by Andy Rice
2008 International 14 Worlds off Warnemunde, Germany
High winds off Warnemunde meant that no racing took place today at the International 14 Worlds. The plan is to run two back to back races tomorrow to get the event back on schedule. Australians Roger Blasse and Andrew Gilligan currently lead the series after three races.
The lack of sailing has given sailors the chance to discuss the future of this high-performance development class. One rule change under consideration is to allow two sets of sails to be measured in for championships. This would enable teams to go racing in strong winds without having to battle with the large square-headed mainsails that have become the norm in the past few years.
With Chris Turner and Adam Ovington racing the new Pickled Egg design built by Ovington Boats, a number of teams are wondering whether it’s time to upgrade to a new boat. Others look at Andy and Tom Partington’s four-year-old M12 hull which has won two races this week, and wondering whether there is any performance gain to be made from buying new. And the Partingtons themselves must be wondering whether they should be selling their boat after all, which is currently on the For Sale noticeboard for Euros 10,000.
Double Olympic medallist Simon Hiscocks is at the Worlds sailing with his 49er helmsman Dave Evans, getting to grips with the unique challenges of the 14, not least the subtleties of T-foil rudders and raking rigs. Hiscocks won the first of his two medals on Sydney Harbour in 2000, so perhaps he will be tempted to have a go at the next 14 Worlds, set to take place at Manly in January 2010.
Meanwhile, with two races set for tomorrow, sailors will have to weigh up how much of the beer they can afford to sample on the brewery tour organised for this evening. With the waves rolling across Warnemunde Bay, it’s hard enough staying on your feet without suffering from the after-effects of 5% German beer. On past performance, however, most Fourteeners will throw caution to the wind, drink the booze while it’s strong and free, and take their chances on the race course tomorrow.