Chairman of the UK International 14 class, Martin JONES, is looking forward to a big turnout of sailors for the selection trial, which takes place at Hayling Island on the weekend of 5-6 April 2008. "We've already received quite a bit of interest even before officially announcing the 14 Trials," said JONES, "so I think we can expect a very competitive event at Hayling."
It will be a demanding series, consisting of eight races without discard. "We'll be using ten International 14s, with boats allocated at random, and teams redrawing a different boat after every two races," he explained. If more than ten teams enter the trials, an elimination event will take place on the Saturday, with the ten best performing teams going on to compete in the final four races on Sunday.
The top two teams will earn the right to race a supplied International 14 for a 12 month period after the trials. A selection committee will determine which of the remaining competitors it believes shows the most promise, and will award the use of a third boat accordingly. The three lucky teams will then be expected to commit to racing their 14s in a minimum of ten events throughout the year, including Prince of Wales Cup Week in Weymouth and the Inland Championships at Grafham Water.
JONES explained the rationale behind the 14 Trials: "Last year at Prince of Wales Week we loaned a few boats to young sailors from other classes such as the 29er, 49er, RS800 and Musto Skiff, and they loved it.
"So this year we've taken it a step further by offering the use of a boat for a whole season. We've got three main aims with this programme, we want to:
attract new blood into the fleet
provide a high-performance avenue for young sailors who have come out of the Youth Squad but who don't want to go the Olympic route.
dispel the myth that you need to spend loads of money to be competitive in the 14. The boats that these new teams will be racing are good second hand boats worth about £6,000 or £7,000 - but I bet you it won't be long before they're winning races in them."
A number of sponsors have committed to the 14 Trials, including Musto, Hyde Sails and Hayling Island SC, who are providing three months free membership to each of the winning teams.
The Eligibility criteria for the Trials are:
Sailors can be male or female, but must be under 35 on 31 December 2008
Teams should be over 140kg and able to commit to 10 class events in 2008
Should have a strong profile in another class or be able to demonstrate a determination to stay the course and have the ability to become a successful 14 sailor
If you fit the criteria, and want to take part in the Trials, then contact:
Harvey Hilary: firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 7771 541 677
To download the entry form, visit this page on the International 14 UK website:
ISAF International 14 class page - www.sailing.org/international14