LONG BEACH, Calif.—Long Beach’s own Howard Hamlin and crew Euan McNicol of Australia are looking more uncatchable than ever after five of seven races in the International 14 Class World Championship. Even the U.S. Navy couldnít slow them down Thursday.
As Britain’s Archie Massey and crew George Nurton sailed away into their own time zone in light wind for the third time in five days, Hamlin and McNicol held off Nurton’s sister Katie and crew Nigel Ash for second place. They remained 11 points ahead of the next boat, but now it’s Tina and Trevor Baylis of Santa Cruz, who finally unloaded the weight of last Sunday’s starting disaster to leap from 17th to second place.
After five races, all boats dropped their worst finishes, including the 10 who were saddled with 72 points for non-start violations Sunday.
Massey and Nurton’s second win in two days and their discard from Race 1 jumped them from 20th to sixth, while Katie Nurton went from 23rd to eighth.
Meanwhile, wind lovers Samuel (Shark) Kahn, 17, and crew Paul Allen suffered in only 8 or 9 knots with their second successive 14th to slip to fifth with hope that the breeze will return like it was Monday and Tuesday when they finished second and first.
Trevor Baylis said, “This morning we prayed for light wind to get rid of Shark. Now we’ll be praying for [strong] wind to get rid of Archie.”
The Baylises’ fifth place was remarkable in that even as they started their discard race, they and three other boats returned to restart—the first OCS call since Sunday’s turkey shoot—because they heard a second horn. In fact, the only boat ruled over the line was 1999 world champion Grant Geddes and crew Daniel Wilsdon of Australia, who also returned, then struggled to 13th but did throw out a disqualification.
Hamlin and McNicol started near the pin end, went for clear air to the left and then, as Baylis noted, “spent a lot of time stomping on other boats to keep them back. It’s the right thing to do because, for them, Archie’s not a factor.”
The leaders’ only problem was a U.S. Navy frigate that sailed out of Anaheim Bay and up the middle of the course during the race. First Massey and then Hamlin and Katie Nurton were compelled to jibe left to avoid the ship, which had no effect at all on the outcome.
“We saw him before the [windward] mark,” McNicol said, “and we saw Archie jibe away, too.”
Katie Nurton said, “We didn’t see him until after the mark, then we decided to wait to see what Howie did.”
What Hamlin and McNicol plan to do now is what they’ve been doing the last couple of days: “We’ll try to be cautious at the start . . . just not get out too far but with good speed,” Hamlin said.
As Baylis suggested, Hamlin isn’t worried about Massey.
“Maybe Archie’s getting his conditions,” Hamlin said, smiling.
Massey’s crew, George Nurton, explained their success in light wind.
“We have a very fast rig,” Nurton said, “and we’re very tall and thin.”
“And very ugly,” a nearby rival said.
Ignoring the comment, Norton continued, “It’s the power to weight ratio. I’m 6-3 and 70 kilos (154 pounds) and Archie is 6-4 and 90 kilos (198).That means we’re fairly light but have good leverage.”
Explanation No. 2: “We don’t really know. But we built the boat just this year and had very little wind while training in England. The Nationals were a drifter—so we won.”
Racing continues daily through Saturday, starting at 2:30 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.
Supporting sponsors for the International 14 World Championship are West Marine Products, Ronstan, North Sails, Glaser Sails, Irwin Sails, SailingProShop.com, Magic Marine, Acqua di Gio Georgio Armani, Shackle Dog and Labatt’s.
STANDINGS (71 boats; after 5 of 7 races):
1. Howard Hamlin/Euan McNicol, Long Beach, 1-(4)-2-2-2, 7 points.
2. Tina Baylis/Trevor Baylis, Santa Cruz, Calif., (OCS)-5-5-3-5, 18.
3. Michael Lennon/Jon Blackburn, Great Britain, 4-8-3-5-(10), 20.
4. Kris Bundy/Jamie Hanseler, Seattle, 3-(25)-7-6-4, 20.
5. Samuel (Shark) Kahn/Paul Allen, Aptos, Calif., 5-2-1-(14)-14, 22.
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