International 14 sailors from across the globe will descend upon the warm-waters of the Swan River in Western Australia from 29 December to 10 January for the 2020 World Championship.
A fleet of around 70 boats are expected to line up for the event representing nations from Europe, North America and Australasia.
Hot contender will be current World Champion, father and son duo, Andy and Tom Partington of the UK. The Partingtons put on a slick performance at 2018 event on San Francisco Bay where they outsailed a chasing pack of strong contenders in a 61-boat fleet.
Four-time champion Archie Massey (UK), who knows his way around the Swan River from a previous sojourn down under, is rumoured to be coming.
Perth Dinghy Sailing Club has a rich history in Fourteens and is the host venue. Club sailors have won numerous Fourteen national championships and their club and class legend Bill Devine secured their one and only, so far, world championship in 1979.
Local standout is Brad Devine who with long-time crew Ian Furlong have etched their names on eight national titles, while David Hayter (who hails from Queensland) and Trent Neighbour are the current Australian champions having blitzed the 2019 title in Adelaide with a perfect score.
The club itself is a pure-bred dinghy racing gem. It is located in a public reserve near the botanical gardens by the Swan River and has excellent facilities, a large rigging area, sandy beach for launching and yet the CBD is in view a short distance upstream and downstream is the main race track and sea breeze.
Traditionally the Fourteens kick off their championship with Teams Racing which will be held in a tight event area immediately out from the clubhouse. This course will make the club bar and balcony the event grandstand for families and friends.
Four boats make up each team and the racing will be over two days for the World Team Racing Trophy which dates back about a 100 years.
The world title racing will be on the local Fourteen fleet’s main stamping ground which is famed for its flat water, minimal tidal influence and summer sea breeze. Typically the downwind legs are long, wet and fast. The ‘wet’ will be somewhere around 23-24 degrees celsius, so mightily pleasant for those who hail from the Northern Hemisphere.
Fourteens have evolved from beautiful timber hulls and rigs of the early 1900s to the full-blown carbon fibre boats with foiling rudders of today. Over that time the class has gone international and merged with the ‘skiff’ fleet in Australia, and credited along the way with helping to introduce the use of the trapeze.
Today this development class with its long pedigree remains at the high end of performance in dinghy racing with fleets in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA.
Also steeped in tradition is the social calendar for Fourteeners and the PDSC is promising an on-shore event calendar to remember.
29 Dec – measurement and registrations
30-31 Dec – Teams Racing
2 Jan – Practice race and Welcome Night
3 to 10 Jan – Racing
More info online: http://www.i14worlds2020.com/home/