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International 14 Gallon Trophy at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Neale Jones 24 Jul 07:01 PDT

Douglas Pattison and Mark Tait shot across the line. It was to be the last time they were leading The Gallon...

Why does this matter? "The Gallon" matters.. It is the biggest race outside of the Prince of Wales Cup. It is biggest trophy by volume and price. The winner must fill the troops with a drink of his choice from the Gallon and share their success.

It also comes with a traditional course that has ensured an epic outcome is always assured... 4-6 laps in Bracklesham Bay, screaming reach up Emsworth channel followed by a leg to finish on the Gallon Line near Itchenor: steep chop, ripping tides, Chi Bar, standing waves, Winner Bank, two mile reaches, what more could you want? 25 knots! That was the forecast and after a split decision it was decided (sensibly) to wait an hour and race on the top of the tide in the harbour.

So Douglas and Mark leading... 10 oats in their wake. Katie Nurton and Chris Rodway showing frightening pace, before 3 years of shooting, (and not sailing) took its toll. Although Chris' love of i14s was rekindled and talk of Perth is now potentially on. Andy Fitz & Rich Dobson also featured early on, but spent too long plugging the tide opposite East Head to retain the lead.

Having started slowly, it didn't take Neale Jones and Ed Fitzgerald long to take the lead.. and duly rounded Dunes first. Archie Massey & Harvey Hillary rounded second, recovering well from a weeded start. This was to prove the theme of the day. Dan Holman & Alex Knight followed closely in third. They soon passed Archie and Harvey down to Park. These three remained close over the next few legs and all seem to be right on the money pace wise.

Archie & Harvey made their move on the next beat to Dunes and took the lead, building it to a 100 yds by Marker in the Emsworth channel. Looking good. However they got reeled back in over the course of a series of reaching legs out to the harbour entrance and then back into the Itchenor channel. After clearing weed, Archie & Harvey aimed to show their upwind form in the new Ovi B6, but an untied jib sheet put paid to that.

Meanwhile, all hell was breaking loose across the fleet as the forecast 25 knots came in.... Never have I seen so many individual parts fail in one instance! On a flat-out three-sail reach towards East Head, first the rudder-stock failed, leading to the foils pulling horizontally through the water, which also failed, ejecting helm and crew at 20 knots through the main and jib. Needless to say, they came up slightly dazzled, but otherwise fine and Andy Fiz & Rich are still hooked to the excitement of 14 sailing.

Douglas Pattison & Mark Tait took a lonely third, whilst Andy Penman & Chris Watson finished a stoic fourth.

Back to front. Nursing their own troubles with a snapped tiller extension, snapped through sheer water pressure on the reaches across the harbour entrance, Neale & Ed pulled away for a comfortable win and their first Gallon!

Next up is the Hortons in two weeks and POW at the end August in Falmouth.

Ranking update

The International 14 ranking system has been hotting up with place changes in the podium spots. Douglas & Mark and Archie & Harvey now stepping up to the second and third positions, with Andy F and Andy S sliding down to fourth and sixth respectively. Dan Holman had a good showing over the weekend to move up to fifth overall yet again earning his unofficial nickname "cheval noir".

PosHelm + CrewPts
1Neale Jones + Ed FitzGerald606
2Douglas Pattison + Mark Tait390
3Archie Massey & Harvey Hillary307
4Andy FitzGerald & Rich Dobson272
5Dan Holman & Alex Knight218
6Andy Shaw + Rob Struckett213
7Julian Pearson172
8Kimball Morrison + Jeremy Fowke165
9Robin Pascal & Martin Pascal164
10Andy Partington + Tom Partington147
11Katie Nurton138

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