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13 September 2006, 09:34 am
KAHN Cuts HAMLIN's Lead To One Point
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International 14 World Championship 2006
Long Beach, California, USA

Affirming the credo that no lead is ever too big, Shark KAHN and Paul ALLEN (USA) had to win Tuesday's race twice to pull to within one point of Team Pegasus team mates Howard HAMLIN and Euan MCNICOL (USA) after three of seven races in the International 14 World Championship hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, USA.
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KAHN and ALLEN led HAMLIN and MCNICOL by about a quarter mile, and HAMLIN and MCNICOL led everybody else by nearly that margin, until early on the last downwind leg when - wait, let them tell it.

In Their Own Words

'We did a major cartwheel,' ALLEN said.

According to KAHN, 'We were just sailing along trying to be conservative when a pretty innocent wave came up in front of us. We went straight into it . . . a perfect cartwheel.'

As the boat pitched forward and went from 18 knots to a dead stop as quickly as you can say a four letter word, they both wound up on the headstay and then in the water. By the time they leveraged the skiff upright, HAMLIN and MCNICOL had flown past to lead by 50 yards at the last leeward mark, where the next race began with the former leaders in full attack mode.

Rather than follow their opponents, they tacked away, drawing HAMLIN and MCNICOL into a tacking duel seldom seen in this class.

'We tried to cover them,' MCNICOL said, 'but unfortunately in the last tack they did a good job and rolled us.'

KAHN and ALLEN won by about two boat lengths. At 6 foot 3 inches and 170 pounds and 6'0'', 190, respectively, they figured that in the day's prevailing breeze of 15 knots they had an edge over HAMLIN (5'9'', 153) and MCNICOL (5'10'', 180).

'We're a little bigger, so we tacked on their lee bow and just sailed a little higher until we were ahead,' ALLEN said.

The Overall Standings

Now HAMLIN and MCNICOL have seven points to KAHN and ALLEN's eight, leaving proud papa Philippe KAHN's (USA) skiff team with about half as many points as anyone else. Could the final outcome be settled by wind conditions the rest of the week?

HAMLIN said, 'We're very happy with second today. We're not gonna beat 'em in that sort of breeze. We have to think in terms of the conditions. The lighter the better.'

The wind was down from Monday's 22 knots but the carnage continued. Late in the race principal race officer Mark TOWNSEND noted over the race channel, 'There seems to be a scattering of upside down boats around the course.'

25 of the remaining 68 competitors did not start on Tuesday, and among those who did there was a very wide gap. The leaders, including Great Britain's Michael LENNON and crew Jon BLACKBURN in third place on Tuesday and overall, and Monday's winners, defending champion Lindsay IRWIN and crew Andrew PERRY of Australia, now in fourth place, lapped much of the fleet while sailing 14 nautical mile race - two and a half times around a windward-leeward course with one reach leg.

Those are the only boats will all single digit finishes so far.

Some boats kept their spinnakers packed but none were seen cautiously opting for 270-degree 'chicken' jibes instead of risking normal jibes, as several did on Monday.

For the second day in a row, following Sunday's ten disqualifications, there were no boats over early (OCS) at the start.

Top Ten

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 Pts
1 USA Howard HAMLIN Euan MCNICOL 1 4 2 7
2 USA Samuel 'Shark' KAHN Paul ALLEN 5 2 1 8
3 GBR Michael LENNON Jon BLACKBURN 4 8 3 15
4 AUS Lindsay IRWIN Andrew PENNY 9 1 9 19
5 CAN Bruce EDWARDS John VINCZE 12 10 8 30
6 USA Kris BUNDY Jamie HANSELER 3 25 7 35
7 AUS David ALEXANDER John BANNISTER 11 15 13 39
8 AUS David HAYTER Matthew JOHNSTON 17 13 10 40
9 AUS Brad DEVINE Denis Paul JONES 24 11 6 41
10 AUS Alex NEWMAN Derek LAYFIELD 16 18 15 49

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

Rich ROBERTS (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Day three was another tough one for the crews on the water:© Rich ROBERTS/
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