2014 has been a mixed year for the Bytes, but signs are promising with a new UK builder, a healthy number of orders for new boats, and a slight overall increase in the number of attendees at travellers series events.

Losing Ovingtons as UK builders of the Byte was a worrying time, and a couple of new boats were imported all the way from Nautivela in Italy. Secondhand boats with the C11 rig were in short supply and were quickly being snapped up. However, just before the 2014 Dinghy Show in March at Alexandra Palace we had the excellent news that Hartley Boats had been appointed as the UK builders. Hartley Boats offered a big discount on the first batch of boats, and have taken approaching 20 orders. There was a waiting time and the new boats did not start to appear at open meetings until September.


There were 7 events in the 2014 travellers series, with 4 to qualify. Overall there were 26 entrants, around half of Class Association members, which was an increase of 1 compared with 2013. There were also 3 very well-received training sessions.



The first event was part of the Weston Grand Slam held over the Easter weekend. Stu Moore won in some style with Maggie Futcher sailing brilliantly to take second place. Haversham hosted a great training day at the end of May, with Kev Moore setting some testing exercises in the light conditions. In June we returned to Cardiff Bay for the Inland Championships, with a rather disappointing entry. Louis Saunders was first, with 13 year old Ryan Bush coming second and managing to win one of the races. Charlotte Gough was also sailing fast and retained her ladies trophy by coming third. Even less entered the open at West Oxfordshire in July, where Mike Radford triumphed on his home waters.

Later in July we visited Combs for further training and an open. Local knowledge (and lots of skill) saw a Combs 1 - 2, with Louis beating Rick Whitehouse. This seemed to mark a turning point, because numbers at this and subsequent events picked up. Helms were keen for even more training, this time at a sea venue. Calshot hosted this a week before the Nationals, and Kev Moore ran it brilliantly. We then moved half a mile along the coast to Calshot Activities Centre for the Nationals over the August Bank Holiday. Twelve entered and the first day had strong breezes - another Combs 1 - 2 seemed likely, but who would win this time? After day one Louis was leading, but the light breezes on day two seemed to favour Rick and he became the National Champion, with Louis second and Charlotte third.

In September we returned to Weston, and Ryan claimed the scalp of our National Champion by beating Rick! Finally the fleet assembled at Haversham, where Rick won and Mike was second. Several new helms and two new Hartley Boat Bytes raced here. The overall results showed that Rick had retained his Travellers’ trophy, with Maggie second and Louis third. Plans for 2015 events are being drawn up, and there are high hopes that the class will continue to grow now that we are being backed by Hartley Boats.

Overall

1st Rick Whitehouse (4 events)
2nd Maggie Futcher (4 events)
3rd Louis Saunders (best of 3 events entered)

  Weston Grand Slam Cardiff Inlands West Oxfordshire Combs Calshot Nationals Weston Haversham Overall
Stu Moore 1              
Maggie Futcher 2       6 7 8 23 (2nd)
Eddie Pope 3     4 5      
Clare Mach 4       9 10    
Kev Moore 5         6    
Lewis Bennett 6              
Louis Saunders   1   1 2     (3rd)
Ryan Bush   2       1    
Charlotte Gough   3     3      
Mike Radford   4 1       2  
Andy Sant   5   5 10      
B Nicoll     2          
Rick Whitehouse       2 1 2 1 6 (1st)
Richard Abendstern       3        
Angela Oakley       6 11      
Rachel Eveling         4      
Chris Rees         7 4    
Cathy Bartram         8   4  
Lesley Hunt         12      
Alan Roberts           3 6  
Charlotte Cooper           5    
Olwen Binks           8    
Rachel Moore           9 3  
Tom Mackinder             5  
Rob Bell             7  
Gary Hogan             9