Massey and Noble are I-14 World Champions

2008 International 14 Worlds off Warnemunde, Germany
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The only people to get wet in Warnemunde today were Archie Massey and Matt Noble, after they were thrown in the water for becoming the new International 14 World Champions.

Other teams just below Massey and Noble on the leaderboard were hoping the race officer would send the 90-boat fleet out for one last race, but with the westerly breeze gusting in excess of 30 knots, that was never a sensible option. After waiting in vain for the wind to abate, the last race was cancelled and the championship was complete.

So the Anglo-American Massey-Noble duo were crowned World Champions, thanks to a superlative performance in the strong winds that swept across the Baltic Sea this week, where they won three of the six races. Anglo-Australian partnership Jarrod Simpson and Grant Rollerson took second overall, just edging out Australians Dave Alexander and Cameron McDonald on countback.

With the fleet experimenting with ultra-lightweight PBO rigging in place of the customary stainless steel wire, along with developments in T-foil rudder technology and square-top mainsails, success this week was running the balance between ultimate speed and reliability. Even Massey came dangerously close to losing his grip on the championship when his new rudder gave way, forcing him to complete the week with a borrowed replacement.

For boats that measure just 14ft long and 6ft wide, the modern International 14 is capable of immense speeds, in excess of 12 knots upwind and over 20 knots downwind. The T-foil rudders enable them to be driven harder and faster downwind than more powerful skiffs, and this heady mix of technology and adrenalin is what is driving new sailors into the fleet.

Even some of Britain’s Olympic sailors tried their hand at 14 sailing for the first time this week, with Dave Evans and Simon Hiscocks gradually getting to grips with the quirks of the International 14 to finish 11th overall.

While the top places were dominated by British and Australian teams, the biggest nation in numerical terms is the fast-growing German fleet. Best of the Germans were Olly Voss and Jens Holscher who finished in 12th place. After 17 years competing in the 14, Voss was contemplating retirement into family cruising, but he has been tempted to postpone delivery of the X-99 yacht until after the next Worlds.

Warnemunde turned on a spectacular, high-thrills week of racing in strong wind and big waves. Now the fleet’s attention turns towards the next World Championship will take place on Sydney Harbour in January 2010. With the last two World titles having gone to American and British teams, the Aussies will be working hard to ensure a home victory in their famous harbour.

International 14 Worlds - Final Leading results

1 GBR 1519 Archie Massey Matt Noble 1 7 -21 1 1 5 15,0pts
2 GBR 1536 Jarrod Simpson Grant Rollerson -12 5 5 2 6 1 19,0
3 AUS 653 Alexander Dave Cameron McDonald 5 4 7 3 2 (DNF) 21,0
4 AUS 642 Roger Blasse Andrew Gilligan 2 6 6 -12 9 2 25,0
5 GBR 1532 Mike Lennon Andy Rice 4 9 2 4 8 (DNF) 27,0
6 GBR 1538 Martin Jones Neale Jones 13 8 -16 6 4 3 34,0
7 GBR 1503 Andy Partington Tom Partington -30 1 1 15 5 15 37,0
8 AUS 649 Lindsay Irwin Andrew Perry (RAF) 2 8 19 7 4 40,0
9 GBR 1528 James Fawcett George Nurton 7 (DNF) 4 7 10 13 41,0
10 GBR 1500 Douglas Pattison Damian Ash 14 3 14 5 -15 10 46,0
11 GBR 1517 David Evans Simon Hiscocks 8 13 -20 9 11 6 47,0
12 GBR 1537 Alister Richardson Simon Wheeler 9 (DNF) 11 13 3 12 48,0
13 GER 91 Oliver Voss Jens Holscher -16 14 12 10 12 7 55,0
14 AUS 643 Mark Krstic Matt Lowe 3 11 18 23 -29 11 66,0
15 AUS 651 David Hayter Matt Johnstan 15 (DNF) 3 8 36 8 70,0
16 USA 1168 Paul Galvez Guillermo Leon De La Barra 10 18 17 14 16 -21 75,5
17 GBR 1484 Tom Heywood Edward Clay 11 12 9 31 14 -43 77,0
18 GBR 1463 Julian Pearson Nick Martin 17 16 19 -26 16 18 86,5
19 GER 230 Axel Reinsch Felix Weidling 21 24 15 (DNF) 22 9 91,0
20 GBR 1520 Katie Nurton Nigel Ash 6 (DNF) 10 11 33 33 93,0