International 14 in crisis! what crisis?


The rudder-foil debate threatens to get out of hand as the Australians throw down the gauntlet
The latest debate on the expanding use of foils has thrust the International 14 class into the limelight and revealed a considerable gulf in the thinking of class members worldwide. Not that this is anything new in the long history of development in the class. For a class that has gone from copper fixed, ribbed hulls, through to lightweight carbon shells, with multi appendages and a multitude of rig changes including the infamous trapeze battles - one, none, one, two - this seems to be par for the course. One section beavers away at the next big bang while the other defends the last great leap forward too its death. Rudder foil development came to a head with the clean-sweep win of Zach Berkowitz and Trevor Baylis at the last Worlds in Bermuda. This followed Kris Bundy and Jamie Hanseler using a winged rudder to win the previous Worlds down at Beer in the south-west of England - making it foils two.... the rest nil. Suddenly, from being a minor aberration the foil became the focus of attention and the Internet began to hum with flying emails, with the quantity of traffic doubling and trebling at the height of the argument with threats of bans! The debate took some twists as the general future of the class as a development class and the way forward, a perennial debate within 14 history, revealed something of a sailing culture clash. Since the great melding of the Australian and International boats in 1996 the class had found a new lease of life and returned to its traditional position as the supreme development dinghy class, taking on the new skiff style one designs and their marketing muscle. The specter was now raised of the class once again losing its way in a frenzy of high-tech, costly

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