A total of 16 International 14s took part in the recent open meeting at Weymouth

On a grey day with north-west wind gusting well over 20 knots, 16 International 14s entered the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy open meeting on 8-9 September, 2001.

The programme was to have short-course racing, three races to be sailed each day, ideal in the gusty and shifty winds. In the rather testing conditions, it was no surprise that a reduced fleet made it to the course area for the start of the first race. Dave Spragg took an early lead ahead of Andy Partington and Paul Vine, leading the fleet around the windward mark, but a broken rudder box soon put paid to his weekend.

Staying upright proved to be the order of the day, with all the leading boats taking a swim at the first gybe mark, allowing the Pascal brothers to take the lead. They then went on to win, followed by Vine and Colin Smith. By the start of race two the fleet was down to six boats with Partington soon out of the competition with a broken mast.

Vine leading at the windward mark quickly established a commanding gap between himself and the remaining boats of Pascal and Smith, which he held to the finish. For race three only three boats were left to brave the strongest winds of the day. Vine again took an early lead but soon found trouble at the gybe mark, eventually having to retire, leaving Pascal to finish first, comfortably ahead of Smith who had sailed another solid race.

Sunday dawned with sunshine and a strong breeze, giving near perfect sailing conditions in Portland Harbour, enticing a healthier sized fleet out for race four. With Vine again taking an early lead, he made few mistakes to go on to win, followed by Pascal and Rollo Pyper.

Race five went in a similar fashion, with Vine establishing a comfortable lead, leaving Pyper and Pascal to fight it out for second place, Pyper eventually getting the upper hand. Only one point separated Vine and Pascal, making all to play for in the last race. Vine still needing a good finish, having already used up his only discard the day before. Neil Upton-Brown, first time helming a International 14 sailed well to take the lead, with Vine a close second. With a comfortable gap to Pascal and Pyper, Vine looked secure in second place to take the open meeting, but one mistake ending in a capsize suddenly made all look lost. With both Pascal and Pyper rapidly approaching, Vine was forced to make a smart recovery, righting the boat just ahead of Pyper and then immediately overtaking Pascal to secure second place and the meeting.

Overall Results (after 6 races and 1 discard)

1st AUS606, Paul Vine and Sam Gardner 7pts

2nd GBR1456, R. and M. Pascal 9pts

3rd GBR1431, Colin Smith and Peter Helm 18 pts