International 14 World Championships – Racing finally gets underway

International 14 World Championships 2011
International 14 World Championships are being held from September 3rd through to the 18th and is hosted by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA). Race two and three finally happened today in Portland Harbour.

The fleet launched into a gusty 20 knot breeze, for two races – the first combined the Prince of Wales (PoW) Cup and race two of the World Championship series.

Eagerness to get on the water at last meant the fleet were uncharacteristically early for the start and the warning signal was sounded promptly at 11:30. The fleet got away first time and by the windward mark Archie Massey and Dan Wilsdon led having worked the left hand side of the beat. They were followed by Georg Borkenstein and Big Eike, Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane and then the chasing pack. Down the run a number of boats overstood, allowing Roger and Ben to close in on second and allowing Mark Kristic and Scott Cunningham to cement fourth followed by Tom Heywood and Ed Clay.

Up the second beat Roger and Ben pasted Georg and the Incredible Hulk to claim third and Tom and Ed squeezed up inside Mark and Scott to secure fourth. The second lap was a triangle and on the second reach Tom and Ed managed to hold the spinnaker longer and pass Georg and the giant.

From there Archie and Dan extended, chased hard by Roger and Ben. Tom and Ed got clear of the chasing pack which was lead by Mark and Scott, Georg and Eike and Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry. Over the next few laps the top three remained the same.

On the final lap, a triangle, Roger and Ben gained on the final beat by working the left and by the windward mark were right behind Archie and Dan. Ben and Roger delayed the hoist and managed to get onto Archie and Dan’s wind before hoisting. On the second reach Archie and Dan managed to hold the kite higher and were nearly laying the finish.

Roger and Ben had to drop and two sail behind them, but in doing so took their wind, making them tea bag to windward. By the finish Roger and Ben were 80 yards clear, and claimed both the PoW Cup (UK National Champions) and the Race two win. Archie and Dan claimed second, followed by Tom and Ed, Lindsay and Andrew, Mark and Scott and a fast finishing Sam Pascoe and Alex Knight who grabbed sixth, and the last replica/crews union place on the final leg.

Race two started in 12 knots of breeze, and slowly dropped to eight knots by the finish. The fleet got away clean all bar one enthusiastic German team. Early up the first beat the boats that had hit the left hand side of the course hard looked good, however the leaders at the first mark emerged from middle right, led by the Georg and the reigning fleet arm wrestling champion, big Eike. Georg and Eike led to the gybe, but by the leeward mark Roger and Ben had taken the lead.

The most spectacular acrobatics prize of the day went to Tom and Ed on the first run, when they pitchpoled over a lobster pot. Archie came through to take second by the end of the third lap.

At the end of day seven (two days racing!) Roger and Ben have a slim lead of just one point over Archie and Dan, with Mark Krstic and Scott Cunningham (AUS) swapping places with Katie Nurton and Nigel Ash who drop to fourth.

International 14 Worlds website