the lead rib?

799 having sailed to the correct course mark had to make a u turn to the 'new' mark and was passed for a short time by 789 who could be heard chucking from a mile away!

799 chasing the International Canoe, ran out of track. On arrival ashore, the Race Committee, after some light-hearted feedback from team 'Jack Russell' aka 799, awarded redress to their position prior to the incident. At the finish amongst the B14s 799 won from 789 2nd with 797 narrowly beaten to 3rd. 784 4th, 766 5th, and 756 6th.

Special mention to Wayne and Claire in only their second TT event and to Amy as the only female helm.

Scores on the doors:

B14 class event
1st 799
2nd 797
3rd 789
4th 756

Fast handicap
1st B14 797
2nd B14 799
3rd Laser 400 4281
4th B14 789

Full results can be found here.

Crispy, class chair met a Phantom sailor on Sunday who said that he'd always wanted to sail a B14 and that they looked great boats... but were fragile, that said, pre Ovington B's are still around represent great value £ for knot value.

It's true that prior to a redesign that Dave Ovington undertook in Y2K, B's could be temperamental with poles and racks being the vulnerable elements. These have been long fixed through evolution of parts with Ovington and Seavolution, and the B14 is a strong and robust boat well used to 30 knot winds in the right hands, requiring little or no maintenance, ask Nick Craig!

It's been a great year for the class, the Facebook page is busy and has seen a significant increase in new members, the traveller's series with 6 events including National and Euro-World championships has seen close racing and camaraderie.

With another full TT calendar for 24, shared nationals with i14's in Torbaydos in June and the Worlds in Sydney, January 2025 now is a great time to put your hat in the B14 ring; you won't regret it!

All images are available at paulgibbinsphotography.pixieset.com/finalfling2023

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