by Robyn Ross
This September marks one year to go before the Toronto International 14 Worlds September 7-22, 2013, which is expected to attract over 80 teams from Canada, the USA, England, Australia, and Japan, to name a few. Competitors, builders and regatta organizers are hard at work preparing for the event. North America alone has seen the influx of nearly 10 newly built boats resulting in a strong used boat market for anyone who is ready to join the class. In addition to world-class racing, the Worlds will offer athletes a fun filled 2-weeks, with great food, tasty spirits and lots of sailing cheer.
Racing in Toronto
In preparation for next year, this September has seen a lot of excitement for the North American International 14 fleet. The National Championships were held on Sept. eighth/9th, followed by the National Team Racing Championships on Sept. 13th, wrapping up with the North American Championships Sept. 15th/16th. These three events were at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, home of the next World Championships, where sailors will be forced to race under a wide variety of conditions.
Day one of the Canadian Championships offered a massive challenge with mid-day racing in sustained winds of 25 knots and 3m waves. These conditions are not for the faint of heart and only the top teams made it onto the race course. Safety boat volunteer Erin Leigh had the trying task of keeping everyone in-check with multiple rescues. The conditions did not stop former Olympian Gordon Cook and crew Christian Pavey, who shot around the course, winning the Itchenor Trays trophy, awarded to the top team after the first day. Day two of this event was tamer with the breeze holding under 10 knots. Racing was tight, but only Chris Leigh and John Hudson in the new K3 design were able to take away hardware from Cook/Pavey by winning the Viscount Alexander of Tunis; a silver bowl awarded for the first place finisher in the long distance race. Cook/Pavey secured the overall win and took home the C.W. Bourke (Overall Skipper) and Bob Davis Memorial (Overall Crew).
New K3, Beachslam
The National Team Racing Championship was held in 10-15 knots with 8 boats and consisted of several 2 vs. 2 races around a ‘digital N’ course. Team racing in I14s is a test of both boat handling and tactics, one in which speed management is critical. Winning the night was Peter Hayward, Marco Koechli, Chris Leigh and John Hudson, who went undefeated. At the World Championships in 2013 countries will compete in a 4 vs. 4 Team Race.
The North American Championships regatta saw teams from Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston and Newport. The first day had light, inconsistent wind and racing for the day was abandoned. Day two saw the breeze fill in after lunch and Skipper Andrew Yates and crew John Curtis, racing their brand new K3, earned straight bullets to win this regatta. It was a job well done for this veteran team in their new boat.
Details for the Toronto International 14 World championship can be found at www.i14.ca.