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17 February 2005, 10:09 am
Bright Sun and Shifty Winds Mark Race Five
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International 14 World Championship
Takapuna Beach, NZL

After two general recalls caused by an entire fleet of over-eager sailors, Race Five of the International 14 Worlds got under way in 10 knot westerlies and bright sunny conditions. Within moments of the start gun there was a big shift to the left, and that trend was to continue for the whole race.
Playing the shifts - whether with luck or skill - was the way to come out on top today. First place winners James FAWCETT and Dave DOBRIJEVIC agreed that it was all very shifty and that patience was a virtue. 'It's about knowing your numbers and reading them and having faith,' said Fawcett, helm of GBR 1511 which is now in third place overall. The boat was never in the lead until the last 20 feet of the race, but, Dobrijevic explained, 'you've got to just keep nibbling away.'

Dan SLATER and Nathan HANDLEY, the New Zealand favourites in NZL 43, picked the far left end of the start line, shooting out and then tacking onto port almost immediately. They rounded the first top mark in fourth place, and though they lost a few places throughout the race, ended up about where they started by finishing third. This strong performance has kept them in fifth place overall, even after the discards of the worst score allowed after Race Five.

Zach BERKOWITZ, the strong US contender, had a great race, apparently ending up one place ahead of Slater, but was disappointed to find out at the end of the day that he had been ruled OCS. Berkowitz and crew Bordow in USA 1157 are currently holding 28, the top US boat.

Huge changes in position were the rule of the day, with boats gaining or losing 15-20 places on each leg. According to a spectator, this made for exciting and dramatic viewing, with boats all over the course and leads changing regularly. One example was GBR 1514, with Paul RAVENHILL and Caroline GOSFORD on board. They were fifth at the first mark, fifth at the second mark, and 51 at the finish. New Zealander Grant BOURKE said he passed 30 boats on the first run. A big success was had by GBR 1506 which had previously had three 'did not finishes' and one 44. Sailed by Mark UPTON-BROWN and Nick TAYLOR, they came in at number four today.

When all was said and done, the boats that handled the shifts got the good results, and the top sailors have been consistent. Lindsay IRWIN and Andrew PERRY in AUS 631 have been excellent, now standing at only six points with two second places and two firsts. Brits Stevie MORRISON, James FAWCETT and Alister RICHARDSON are next, with 14, 16 and 16; and Kiwi Dan SLATER is hanging tough to stay in the top five.

There's another race tomorrow at 15:00 (local time). and only time will tell.

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Top Ten After Five Races

Pos Nation Helm Crew Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Pts
1 AUS Lindsay Irwin Andrew Perry 2 1 1 27 2 6
2 GBR Stevie Morrison Ben Rhodes 3 7 4 1 6 14
3 GBR James Fawcett Dave Dobrijevic DNF 8 5 2 1 16
4 GBR Alister Richardson Ian Barker 7 2 3 4 9 16
5 NZL Dan Slater Nathan Handley 4 14 8 10 3 25
6 AUS Grant Geddes Dan Wilsdon 1 3 9 29 13 26
7 AUS Brad Devine Denis Jones 10 12 2 3 21 27
8 AUS Jason Beebe Tim Berg 8 9 13 7 18 37
9 AUS Alan Vickery Andrew Wilson 9 4 DNF 8 19 40
10 AUS Roger Blasse Andrew Gilligan 12 13 17 6 11 42
Martha Mason (As Amended by ISAF), Image: © Renee Speak
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