Thursday, December 10, 2009

2010 International 14 Worlds

With 102 entries submitted to date for the 2010 CST Composites International 14 World Championship to be sailed on Sydney Harbour in Australia January 3-11, the class has found itself in a good news / bad news predicament.

The good news is that any class with a World Championship pulling more than 100 is doing very well, and this one includes representatives from Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Japan, USA, and a solid contingent from around Australia.

However, the bad news is that there will be concessions to accommodate a large fleet of high performance boats in a confined harbor setting. Sydney Harbour is expected to provide a mixed bag of wind conditions combined with a bit of chop and slop as harbour traffic combines with ocean swells and waves refracting off the three nearby headlands of North, South and Middle Heads.

Here are three adjustments that the event organizers needed to make:

* DIVIDED FLEETS: When registration exceeded 90 boats, it was deemed necessary to split the fleet into two groups. Following a Qualifying Series, entrants will compete in either the Gold Fleet for the World Championship, or the Silver Fleet.

* INSURANCE: Due to a confined harbor with high performance boats, each entry must be insured with valid third-party liability insurance with a minimum coverage of AUD$10,000,000. According to the event website, the insurance can cost about AUD$175 ($160USD).

* NO REACHING LEGS: The class constitution requires reaching legs, but due to the confined space and traffic, an amendment has been made for this event. Apparently, the Worlds PRO was running an 80-90 boat junior regatta on the same course as the Worlds when there was a near miss with a ferry due to the boats reaching to a mark and not giving an inch, just focused on getting to the mark straight ahead. It was decided if these sailors had the option to gybe off the risk would be eliminated. The class agreed that this was a safety issue, and would either have only windward leeward courses or possibly try short reaching legs if the racing area allowed for them.

Wow… no reaching! To think of skiffs not reaching is like drinking warm beer on a sunny day. While safety is paramount, it is not clear how the windward leeward courses will deal with two fleets of 50+ boats. Will one fleet be planing downwind toward the other fleet planing upwind? Hope not!

Worlds website: www.i14worlds.com

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