Day of Two Halves at International 14 Worlds

Published on August 27th, 2016

Carnac, France (August 27, 2016) – Despite the glassy water this morning, International 14 Worlds competitors were down at Carnac Yacht Club bright and early to rig their boats and dry out their kites, turning the boat park into a sea of colour and activity. Outside the harbour walls however, the wind was yet to be roused, and so a series of indefinite postponements went up.

Now was the time to take the opportunity to scale the boat park for the newest developments, and to compare rig set-ups and for some of the younger members of the International 14 family, park up the pram and take a nap under the shade of the sails. During the hustle and bustle of the postponement, the wind began to fill in, and the fleet were able to launch into a fairly steady 5 knots of breeze.

The first start in light winds saw the fleet pushing the line, demanding a general recall, at which point the race officer swiftly exchanged his Blue Peter for a ‘U’ flag. However, even the wrath of the ‘U’ flag, combined with substantial port-end bias, couldn’t keep the fleet behind the line, and so the second start also ended in a general recall. By this point the wind wasn’t playing ball, and had dropped off, becoming patchy and shifty, and so the AP made a swift return.

After an hour of playing cat and mouse with the wind, the breeze filled in from the left, and the race committee were able to set up a course in a promising 12 knots of breeze. The start was conducted under a black flag, and finally the fleet were off. The first windward mark rounding saw Glen Truswell and Sam Pascoe leading, followed by a swarm of Aussie boats including Mark Krstic and James Lanati, Brad Devine and Ian Furlong, and Roger Blasse and Andrew Gilligan, who had everything to prove following yesterday’s unfortunate breakage.

The wind still had a couple of tricks up its sleeve though, and the fleet were subject to a significant right hand shift at the start of the second beat. This allowed for some re-shuffle at the front of the fleet, of which Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane and Neale Jones and Ed Fitzgerald took full advantage, using the opportunity to propel themselves further up the fleet and into the top five. Jones recounted how “there was a huge right hand shift… which you had to be the right side of” but the duo also made reference to the importance of boat handling around the course due to the fact that “the course was set up for 7 knots”.

Even when the boats shot through the finish line, after three intense laps around the relatively short course, there was still no sense of peace, as the crews raced in to shore to find out whether they had been black flagged. Although the majority of the fleet were safe, several boats including Georg Borkenstein and Elke Dietrich, and David Alexander and Daniel Wildson felt the full power of the BFD, and will now be looking forward to the discard kicking in.

As day two drew to a close, Alisdair Cattanch eloquently summed up the day in stating that although they had to “wait around a wee bit,” that ultimately they were rewarded with “great racing conditions.”

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Report by Ellie Meopham

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