A total of 30 International 14s gathered in Bracklesham Bay for the start of the International 14 Gallon Trophy over the weekend of 21-22 July

A total of 30 International 14s gathered in Bracklesham Bay for the start of the International 14 Gallon Trophy over the weekend of 21-22 July. The wind varied around 13 knots from the South-west.

The Gallon is one of the most prestigious International 14 trophy second only to the POW. There is little doubt that the Gallon retains a certain importance to the 14 fleet if only because it has been won by so many sailing legends over the years.

This year’s course was very long as usual and consisted of five rounds of Sausage/triangle out in the bay, followed by a ride over Hayling Bar and a trip towards Emsworth. Then, out to the bar again and finally back into Chichester Harbour and the finish at ‘Gallon Line’ near to Itchenor Sailing Club.

The fleet split evenly left and right up the first beat and a gaggle of boats reached the windward mark just feet from one another. Colin Goodman and Sam Gardener just squeaked round first from a strong field including former 14 World Champion Charles Stanley with James Storey and 505 legends Mark Upton Brown and Ian Mitchell.

On the ensuing leg Goodman/Gardener had managed to establish a small gap. Second at the bottom was Victor Brellisford and Damian Ash followed by 14 Class Chairman, Paul Vine and Dave Derbrovnic, Stanley/Storey, Upton Brown/Mitchell and Zeb Elliot and Tim Hancock.

Elliot/Hancock were on a charge after a weak first beat and got through Vine/Derbrovnic and Stanley/Storey to slot into third position. The first three boats then took advantage of the private battles going on behind to edge away from the rest of the fleet before starting the business of attack and defence. A long and very civilised game of cat and mouse ensued as the gaps between the three boats opened and closed.

Yet the boatspeed of the three was remarkably similar and ultimately the positions remained unchanged.

Back in the fleet, however, the racing was more cut and thrust – and the gambles taken were much larger with more dramatic results.

At the end of the fifth lap in the Bay, the boats headed for the harbour via a halfway mark. Positions were hotly contested. Stanley/Storey still held fourth place, followed by Vine/Dubrovnic, then Upton Brown/Mitchell and Jonathon Pudney and John Mckenna followed by another former 14 World Champion Roddy Bridge and Douglas Pattison.

The waves by the Hayling Bar are never the most forgiving and Vine/Derbrovnic did a most spectacular pitch pole with the entire boat leaving the water. No injuries were sustained, but their race was now lost and Pudney/McKenna slipped through into sixth position (checking over their shoulders to make sure that Vine/Derbrovnic were OK!). Pudney/McKenna gained on Upton Brown/Mitchell and finally crossed ahead on the beat back out to the Bar, only to lose their lead again on the next hoist. Bridge/Pattison meanwhile managed to sail past both of them on the downwind leg to pull a well-earned fifth out of the bag.

Once ashore, however, it became apparent that Stanley/Storey, Pudney/McKenna, Upton Brown/Mitchell and Bridge/Pattison had all rounded the final mark to starboard instead of port and so were disqualified.

As a result, Itchenor Class Captain Robert Sutherland sailing with Nick Martin – the next boat to round correctly – found themselves unexpectedly ‘in the chocolates’ and provided a demonstration (as if yet another were required) that it ain’t over until it’s over!

Overall Results

1st GBR1451 Colin Goodman/Sam Gardener – Ovington 3

2nd GBR1450 Victor Brellisford/Damian Ash – Ovington 3

3rd GBR1460 Zeb Elliot/Tim Hancock – Bieker 3

4th GBR1435 Robert Sutherland/Nick Martin – Ovington 3