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14 September 2006, 08:59 am
MASSEY Has The Light Touch, But HAMLIN Moves Out
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International 14 World Championship 2006
Long Beach, California, USA

Archie MASSEY and George NURTON (GBR) heard two sounds that that made their day on Wednesday. At the start of the fourth race of the International 14 World Championship, MASSEY said, 'We stayed around the committee boat so we knew right where the line was, and we actually heard them shout, 'All clear!' ' - meaning that all 67 boats started properly, unlike Sunday when MASSEY finished first by two minutes but forfeited his runaway win because of a starting violation.
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And at the end of Wednesday's race, sailed in light winds similar to Sunday, they heard an even sweeter sound: the horn for the winner, which was painfully silent for the British sailors earlier.

Even better, MASSEY and NURTON and three others who fell victim to the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Race Committee's sharp eyed judgment on Sunday but have sailed well otherwise will discard their disastrous 72 point scores after Thursday's fifth race. Those include Tina and Trevor BAYLIS of (USA), whose other finishes are 3,5,5; past champions Robert GREENHALGH of Britain (7,4,8) and Grant GEDDES of Australia (3,11,9). Also, there is Britain's Katie NURTON (2,19,4), who dropped out of race two with a foot injury.

But MASSEY expects they will need more help than that to overtake leaders Howard HAMLIN and crew Euan MCNICOL (USA), who finished second on Wednesday.

'Oh, they're going to win,' MASSEY said. 'They haven't been out of the top four in any races. We're aiming for the top five.'

Leaders Pull Away

HAMLIN and MCNICOL (1,4,2,2) stretched their lead to eleven points because their nearest rivals - Team Pegasus buddies Shark KAHN, the 17 year old skipper, and Paul ALLEN (USA) - stumbled to 14th place following Tuesday's impressive crash and recover victory, and they had to work their way back from 39th at the first mark to do that well.

'We had the worst start in the world,' KAHN said.

They are now third, two points behind Britain's Michael LENNON and crew Jon BLACKBURN, who have been sailing a quietly consistent 4,8,3,5 regatta.

Following Monday's 22 knots and Tuesday's 15, the breeze started at five knots on Wednesday and built to only ten by the end of the twelve nautical mile race. The sea was relatively smooth so capsizing was minimal.

Race Four

MASSEY and NURTON and HAMLIN and MCNICOL started at opposite ends of the line and worked opposite sides of the course, which apparently made no difference.

'For a long time we didn't look that good out there,' HAMLIN said. '[MASSEY] came from the other corner and we rounded [the first windward mark] just ahead of him, but he likes the light stuff.'

MASSEY and NURTON finished about 30 seconds ahead of HAMLIN and MCNICOL, with the BAYLISES another ten seconds back just ahead of LENNON and BLACKBURN.

The sailors on top have been competitive in both conditions, light and heavy.

Trevor BAYLIS (CAN) said, 'It's nice to hang with the flyweights and [also] go when it's heavy. We just have to beat Howie.'

Top Ten

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 Pts
1 USA Howard HAMLIN Euan MCNICOL 1 4 2 2 9
2 GBR Michael LENNON Jon BLACKBURN 4 8 3 5 20
3 USA Samuel 'Shark' KAHN Paul ALLEN 5 2 1 14 22
4 AUS Lindsay IRWIN Andrew PENNY 9 1 9 11 30
5 USA Kris BUNDY Jamie HANSELER 3 25 7 6 41
6 CAN Bruce EDWARDS John VINCZE 12 10 8 13 43
7 AUS Brad DEVINE Denis Paul JONES 24 11 6 10 51
8 AUS David ALEXANDER John BANNISTER 11 15 13 15 54
9 AUS Alex NEWMAN Derek LAYFIELD 16 18 15 16 65
10 CAN Fred EATON Jason LEMIEUX 7 20 27 12 66

Racing continues daily through to Saturday, starting at 1430 on Thursday and Friday and 1300 on Saturday.

Supporting sponsors for the International 14 World Championship are West Marine Products, Ronstan, North Sails, Glaser Sails, Irwin Sails, SailingProShop.com, Magic Marine, Acqua di Gio Georgio Armani, Shackle Dog and Labatt's.

Rich ROBERTS (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Archie MASSEY and George NURTON took yesterday's bullet:© Rich ROBERTS/underthesunphotos.com
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