This weekend nine International 14s made the rare trip to foreign water, taking part in the International 14 Weston SC Open.
With the forecast changing by the hour we arrived expecting anything. On Saturday we had champagne conditions, with 12 to 18 knots while on Sunday the sun was trying to make an appearance giving more inconsistent breeze, posing a good tactical challenge to the fleet.
With the first of the much-discussed early starts on Saturday the fleet were down on numbers for the first race. However as everyone warmed up to the day we had three short course races, showing who’s been sneaking in the training before the upcoming nationals.
Everyone got away from the first start cleanly, with a close fought battle up the first beat between Hugh, Neale, Andy and Mark, with Andy just leading by the windward mark. The first gybe point gave the (imaginary) crowd some entertainment as a misunderstanding between Hugh and Mark resulted in an origami of I14’s as they collided, letting Neale and Ed sneak through to start chasing Andy down. Andy was looking in imperious form comfortably holding the young pretenders at a long arms length, until a caught kite halyard on the final hoist allowed Neale and Ed through to take the lead and win the race.
The second race was again a close fought battle for the lead with Andy and Neale, with Neale and Ed just winning out by the end. With Charlie Duchesne and Tom Bracewell having a strong race following closely in third and Dan Holman and Adam Lees in fourth.
By the final race of the day, the breeze had increased and everyone was feeling the seven previous laps! Highlights included an over confident attempted port flyer from Neale and Ed, being firmly put back in their place by Hugh and Ed. The first top mark brought everyone together and ended up with Andy and Rich having a slight reduction in sail area in their mainsail, however this didn’t seam to affect their performance in the slightest. The race ended with Neale and Ed winning, Andy and Rich second and Charlie and Tom third.
Neale and Ed led overnight, Andy and Rich second and Dan and Adam third.
Sunday had three races planned starting at 9:30am, with some bleary eyed sailors (some more than others) just about making the start in time. With the wind coming off the shore it was tough and variable conditions. The first race got underway with everyone coming off the line very smartly, Dan and Adam gaining an early advantage to the leeward of everyone. However as the fleet got closer to the top mark things started to get patchy and unpredictable. Neale and Ed just edged ahead of Andy and Rich at the top mark, after Dan and Adam were cruelly stranded on the starboard laymen in a large patch of no wind. Dan and Adam recovered by the finish to pip Andy and Rich to second place just behind Neale and Ed.
The second race started in the same way, however with slightly better pressure across the whole course there were plenty of tactical choices resulting in close fought racing all over the course. Neale and Ed were able to put a small gap between themselves and the chasing pack, only to see Dan and Adam, and Andy and Rich roaring downwind in 10 knots more pressure. This saw Neale and Ed sailed around by Dan and Andy on the final downwind leg, as Neale and Ed slowly got hotter, slower and more upset! The race finished with Andy and Rich taking their first victory of the weekend, Dan and Adam in second and Neale and Ed finishing third.
With the breeze dying, the race officer just managed to squeeze the last race in. It was a similar story to the previous race, with many positional changes and Neale and Ed twice being sailed around while sat in no pressure downwind. As the wind completely died on the final leg, Dan and Adam pipped Neale and Ed in the final two metres of the finish as they flapped around going backward with the tide in no wind. Dave Edge and Martin Arnison followed Dan past, as a family battle between the Fitzgeralds relegated Neale and Ed to third and resulted in a retirement from Andy and Rich.
All in all it was two days of fantastic, well run racing enjoyed by all.
|1st||I14||1519||RYS||Neale Jones||Edmundo Fitzherbert||1.0||1.0||1.0||1.0||(3.0)||3.0||10.0||7.0|
|2nd||I14||1530||Itchenor SC||Andy Fitzgerald||Rich Dobson||2.0||2.0||2.0||3.0||1.0||(10.0 RET)||20.0||10.0|
|3rd||I14||15||Netley||Daniel Holman||Adam Lees||3.0||4.0||(7.0)||2.0||2.0||1.0||19.0||12.0|
|4th||I14||1497||Weston||David Edge||Martin Arnison||5.0||6.0||4.0||(7.0)||4.0||2.0||28.0||21.0|
|5th||I14||1546||ISC||C Duchesne||T Bracewell||(10.0 DNS)||3.0||3.0||5.0||6.0||6.0||33.0||23.0|
|6th||I14||1509||Itchenor SC||Tom Watkins||Isabella Hartland||4.0||(10.0 DNS)||5.0||6.0||7.0||5.0||37.0||27.0|
|7th||I14||1534||Weston||Mark Watts||Chris Bishop||(10.0 DNS)||5.0||10.0 DNF||4.0||5.0||4.0||38.0||28.0|
|8th||I14||1488||Itchenor SC||Van Essen Dominic||Simone||(10.0 DNS)||10.0 DNS||6.0||10.0 DNF||8.0||7.0||51.0||41.0|
|9th||I14||1525||ISC||Hugh Maclean||Ed Dyer||(10.0 DNS)||10.0 DNS||10.0 DNS||10.0 DNC||10.0 DNC||10.0 DNC||60.0||50.0|
by I14 GOSSIP