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The Tough Got Going in Tougher 1-14 Worlds

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Six years ago Kris Bundy and crew Jamie Hanseler of Seattle won the International 14 Class World Championship at Beer, England. This week they placed fourth and were delighted.

“This was windier,” Bundy said, “and we were impressed by the depth of the fleet—what, six former champions and some pros? The top 10 would have been a good regatta for us.”

With only two double-digit finishes in seven races in a 71-boat fleet, they were one point ahead of defending champions Lindsay Irwin and crew Andrew Perry of Australia, although just off the pace of runners-up wife and husband Tina and Trevor Baylis of Santa Cruz and third-place Samuel (Shark) Kahn and crew Paul Allen of Aptos, Calif.

The new champions, Howard Hamlin of Long Beach and crew Euan McNicol of Australia, did not race Saturday, having secured the title a day earlier.

Kahn and Allen won the last race in their favorite conditions: 18 knots of breeze blowing up a gnarly sea that left the competitors to sail through a minefield of whitecaps. Among the back markers capsizes were so common, especially at the reach and jibing points, that some crews were caught between racing and surviving, and three or four boats were often down at the same time.

That’s why the Baylises, though leading the race that could have been their second consecutive win, throttled back a bit while leading Kahn and Allen, who earned the victory by continuing to push hard.

Trevor Baylis said, “We sailed a different race than if we’d had to stay ahead of them.”

All they needed go do was to keep Kahn and Allen from putting four boats between them, and that was never close to possible. Their rivals passed them on the third downwind leg.

“They looked like they were having a lot of fun,” Tina Baylis said.

The Baylises sailed all week carrying the weight of an OCS (on course side) starting violation in the first race last Sunday, which left them no room for another serious error.

“That made us start more conservatively,” Tina said, “and then we had the race when we thought we might have been over the line but weren’t and went back [to restart], anyway. At no time were we thinking, ‘Oh, this is going to be an easy one for us.’ ”

Tina Baylis, a mother of two children ages 3 and 5, was one of two women skippers who placed well, along with Katie Nurton of Great Britain, who was 13th with Nigel Ash as crew.

“A lot of guys don’t want to sail with women drivers,” Tina said. “There is a learning curve when you aren’t as big and strong and you have to adapt things for you. Every good woman sailor has a really strong crew.”

Tina is 43 and Trevor 46. They returned to serious racing this past year.

Trevor said, “It was a decision about do we want to wait until the kids are older? But how much skiff sailing can you do when you’re 50?”

They’ll probably find out, as Hamlin, 53, has done so successfully.

With the final conditions so difficult, only 64 boats started, of which 49 finished. The tough job for the race committee was to account for boats that vanished from the 1.4-nautical mile long course with no way of reporting they were dropping out. All returned to port safely.

After the first day’s 10 OCS calls, there was only one more all week—apparently, principal race officer Mark Townsend made everybody a believer—and there was only one protest all week, making for easy evenings for the international jury headed by Ralph Roberts of New Zealand.

Supporting sponsors for the International 14 World Championship were West Marine Products, Ronstan, North Sails, Glaser Sails, Irwin Sails,, Magic Marine, Acqua di Gio Georgio Armani, Shackle Dog and Labatt’s.

FINAL LEADERS (71 boats, 7 races):

1. Howard Hamlin/Euan McNicol, Long Beach, 1-(4)-2-2-2-3, 10 points.
2. Tina Baylis/Trevor Baylis, Santa Cruz, Calif., (OCS)-5-5-3-5-1-2, 21.
3. Samuel (Shark) Kahn/Paul Allen, Aptos, Calif., 5-2-1-(14)-14-2-1, 25.
4. Kris Bundy/Jamie Hanseler, Seattle, 3-(25)-7-6-4-10-8, 38.
5. Lindsay Irwin/Andrew Perry, Australia, 9-1-9-(11)-11-6-3, 39

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