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12 September 2006, 02:05 pm
IRWIN Makes His Move On HAMLIN And KAHN
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International 14 World Championship 2006
Long Beach, California, USA

A few of the 71 competitors in the International 14 Class World Championship took one look at the big wind and waves and did U-turns back into the harbour at Long Beach, USA on Monday. Lindsay IRWIN and crew Andrew PENNY (AUS) and 17 year old Samuel 'Shark' KAHN and crew Paul ALLEN (USA) had different ideas.
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The defending champion IRWIN said, 'We had a few days just like that' when they won the Worlds on the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand last year.

Young KAHN noted, 'This is just like Santa Cruz. We said, 'OK, let's be conservative and win this race.''

So they finished 1,2 in conditions as wild as Sunday's opening race was mild: 22 knots of sea breeze that stirred up a heavy chop and roller coaster swell that tossed the little boats like teacups.

But IRWIN and KAHN could not overtake Howard HAMLIN and crew Euan MCNICOL (USA), who despite spotting their closest rivals 25 to 50 pounds in body ballast in the heavy going put a fourth place next to Sunday's win to remain on top with five points - two ahead of KAHN and ALLEN and five ahead of IRWIN and PENNY.

At least at this early stage, HAMLIN and KAHN - Team Pegasus in skiff competition - have duplicated their finish in last month's Skiff International Regatta at San Francisco.

How Rough Was It?

A few boats capsized while just heading out of the Alamitos Bay jetty into the Pacific Ocean, foretelling a day that saw more flips than a House of Pancakes. Only 61 boats started and 43 finished, IRWIN completing the 13 mile course in 1 hour and 35 minutes, 85 minutes ahead of the last finishers, Kenichi HAGIWARA and crew Satoshi ISHIDA of Japan, who beat the time limit by five minutes and enjoyed their day despite spending much of it upside down.

As they crossed the line HAGIWARA and ISHIDA hailed the committee boat, 'Thank you! Great race!'

KAHN and ALLEN led everybody to the first windward mark, but flying downwind, KAHN said, they mistook a mark boat carrying a spare inflatable buoy for the leeward mark and sailed far enough off course to let IRWIN and PENNY past.

But they were not real disappointed about the outcome. At one point, KAHN said, ALLEN avoided a serious setback when the spinnaker retrieval line flew loose, 'And Paul jumped up on the bow to get it.'

'It was pretty gnarly out there and the waves were high, and we felt like we were going pretty good all day,' KAHN said.

He noted that he also had a fifth and a second on the first two days when he won the Melges 24 Worlds in San Francisco as a mere 13 year-old in 2003.

'But we don't want to get big heads,' he said. 'There are still five days to go.'

IRWIN Has A Good Time

IRWIN also loved the conditions, noting that, 'It's great fun, but you want to sail within your limits. We backed off a couple of times, but once you decide what you're going to do you can't back off or you'll lose control.'

Boats that did not race Monday took last place DNC (did not compete) points that most will discard after five of the seven races.

Britain's Archie MASSEY, who horizoned the fleet Sunday only to forfeit the win for crossing the start line early, placed ninth Monday. Katie NURTON (GBR), who wound up second behind HAMLIN on Sunday, dropped out Monday after injuring a foot that got caught in the hiking straps, but she expected to race Tuesday.

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

Top Ten

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 Pts
1 USA Howard HAMLIN Euan MCNICOL 1 4 5
2 USA Samuel 'Shark' KAHN Paul ALLEN 5 2 7
3 AUS Lindsay IRWIN Andrew PENNY 9 1 10
4 GBR Michael LENNON Jon BLACKBURN 4 8 12
5 GBR James FAWCETT Dave DOBRIJEVIC 8 6 14
6 CAN Bruce EDWARDS John VINCZE 12 10 22
7 AUS David ALEXANDER John BANNISTER 11 15 26
8 CAN Fred EATON Jason LEMIEUX 7 20 27
9 USA Kris BUNDY Jamie HANSELER 3 25 28
10 AUS David HAYTER Matthew JOHNSTON 17 13 30

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, Leaders Howard HAMLIN and Euan MCNICOL:© Rich ROBERTS/underthesunphotos.com
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