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International 14 Armband Cup at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Katie Nurton on 4 Sep 2008 31 August 2008

The International 14 Fleet held its annual "Armband Cup" in Chichester Harbour on 31st August. The only entry criterion is that each team includes one person who's never been in a 14 before. The idea is for potential newcomers to the fleet to test out the boats and also for friends/relations to experience first-hand what their 14-sailing friends go on about ad nauseam for the rest of the year.

After a short briefing and lots of conflicting advice, the teams launched into a strong flood tide and no wind. Soon they were drifting backwards at high speed towards Chichester - this was not the extreme adrenalin rush the armbanders had been promised. But they quickly realised that 14s have no steerage when drifting at 6 knots and worked out how to fend off moored boats without snapping the tiller extensions.

Eventually wind arrived and 6 boats gathered in the starting area. Over the course of three races, the breeze filled in gradually to give full twin wiring/capsizing conditions and odd moments of glamorous sunshine. Comments when we got ashore included "awesome", "it just takes off downwind" , " I actually enjoyed that! " and "how did i get those bruises?".

To decide the overall winner, a complex handicapping system came into play. Boats were penalised for a) practising b) having an existing 14 helm steering and c) various other offences at the discretion of the race committee. After some calculations over tea, the event was declared a draw between Louise Renwick (previous experience: twice crewing an RS200) steered by 14 crew Dion Hougton and David Royse (Firefly/teamracing) crewed by regular 14 helm Tom Heywood.

Thanks to Andrew Penman, Rollo Pyper and last year's champion Venetia Wingfield for providing race management and launching assistance.

Teams:

Louise Renwick/Dion Hougton
David Royse / Tom Heywood
Karen Partington / Andy Partington
Sarah MacFarlane / Martin Pascal
Louise Fisher / Doug Walker
Thomas Gamble & Amelia Gamble / Katie Nurton

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