The Best Youth Events?

The P&B kids, those are the children of Dave Wade and Tom Stewart and their wives, have just enjoyed another superb Junior Bourne End Week leading many of us here to wonder which the best Junior sailing events are.


Junior Bourne End Week, is actually only three days long but is packed with a mixture of fun team games on and off the water and some racing. It is hard to tell whether the kids were prouder of their sailing successes or of their team game victories. It doesn’t matter too much as they all want to return next year for more fun. If your kids are not too sure about sailing we think JBEW might be the least intimidating fun regatta.

The Optimist Championships attracts some of the best youth sailors in the country and many of our Olympic stars have been schooled here. The coached fleets at the Optimist Championships offer an exceptionally high level of tuition and a high proportion of coaches to sailors. This is probably the best way to bring forward the burgeoning talent of your child.

Vita Heatchote


The kids at JBEW suffered some pretty unreasonable and unseasonable weather. Meaning that if they had them drysuits were the order of the day. But once the kids were well wrapped up they were happy to sail and play in the water all day.

This weekend it is the adults turn for fun and Wader and Tom Stewart are off to Brightlingsea to sail Fireballs and 12s. The boys will no doubt test out some development sails on the race track followed by some beer after.

The Merlin Rocket Class Silver Tiller circus moves to Beautiful Lyme Regis where Oli Wells will fly the P&B Flag and hope continue the success enjoyed by the P&B Musto Race Team at Aldeburgh last weekend where they took first place. Down wind speed was the key to this success which is largely down to the excellent Spinnaker. As soon as we sailed a hot angle we had a clear advantage and were able to come from behind however if you don’t nail the gybes you have to start the hard work again as you can see in this video.




International, national and local success

What a wonderful couple of weeks it has been both here in the UK and Internationally and with success a plenty, where to start is the question?

Sailing achievement of the year is a possibility; Mike Holt, P&B powered 505 World Champion, winner of this Yachts and Yachting award who then promptly followed this award with a podium placing at the 2015 Bloody Mary. More on this later.

“After campaigning for 25 years, Mike took an extremely gratifying win from a fleet of 173 boats at the SAP 505 World Championships, sailing with crew Rob Woelfel. Together they fought off competition from five other boats, all of whom had been capable of winning on the last day, and it was neck and neck to the line. It was an outstanding performance in a class that takes a huge amount of skill and dedication to excel in.” – Georgie Corlett-Pitt. Editor – Yachts & Yachting Magazine.”

Or we could go with another Y&Y award for a P&B supported sailor. Youth sailor of the year, that went to the superbly talented Vita Heathcote.

Not only has Vita been successful in winning the Optimist senior title at the age of 13, alongside victory at the Irish Nationals, she was the best placed UK sailor at the Optimist Worlds. Vita is also an absolute credit to sailing in general. We would like to add that Vita has been a superb ambassador for P&B both on and off the water, we look forward to continuing to support her in 2015.

Quite often at this time of year we escape our current winter blues and shift the focus to warmer climes and in particular Australian waters. It seems that P&B sails are just as fast down-under.

We start with the International 14 World Championships, P&B’s Ben McGrane and James Hughes finished 2nd overall (for the third time, we believe). Ben has produced a marvelous article highlighted by Y&Y on his time down under which is well worth a read and can be found through this link.

Moving swiftly on, P&B powered Ashley Smith & Adam Kingston secured the 2015 Flying 15 Australian National Championships and this result was complemented by two other suits of P&B sails in the top five.

Congratulations to:

3972 1st Overall, Ashley Smith & Adam Kingston

3611 3rd Overall, Trevor Williams & Damian Anderson

4006 4th Overall, Mark Daly & Nicole Magyar

Moving along the Australian coast to the recent 505 National Championships, where P&B powered Kevin Cameron & Sam Heritage took the overall win with four race wins out of eight.

Now for closer to home…

The Bloody Mary 2015 :- Entered into the Yachts and Yachting hall of fame as one of the Top 5 events in the world, the event draws competitors from all over the UK and this year all the way from California too!

Showing the form that won him racing ‘Performance of the Year’ was Mike Holt. Just off the plane fighting off jet lag, a tight course and a huge amount of boats to pass along the way, Mike finished an excellent 3rd overall, again using a full P&B sail inventory. This was backed up by another P&B boat in the top five. On a day and a course that was not for the slow boats, Mike Sims sailing a Solo did a superb job to finish 10th overall using his Solo Radial main. Only 71 boats out of the 236 entered finished in the brutal conditions.

