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International 14 Australian Championship 2012-13 returns RQYS

by Neil Patchett on 23 Mar 2011
2010 International 14 Worlds Christophe Favreau © http://christophefavreau.photoshelter.com/
The International 14 fleet will race from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for the 2012-13 Australian Championship.

The I14 has a history that can be traced back to the early 1900s in Queensland and even further back in other parts of the world. The class once raced in good numbers on Waterloo Bay and the fleet is looking for a return to a proven track.

While the class is rightly proud of its history - that includes the invention of the planning hull about 90 years ago and the trapeze some 80 years ago - its sailors are first and foremost smitten by the challenge and speed delivered by the 14.

Two-time Australian and World champion Archie Massey has dominated the national scene for the past few seasons in his all-black, modified Bieker 5 George first. With upwind speed of better than 10 knots at times and downwind at 'shut up and hang on' speed, the 14s deliver sufficient thrills and spills to remain one of the stronger skiff classes on the Australian sailing scene.

While the 2010 World Championship on Sydney Harbour attracted 108 entries that included representatives from Great Britain, Germany, Canada, USA and Japan - the typical fleet size for an Australian Championship over recent years is between 30-40.

The innovation of the class has allowed the boats to remain at the forefront of sailboat technology for more than 100 years and this is currently evident in the square top mains, adjustable hyrdrofoil rudders and all carbon build. This year's top boats are Paul Bieker B5 designs featuring rudder foiles of around 1200 - 1300 wingspan and predominately Alexander or Irwin sails flown of CST carbon masts.

Class stalwart Stewart Vickery is offering quality clear finished carbon B5 hulls for around $12000. Although Bieker designs have dominated the class over the past decade, new designs like Tom Partington's Ting Tong, complete with 'dreadnought' bow, are raising interest in the northern hemisphere.

RQYS provides excellent facilities on the edge of Waterloo Bay which is renown for its steady summer seabreezes, mainly out of the nor'east, on a race track that is relatively flat. The venue is also an easy drive to 'Brisvegas' and the Gold Coast, with the Sunshine Coast and North Stradbroke Island other nearby regional attractions.

Perhaps the return to RQYS will also allow the class to reconnect with the humble Oxley Sailing Club - way upstream on the Brisbane River - where the class raced for many decades on the snaking brown river with local stalwarts with names like Lovelock, Goldsmith, Love and Cameron playing their part in 'Fourteens are Forever'.

The 2011/12 regatta program is as follows:
Measuring and registration on the 28/12/12
Invitation 29/12/12
Heat one 30/12/12
Heat two 31/12/12
lay day 01/01/13
Heat three 02/01/13
Heat Four 03/01/13
Heat five 04/01/13
Heat six 05/01/13
Heat seven 06/01/13 and presentation night.

www.international14.org

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