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16 September 2006, 08:44 am
HAMLIN And MCNICOL Clinch Title
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International 14 World Championship 2006
Long Beach, California, USA

Howard HAMLIN and Euan MCNICOL (USA) can sleep in late today because the only item on their schedule is the awards dinner on the Queen Mary Saturday night. The Long Beach skipper and his Australian crew do not plan to sail the seventh and last race after locking up the International 14 World Championship in Long Beach, USA on Friday.
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Third place behind Tina BAYLIS and husband/crew Trevor BAYLIS (CAN) and 17 year old Samuel (Shark) KAHN and crew Paul ALLEN (USA) made them mathematically unbeatable.

The victory was remarkable in that this was only the winners' third International 14 regatta, although both have enjoyed big careers sailing other kinds of skiffs. Hamlin, 53, has won world titles in the 505 classe and just this summer has collected the crown at the International 14 U.S. Nationals on these waters last month, as well as his sixth second in the 505 Worlds.

Fateful Dinner

Over dinner one night last year MCNICOL, 30, talked HAMLIN, 53, into racing an International 14, which is a skittish handful in any conditions.

'He didn't have to talk very hard,' HAMLIN said. 'I'd sailed against Euan for ten years and have my highest regard for him. I was honoured that he wanted me to do it with him. I thought we'd be competitive.'

To say the least. They could have finished eighth Friday, but that would have been far off the pace they set all week with successive scores of 1,4,2,2,2,3 in a full range of conditions, allowing them to spend their discard by taking Saturday off. On Friday it blew 15 knots, with puffs to 17.

MCNICOL said, 'Training together and getting to know each other better, I learned that Howie thinks in the same clear and direct way I do, and I'm at the stage where I have to sail with people of the highest calibre.'

Shark Shines Again In The Wind

With the wind back up after two light air days, KAHN and ALLEN found their groove again to move from fifth place back up to third, five points behind the BAYLIS crew. In fact, they led for most of the race until the final tack for the finish when they stalled, allowing their fellow Santa Cruz competitors to tack on top of them and win by about ten seconds.

'He had kelp on his rudder and almost capsized,' Tina BAYLIS said. 'I thought, hey, we can tack here and have a boat race.'

Their finishing smiles were almost as bright as HAMLIN's and MCNICOL's.

Stronger wind also meant the usual toll in capsizes and dropouts. Of 71 entries, 64 started and 56 finished.

The last race today will start at 1300, conditions permitting.

Top Ten
Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1 USA Howard HAMLIN Euan MCNICOL 1 (4) 2 2 2 3 10
2 AN Tina BAYLIS Trevor BAYLIS (OCS) 5 5 3 5 1 19
3 USA Samuel 'Shark' KAHN Paul ALLEN 5 2 1 (14) 14 2 24
4 GBR Archie MASSEY George NURTON (OCS) 9 12 1 1 4 27
5 GBR Michael LENNON Jon BLACKBURN 4 8 3 5 (19) 8 28
6 USA Kris BUNDY Jamie HANSELER 3 (25) 7 6 4 10 30
7 AUS Lindsay IRWIN Andrew PENNY 9 1 9 (11) 11 6 36
8 GBR James FAWCETT Dave DOBRIJEVIC 8 6 (DNF) 7 6 9 36
9 GBR Robert GREENHALGH Dan JOHNSON (OCS) 7 4 8 18 5 42
10 AUS Grant GEDDES Daniel WILSDON (OCS) 3 11 9 13 11 47

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, Howard HAMLIN and Euan MCNICOL celebrate their world title win after a third place finish on Friday:© Rich ROBERTS/underthesunphotos.com
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