The third B14 world championship will be hosted by Circolo Vela Torbole on the spectacular sailing waters of northern Lake Garda from 12-16 September, 2001. The 10-race series is expected to attract about 50 of these high performance skiffs from around Europe and Australia.
From the drawing board of Julian Bethwaite, world renowned for his 49er and 29er designs, the B14 is a scaled down version of the 18 foot skiff. With two crew hiking from the wide wings, a lightweight easily driven hull and large asymmetric spinnaker, the B14 provides exhilarating sailing for its enthusiastic crews. The class has its roots in Australia and Japan but in recent years has expanded significantly in Europe with a large, competitive class forming in the UK and growing numbers in mainland Europe and Ireland.
UK teams won the first two world championships, held at Weymouth in 1998 and Sydney in 2000. For this third event the UK crews remain favourites but the Australians have sent a strong team of Tony Eccles (AUS 358), Julian Bolleter and Chris Madin (AUS 183), Abby Parkes and Sophie Hunt (AUS 350) and Richie Reynolds and Lissa McMillan (AUS 363).
The UK team contains many of the country’s top small boat sailors who have graduated to the B14 in search of high performance and close one-design racing. Competition will be of a very high standard and all crews are looking forward to typical Garda winds to bring out the best of the talent.
Defending champions Tim Fells and Richard Dowsett (GBR 758) remain the bookie’s favourites to take the title. Tim, a three-time UK Lark champion, teamed up with Richard in 1996 and they have been dominant over recent years. Most recently they produced a performance of a lifetime in taking the UK title with a perfect set of seven race wins.
Steve Lovegrove (GBR 762) holds the most impressive record in the B14 class winning the UK championship on no fewer than four occasions, twice as a crew and twice as a helmsman. Over the last year he has been focussing his talents on the Olympic Tornado circuit and returns to the B14 class brimming with top international experience. For the 2001 worlds he has a brand-new boat and crew, the highly experienced Shaun Barber who has graced the front end of many top boats.
Matt Snedker (GBR 736), a two-time UK Lark Champion teamed up with Dave Dobrijevic, one of the UK’s top crews, in 1999 and has been consistently moving towards the front of the fleet. They started the 2001 season in blistering form winning a string of meetings and will be looking forward to typically breezy Garda conditions in which they are expected to excel.
Jonny Ellis and Spike Daniels (GBR 733) have rocketed into the frame as championship contenders. After a string of top performances in UK one-design fleets they spent six months in the class in 1999 before taking an 18-month lay off. Returning to the class for the 2001 nationals they surprised many by taking second place and have continued this form with a dominant performance to win the recent Hayling Eurocup.
Dave Hayes (GBR 749) built a gilded reputation as one of the UK’s top dinghy crews winning multiple GP14, Enterprise and Lark titles before turning his hand to helming. Teamed with Sean Dwyer, a talented helmsman in his own right, they won the European Championship in France in May and are acknowledged as one of the quickest boats in a breeze.
Steve Fisher (GBR 734) and Neil Barber have sailed together in Larks and B14s for more years than they would care to remember. Always near the front, they are one of the best starters in the fleet (a key asset at Garda) and have proven ability to win.
Others to watch out for include; Matt Searle and Rich Bell (GBR 725) who are beginning to deliver on their known talent, finishing second at Hayling. Recently crowned Firefly champion Jono Pank and Richard Edwards (GBR 746) who are notoriously fast in a breeze. Multiple Optimist champion Jason Andrews and Marcus Lynch (GBR 756