Team racing between eight teams will take place from 8 to 10 Februray. In this activity, two four-boat teams go head to head around a very short course in a round robin format. Starting 11 February and running through the 19 Feb will be the fleet regatta, with all 80 boats in one long start line.
The International 14 is a development class, which means that competitors are continually improving their designs and pushing the edge of technology. Right from the start in the 1920's the I14s (and their Australian 14 Foot Skiff counterparts) were made to be light and fast, with their designers pioneering the use of single and twin trapezes, the asymmetric spinnaker, and carbon hulls and masts.
'The action on the water will be thrilling to watch,' said Paul O'DOWD, Commodore of the Takapuna Boating Club. 'Anyone who hasn't watched an International 14 flying by, half-airborne, with the two racers perched high above the water, is in for a treat.'
With the current World Champion Rob GREENHALGH having retired into keelboats with a Volvo 70 campaign, a new champion will be crowned and there are a number of very strong candidates.
For the US, Zach BERKOWITZ, runner-up in the last Worlds in Japan and the winner in Bermuda at the event before that, will be a strong contender sailing with Steve BORDEUX, along with 2000 World Champions Kris BUNDY and Jamie HANSELER. Watch out also for US National champions Ron BOEHM and Pete MOHLER following their usual 'age before beauty' strategy...
From Great Britain, look out for expert 49er sailors Stevie MORRISON with Ben RHODES, and Alistair RICHARDSON sailing with Ian BARKER in the RMW 'works boats'. James FAWCETT and Dave DOBRIJEVIC are already in Takapuna, having airfreighted their boat to maximize tuneup time in the UK and in Auckland. While others such as Mark UPTON-BROWN and Mike PENNOCK, Ian PINNELL and Tim HANCOCK, Archie MASSEY and George NURTON could also be ones to watch.
The Aussies are there in strength, with some 25 boats including previous World Champion Grant GEDDES, Australian National champion Lindsay IRWIN, Jason BEEBE and David HAYTER.
And the Kiwis themselves of course. Running the Worlds in Auckland has brought about a spate of new local boatbuilding, although some of the timing of the new boats may be a little tight… 'She'll be right' no doubt.
The venue for the event is the boating club's new clubhouse, which features huge glass windows overlooking the beach and the Hauraki Gulf. The club will provide commentary on the racing for spectators, though if the winds are right, the mark roundings should be clearly visible from the beach. The highlight of the social schedule is the Prizegiving Dinner, to be held at the nearby Bruce Mason Centre, one of Auckland's cultural gems.
A generous group of sponsors have lent their support to ensure that this regatta could happen. Contributions by the Lion Foundation, the North Shore City Council, Schenker (NZ) Ltd and Axis Intermodal were key ingredients.
For further information and results, go to the official website by clicking the link below and selecting the International 14 section.