Pete and Rob Greenhalgh take race two of the International 14 national championship
As the International 14 fleet headed out to the start of race two of the class national championship at Pwhelli in a shifty Force 1-2 the conditions did not bode well and the 40 degree shifts and periods of almost dead calm were the order of the day as the race officer struggled to set out the course. Eventually the wind stabilised enough to set a square start line, and the postponement flag was lowered.
The 14 fleet attracts some of the country’s top sailors, the result of which is that the fleet is heavily front-loaded, and there are very few real backmarkers. This is never more evident than at the start, where every boat is pushing for a good start. In this case a large bunch at the committee boat end prevented the race officer seeing anything further down the line, and he had no option but to signal a general recall. The I flag came out for the restart, but hanging back was not the order of the day and once again a bunch at the committee boat forced a recall. Only by breaking out the black flag was the race officer able to get the fleet away cleanly, in a still light 5-8 knot breeze.
Top 18-foot skiff sailor Rob Greenhalgh drove hard towards the right-hand corner, closely pursued by Paul Vine, and made it round the windward mark in first and second, with Colin Goodman in third. Goodman managed to take Vine down the run and gain a little distance up the second beat, and rounded the windward mark in a perfect position to attack Greenhalgh for the lead. The first reach was challengingly tight in the rising breeze, now 12-15 knots, and Goodman exploited his considerable experience in 14s to close the distance right down between himself and Greenhalgh. At the bottom of the second, even tighter, reach Goodman went for an early drop to try to take Greenhalgh, but unfortunately the drop was just too early, and Greenhalgh just managed to stay ahead. Greenhalgh was then able to consolidate his lead over the next lap and a half, to take the race with Goodman close behind. Paul Vine held on to third place with Specialized Marine’s very own Chris Turner in fourth. Visiting Australians Jason Beebe and Sam Reid found the fresher conditions much more to their liking and finished 6th , just behing Ian Teasdale. Back down the fleet many sailors were caught out by the freshening conditions but there were no major gear failures. With a Force 4 south-westerly forecast for today the fleet is looking forward to some more exciting racing in Pwllheli.
1st P. and R. Greenhalgh
2nd C. Goodman and S. Gardener
3rd P. Vine and D. Dubrovnic
4th C. Turner and P. Bagwell
5th I. Teasdale and S. Heuson
6th J. Beebe and S. Reid