Finally for this week we end as close to home as it is possible for P&B, with the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy. Set up in memory of P&B employee Steve Nicholson, this event proved another superb success. A new record was set in the single handed division with over 80 boats on the start line. It was a fantastic day with money being raised for asthma research and for this team at least, the icing on the cake was local sailor Will Gulliver taking the overall win in the single handed division.

Will was using the latest Phantom Radial mainsail, constructed  from ODL04.5 cloth. The new sail has been through the design team’s hands this winter and appears to be superbly fast! With an optimized patch layout and new epoxy battens to go with the recently optimized batten pockets.

This is possible because at P&B we design, build, cut and re-cut our sails in-house in Northampton. This allows us to streamline our processes whilst  maintaining the quality control throughout the process. Our sails are fast across the globe.

Our laminate Radial Sail Range is fast across the classes, as was proved by taking first and second in the Solo class and Dave Wade and Ben Rayner stepping back in to the Merlin class to finish fifth overall in the double handers and first overall in the Merlin fleet.

Well done to everyone that is sailing through the winter. Next up in the UK is the Tiger Trophy and if the forecast is to be believed it must be time to read the P&B Newsletter regarding the merits of Wetsuits versus Drysuits! and invest in good gloves a new hat and some strong leg muscles!




505 Mike Holt  Y&Y Racing Performance of the Year

Youth sailor of the year award Vita Heathcote

International 14 Worlds 2nd Overall

Flying 15 Australian nationals championships 1st 3rd and 4th

505 Australian nationals 1st and 4th.

Bloody Mary Results 3rd 5th and 10th Overall

Steve Nicholson 1st Single handers , 1st Phantom, 1st Solo, 1st merlin Rocket, 1st National 12.



New year, new boats and new opportunities at P&B.

After a hugely successful 2014 both on and off the water  Pinnell & Bax enter 2015 full of the joys of spring despite the dark days of winter.

The brighter climes of Australia is where we start this week, with the teams warming up for the I14 World championships. 69 teams have entered and P&B’s charge is being headed up by Ben Mcgrane and James (Uzi) Hughes. At the time of writing  a lack of breeze has led to a slow start  with no significant racing as of yet. Remaining on the sunny isle, P&B Fireball sailors Tom Gordon and Jack Fletcher claimed the first podium finish of 2015 finishing a close second in the recent Australian championships and 25 years on from Alan Bax’s (P&B founder) 1990 world championship success in Brisbane the Flying 15’s are in the middle of the their Australian championships with the newest F15 supplied by P&B to Mark Daly fighting hard for the top of the podium. Final reports on Friday.

With a number of major championships up and coming in the early part of the year we take a brief  look at some of the latest development ideas in the new boats and how they are taking shape.

First on the agenda are the 505’s with their world championships taking place in  in South Africa at the end of March.  A huge amount of work was put in over the 2014 season with the sails and rig. Chief among these was moving from a cross cut to a full radial mainsail and tweaking the monster shaped kite.

Pleased to say that this culminated in P&B sails taking the 2014 World championship title and finishing with three boats in the top six overall a superb achievement.

With a number of new 505’s hulls hitting the water from the P&B Northampton stable over the next few months (being shipped to clients both in the UK and Europe)  we have been turning our attention to the hull layout. Using the new maximized Ovington hull shape there have been a number of small but significant changes.

First among these is the change in the mainsheet bridle system. Whilst the 505 previously had the self tacking car and hoop system this latest re-invention now takes this hoop away and the self tacking bridle (led to either side of course) means the bridle can be pre-set on each tack equating to faster tacking smoother system.

Sometimes simple is best… Gone are the clunky bent jib track and cars, replaced by a superb two line dynema system that allows both the height of the jib and the ‘in/out’ to be controlled at the flick of a rope. These are calibrated to pre- set settings, vital for changing gears quickly and keeping the slot flowing.(again led to both sides and in the centre console.)

Finally and just to emphasise the attention to detail that goes into every  boat that comes out of P&B, we highlight the centre console carbon mount. Individually crafted to fit each boat and changed according to the clients layout.

Any questions on the 505 please feel free to talk to Ian or Oli on 01604 592808

Whilst we fit out, prepare, tune and calibrate over 15 classes of dinghy here at P&B ranging from the Optimist through to the 3 man swing keeled SK2  there are other new design boats working through the P&B line in the next few months. These include the new JP SOLO with its beautiful, clean lines and tweaked hull shape and the all new P&B  built Scorpion going through the  final building stages before hitting the fit out team ready for its virgin competitive sail at the grafham grand prix.

