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Images © B14 Skiff Sailing
INTERVIEW WITH B14 WORLD CHAMPION NICK CRAIG
Seven bullets at the Worlds in Tasmania
After eight races, Nick Craig and Toby Lewis won the B14 World Championship with all bullets on the scoreboard. The event gave the 30 boat fleet a mixture of conditions, however in general on the breezy end of the forecast, which was ideal conditions for the skiff class.
Nick and Toby are familiar faces when it comes to the front end of the fleet in One Design racing, with victories in multiple national and international events in a variety of boats. They were also champions of the Endeavour Trophy in 2008 – the annual Champion of Champions event in the UK.
We caught up with Nick after the Worlds:
How long have you been sailing in the B14 Class?
I sailed the B14 for a few years around a decade ago and got back into the class a couple of years ago. I had missed the downwind buzz and great international racing and socials.
Which sail designs do you use and what is it that you like about them?
We use the North LGM-8 3DL mainsail, LJ-4D Dacron jib and the SS-04 kite. I think our rig setup is very powered up but controllable in breeze (with these sails), which gives great pace in every wind condition. The SS-04 kite is really quick downwind!
What was venue like to sail at and what would be your top tip for the venue?
It was an excellent venue – we had sunshine and great wind almost every day :-). Everyone at the sailing club was really friendly, the family made friends and had a good time and we had fun touring around seeing Penguins and amazing beaches!
It is quite tidal with some shallows in odd places at low water so it is worth gaining some local knowledge through racing there, looking at tidal charts and talking to people.
After a successful start to the year, what’s your goal for the rest of 2018?
Do some more great racing in competitive classes – we are lined up to sail in the Merlin Nationals, GP14 and D-One Worlds
What are your top tips for sailing a B14 upwind & downwind?
Upwind in light winds the B14 is quite similar to slow boats – take the shifts and pressure and she likes a surprising amount of leech tension. In breeze, the B14 is very different to anything else I sail upwind and a lot of fun! Pressure is king over shifts and tacks should be made sparingly as you come off the plane.
When going upwind, you are looking to stay on a «high plane»: bow down, touch of windward heel and ease sails to get the boat planing and then gradually sheet in to plane close to the wind. Constant trimming is needed unless the wind is very steady.
Downwind we try to steer the boat through sail trim and body movement to avoid rudder use. Toby is a fantastic kite trimmer which frees me up to look for pressure and try to map a path down the run to stay in the most pressure
You have had great success in multiple classes, what is your secret?
No great secret – outstanding crews, lots of hours on the water, sailing in competitive fleets and always trying new things and seeking to learn.
Thank you Nick and congratulations to yourself and Toby!