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B14s in 2023 - It's a wrap!

by Crispin Taylor 13 Dec 2023 06:34 PST
B14 Worlds at Lake Garda Day 5 © Lotte Johnson /

The UK and European B14s have enjoyed a cracker of a season with seven events including the European and World Championships at Lake Garda. Our Facebook group membership has grown to over 800, an increase of 100+ this year with lots of interest being show in the class.

The Dinghy Show stand was in fine form, with Seavolution B14 799 on the stand fully rigged alongside the latest Solent Boat Works B14. The stand was very well supported by B14 members, and the visitor traffic was impressive throughout the weekend, with a special guest appearance from Julian Bethwaite, the designer who dropped in on his way back to Sydney.

Russ Gibbs and Lucy Loughton in B14 762 had a cracking race at the Starcross Steamer on 29th January only narrowly missing the win from Charlie Chumbley in the OK. As well as being great boats on the open circuit, results like these demonstrate that the B is also a very competitive boat in mixed fleet sailing. They also showed great pace at Garda with a win and some super competitive results!

The first TT event was the skiff open at Rutland in March 4/5th for the brave and hardy. Mark Barnes and Josh Wilce won with Amir and Nick 2nd.

TT event 2 was the Stokes Bay Skiff open. Circa 70 boats and well attended by B's, 700s, Musto's and 800s the atmosphere on and off the water was great. Mark Watts & Matt Johnson (MJ) won from Crispy and Jamie 2nd with Russ & Lucy 3rd. Sadly team B14 failed dismally at the Dan Vincent killer quiz in last place!

Next off to WPNSA in May for the National Championships sharing the event with other skiffs. The weather gods were not forthcoming, and the event was sailed in challenging and tricky conditions with only three races sailed.

Nick Craig and Tobytastic won from Peter Knight and Giles with Mark Watts & MJ 3rd.


The class decided to share the venue with the Musto Skiffs and Circolo Velo Torbole did a fabulous job of accommodating both fleets on and off the water. Lucy Loughton (762) did an epic job of organising off water entertainment including the B14 sweepstake won by Paul and Guy.

The European B14 event was 9 races over 3 days. Fabulous racing in varying conditions on the lake resulted in close and challenging racing.

Between them, CVT and @lottejohnson produced excellent pictures of both events.

The European championship was won by Mark Watts & MJ, with Nick and Tobytastic 2nd and mark Barnes and Simon Reynolds 3rd.

The World championship was raced over 5 days. The Ora was inconsistent leading to winds on different days from all points of the compass. Racing was close and tactical with the top three, Mark Watts, Nick Craig and Craig Garmston (Melbourne AUS) all in the mix.

In the end, Mark Watts & MJ were crowned world champions, with Craig & Paul (AUS) 2nd, Nick & Tobes 3rd. Leigh Dunstan (AUS) Barnsie & Simon and Crispy & Gi took the next three places.

CVT did a super job running the event and welcoming the B's and Musto's. No one doubts that the class will be back, it's just when!

September saw the Whitstable open shared with the Dart 18's. As always, WYC did a great job on and off the water creating a very special event that is in the calendar for 2024.

A second season TT win for Barnsie, crewed by Jack with Gerry and Leaky 2nd and 797 this time helmed by Kathy with Mark Watts crewing 3rd.

So off to the final fling in Plymouth for the now annual mixed fast handicap event in the sound. Great courses coupled with big breezes on day one ensured that the 7 B14's enjoyed great conditions with Mark & MJ in the overnight lead, closely followed by Barnsie and Kathy and Crispy and Gi. Sunday dawned light and shifty which delayed the start... luckily for some who had 'sampled' the best of Plymouths night life and appeared through the haze like a scene from the living dead ? Barnsie did a great job of holding off Mark & MJ 2nd and Crispy & Jack 3rd

A superb season for the B14 with great events in fabulous conditions here in the UK and Lake Garda for the European and World championships. Sharing events with other skiff classes has been highly successful on and off the water and ensures that we can deliver a critical mass and secure excellent venues for future events.

The overall winner of the traveller trophy for 2023 was Mark Barnes and crew(s) in 799, Mark Watts and MJ, 797 2nd with Crispy and Gi, 789 3rd. The trophy will be awarded at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show in February where you'll also be able to meet class sailors.

2024 sees a packed traveller programme with an event each month and a national championship shared with the I14s at Royal Torbay in June.

The season finale will be the Australian National Titles in Sydney late December 2024 before the start of the Sydney World titles in January 2025.

Has there ever been a better time to buy a B?

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