For any questions queries or comments on any of the classes please feel free to e-mail Oli on or call 01604 592808

*****  Stop press  – New vacancy  Northampton Sailloft  ******

The Sail-loft at P&B has an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and driven individual to join our Northampton based Sail-Loft team.

As a Sail Maker, you will be making Championship winning sails, covers and accessories for World Champions. With training provided on the job, no previous experience is necessary.

As a member of our P&B work force you would have the opportunity to represent the company at shows such as the RYA Dinghy Show, having first hand contact with our existing and potential customer base. As a P&B employee you would also have the opportunity to join the Zhik P&B Race Team, competing in events across the country alongside some of the nations most talented sailors.

For all enquires please forward a current CV to David Wade at


The SK2 arrives and the 2015 Winner team is announced.

Introducing the SK2

Swing keel sailing comes to the global sports boat market. In partnership with Sk2, Pinnell & Bax are proud to announce the SK2.

Following on from a number of months testing and developing the rig and layout in partnership with Sk2 and Selden, the team at P&B have finalised the sails and Ovington boats are busy building the hulls.

This 5.6 metre sports boat is launched from a trolley just like a dinghy and gives sailing for either 2 or 3 crew. The SK2 features a swing keel (or canting keel) that was first brought to mainstream attention when the Volvo Open 70 class boats used it in the 2006 around-the-world race.

The keel works as movable ballast.  When sailing the keel is canted to windward allowing for greater performance. The result of this extra righting moment is that the boat can carry increased sail area, the main and jib have 20 sqm between them. The laminate sails have been configured with a square topped mainsail to maximise the area and encourage dynamic gust response, the jib features a positive roach supported by vertical leech battens which allow the sail to be easily furled.  The sail area is more than doubled when the 26sqm kite is flown.

This asymmetric kite has been designed with a high clew position to give good visibility. The sheet loads are  surprisingly light with one hand being enough to trim the kite even in 23 knots of breeze.

The boat is, in our opinion, beautifully balanced and an awful lot of fun to sail.  For those that are going to the Datchet flyer on Dec 13th/14th the SK2 will be being sailed by Sail loft manager Dave Wade and P&B South director Ben Mcgrane.

Following this The Sk2 will be touring around the country for those that wish to have a test sail.  The next date is at Grafham Water where it will be available for a test sail on the 27th of December before competing in the Grafham Grand Prix on the 28th.  The boat then moves to Queen Mary sailing club on January the 17th and 18th and is available to sail at any time from Warsash or Hamble.

For further details please call Oliver on 01604 592808 or e-mail directly on

Winner team announced for 2015

After weeks of working and sifting through the applications for the prestigious 2015 P&B/ Winner optimist team the decision has been made.

P&B and Winner boats wish to thank every sailor that took the time to apply. As always the standard has been exceptionally high and there are a number of sailors that we will be monitoring over the next 12 months with a view to the 2016 intake.

However the three sailors selected for the 2015 season are:-

Vita Heathcote:-

For those that sail Optimists or follow the reports Vita needs little introduction. A member of the historic all ladies 2014 P&B/Winner team, Vita has had a hugely successful year. Nominated for 2014 Youth Sailor of the Year in the Y&Y awards, Vita also took the UK Optimist 2014 national champion title. (following up from her UK junior title last year) and placed in the top 35 at the World Championships in Argentina. (The best result by a British sailor for a number of years)

William Heathcote:-

Starting the season strongly William won the Optimist spring championships at the age of 13. And continued his rise with a 3rd at the 2014 Inlands, an overall win at the 2014 Irish nationals (Junior fleet) and has finished the season as the number one ranked Optimist sailor in the UK.

Julia Mellers:-

Julia came to sailing 4 years ago at the age of 9, Julia’s rise has been phenomenal. From an initial ranking of 77th in 2012 to 6th in 2013, Julia is currently ranked 5th at the end of the 2014 season. Her track record of success this season includes being selected for the Europeans team. Her level of consistency has been second to none. Further results include 2nd at the 2014 inlands (1st lady), 3rd Brit at the 2014 Uk Optimist nationals and 6th (1st lady again) overall at the end of season championships.

Pinnell and Bax are proud to sponsor these future stars.

Winner in Denmark are hard at work building and putting together the customised winner 3d Star boats for the start of the new season. The team sailors will then be invited to the team Clinic in Denmark on February the 28th where they can collect their new boats.

To celebrate this we will running a competition with limited edition team Winner jackets and P&B kevlar reinforced gloves to be won.

Check the P&B, facebook page later today to enter…