Peter Dann and Dominic Stanislaus won the International 14 random team racing event at Queen Mary SC on 23 June

When the International14 fleet arrived at Queen Mary on Saturday 23 June for the random pairs team racing event they were greeted by brilliant sunshine and a light breeze of 8-10 knots that was better suited to sunbathing. However, when you take the close-quarters nip and tuck of team racing and combine it with the high adrenaline of the International 14s – complete with twin wires and unlimited masthead asymmetric kites – there were still plenty of thrills and spills on the racecourse.

The random pairs format, where team-mates are allocated randomly and changed every race, ensures that mere boatspeed is not enough for overall victory. Instead, the priority of even the fastest sailor is to force one of his opponents into the dreaded fourth place, ensuring an overall loss for that team.

The first race gave an early indication of just how exciting things were going to get, when Peter Dann and Dominic Stanislaus gybed onto starboard across the bows of class newcomers Roger Douglas and Jeremy Reed, forcing them into a crash gybe. This resulted in a capsize, made messier by Dann and Stanislaus sailing straight over the top of their rig. Sensing the need for radical action, Douglas’s team-mates, Dave Spragg and Andy Loukes, dropped their kite and luffed Mike Holmes and Martine Van De Poll. Forced onto a close reach with their masthead spinnaker still flying, Holmes and Van De Poll also capsized, leaving only two of the four boats upright. Dann and Spragg then locked horns but neither was able to out-manoeuvre the other, and the decisive factor turned out to be Holmes’s capsize recovery skills, which saw him rejoin the race well ahead of Douglas who ended up in the last place.

Dann and Spragg teamed up for the second race and took it with rather less drama, but the third race was to prove decisive. The team of Holmes and Spragg rounded the final mark in 1,3 respectively, and with only a 100 yards to go things were looking good for them. However, a misjudged tack saw Spragg caught on port by Douglas, who had rounded just behind, and forced to take a penalty turn. Dann appeared on the scene just as the penalty turn was complete, and hounded Spragg, leaving him no opportunity to break out.

The second round-robin went much the way of the first with Dann and Stanislaus sweeping aside all challengers until the final race where, with some agressive downwind action, Holmes and Spragg managed to get themselves into first and second place and demonstrate Dann and Stanislaus not to be totally invincible.

Overall Results

1st GBR1412, Ovington 2, Peter Dann and Dominic Stanislaus

2nd GBR1445, Bieker 3, Dave Spragg and Andy Loukes

3rd GBR1392, Ovington 1, Mike Holmes and Martine Van De Poll

4th GBR1373, Ovington 1, Roger Douglas and Jeremy Reed