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12 February 2005, 09:07 pm
Bright Sun and Big Gusts on Day One
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International 14 World Championship
Takapuna, New Zealand

Sometime around midnight last night, a weather front moved across the top of New Zealand, replacing yesterday's brash northerlies with gusty southwesterlies.
The difference was the waves. Yesterday the waves were steep and heartstopping, while today the mainland provided some shelter for the International 14 sailors.

Most of the 83-boat fleet lined up at the start, for a spectacular display of I14 technology. In 20-22 knots of breeze the start was clean, with nobody OCS.

Capsizes seemed to be the rule of the day, and winning meant staying upright and staying in one piece. At the first mark, Jason BEEBE and Tim BERG led the pack in AUS 628, with Great Britain's Chris TURNER, New Zealand's Dan SLATER, and Australia's Grant GEDDES and Dan WILSDON in AUS 626 in hot pursuit.

But it wasn't to last, as one dramatic moment followed another. Jason BEEBE crossed the bow of a car-carrying cargo ship and capsized - just far enough to leeward to avoid being crushed. Two of the others also took spills, leaving Grant GEDDES to take the lead.

AUS 626 managed to hold onto their position all the way around the track. The only boat close on their heels was AUS 633 with Alan VICKERY and Andrew WILSON onboard. The latter team kept it together all the way to the last bottom mark, and then capsized. AUS 626 went on to win.

There were some big wind shifts in the race, which kept both the competitors and the committee boats on their toes. But at the end, Grant GEDDES and Dan WILSDON had a convincing win.

The 'stick to it' award has to go to Katie NURTON and Nigel ASH on GBR 1415, who never gave up even though they were half a leg behind the leaders, and took both last place and 44th. Way to go, or as they say in New Zealand 'good on ya!'.

Martha Mason Image: © Event Media
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