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8 February 2005, 09:27 am
Close Encounters on the Opening Day
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International 14 Team World Championship
Takapuna, New Zealand

The day started slowly off Takapuna Beach, with winds less than five knots leaving the Team racers almost adrift in the Hauraki Gulf. The water was like glass for as far as the eye could see, but by 15:00 (local time) the southwesterly filled in, and some spectacular racing was enjoyed.
The International 14s are here from around the globe for their 2005 World Championship. Eleven 40-foot containers have arrived in Takapuna from the wharves of Auckland, and from them have emerged dozens of the sleek 14-foot racing dinghies, One boat also arrived by air-freight and the rest are New Zealanders.

Team racing, which pits two four-boat teams against each other in a round robin format, started today. The seven competing teams include two from Great Britain, and one each from Australia, USA, Japan, Canada and New Zealand.

The building breezes stabilized at about 14 knots and provided some challenge for the sailors, many of whom experienced capsizes throughout the afternoon. Australia came on strong, achieving all wins, with one of the GBR teams close behind at 5-1. The first day of racing also provided some lessons for over-eager sailors, including the Canadian team who were recalled three times for being over the line early.

Although there were plenty of close encounters, the finish between Canada and the USA in race 13 was memorable. Canada might have come in first and second, but the USA held them beyond the finish line and then tacked quickly, taking the win. It wasn't until all eight boats crossed the line that it was clear who had triumphed - a true display of team racing tactics.

The race officers were basically happy with the day, in spite of the slow start. 'At the end of the day we achieved our objective,' said John PARRISH, Principal Race Officer, 'which was to get in one full round of racing. We're looking forward to tomorrow.'

The last race finished at about 19:30 (local time), with the placings after Round One as follows:

Team - Wins - Losses
Australia - 6 - 0
Great Britain A - 5 - 1
USA - 4 - 2
Canada - 3 - 3
Great Britain B - 2 - 4
New Zealand - 1 - 5
Japan - 0 - 6

Martha Mason (As Amended by ISAF)
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