Brits and Aussies dominate International 14 Worlds
Published on August 31st, 2016
Carnac, France (August 31, 2016) – After yesterday’s layday, it was a slow start to the fifth day at the VR Sport T.V. International 14 World Championships. There was very little breeze across Quiberon Bay, and so unsurprisingly the AP flag was hoisted.
The indefinite postponement gave the sailors time to compare notes on their night out and to fill in any gaps in their memories. By the time everyone was up to speed, the wind had picked up, and the AP was removed. The fleet were able to launch and set up on starboard to reach out to the racecourse.
The start gun went at one o’clock with an even spread of boats across the line. The leaders struck out right, towards the shore, with Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane (GBR) leading the fleet into the windward mark along the starboard layline, closely followed by Glen Truswell and Sam Pascoe (GBR). A relatively short beat meant that the fleet was tightly packed together at the windward mark. This put immense pressure on the crews to get the kites up, to avoid being buried under the fleet.
The next windward leg was lengthened to accommodate for the fact that the breeze had picked up to a steady 14-15 knots across the course. Katie Nurton and Nigel Ash (GBR) took full advantage of this, having rounded the first windward mark in 6th, and sent it through the fleet. When asked, Nurton explained that due to the fact that tactically the race was relatively straight forward, the biggest priority was boat speed, which after 15 years of sailing a 14 together those two have in abundance.
As the race wore on, Truswell and Pascoe continued to hound Gilbert and McGrane, but the duo were having none of it, and extended to their lead to finish comfortably ahead of the rest of the fleet. Nurton and Ash finished in third, with Mark Krstic and James Lanati (AUS) just behind in fourth.
After today’s racing, the crews were able to discard one of their results. Although this hasn’t changed the top three rankings, it does mean that Trusswell and Pascoe were able to discard their 7th, which has given them a seven point lead over Neale Jones and Ed Fitzgerald (GBR), and Gilbert and McGrane, who are occupying second and third respectively on equal points.
The next two days are forecast to be light and shifty, and the sailors mull this over after sailing, debating the local mechanics of the sea breeze, and whether it will kick in. There are many theories, but no obvious conclusion and so the conversation returns to Tuesday night’s antics.
An American disappears to the bar to return with two cold beers for an American crew. “We like to keep things out of the jury room,” he explains, handing out the beers. Turns out that there had been some minor rule infringement at the leeward mark between their boat and the Germans, and that 14 tradition dictates that this is the primary method for reconciliation and justice. If only all disputes could be so easily settled.
Racing for the 76 teams is scheduled for August 26 to September 2.
Report by Ellie Meopham.