Victory for Hamlin
Over three days Hamlin, of Long Beach, and McNicol, of Sydney, Australia, won six of eight races. Their only two slips - if second place is a slip - were when they capsized in one race Sunday and chased 11-time and defending champion Zach Berkowitz of San Francisco, sailing with crew Mike Martin of Newport Beach, across the line in Monday's penultimate race.
Berkowitz and Martin wound up third overall, behind Tina Baylis and crew/husband Trevor of Santa Cruz, who won the race Hamlin and McNicol did not and were second in six others.
The event hosted by the US Sailing Center of Long Beach was a tune-up for American hopefuls competing in the International 14 World Championship (Sepember 14-17) to be hosted by Hamlin and Martin's own Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
"Howie and Euan are my pick to win the Worlds," said Martin, who has won a world title as Hamlin's crew on an 18 Skiff. "They sailed in a full range of conditions this weekend and did very well."
"He said that a month ago, that we'd win the 505 Worlds and the I-14s, he's already half wrong," retorted Hamlin
Hamlin was second by only two points in the 505 Worlds in Great Britain earlier this month before stepping onto an I-14 on an invitation from McNicol.
"We were sitting down at dinner one night last year and I said, 'The Worlds are at Long Beach and you would be pretty silly not to do them out in front of your house,' " explains McNicol
"It's a strong class and a hard boat to sail," said Hamlin, 'harder than a 505 or an 18 Skiff. I'm lucky that Euan asked me to do this with him."
Most of their wins were runaways in winds ranging from four to 18 knots over the three days, with the strongest winds in mid to late afternoon. The Baylises were battling bow to bow in Monday's first race until they suddenly fell back.
"We got kelp on our centerboard up near the windward mark," Trevor Baylis said. "We had him for a while, but it didn't matter. He was faster."
Berkowitz and Martin were the only boat to lead Hamlin and McNicol at the first windward mark in the entire regatta and went on to a comfortable victory.
"He went hard left and the biggest left shift we saw all day came through," Baylis said.
There were only three capsizes Monday after Saturday and Sunday's wild flip shows, probably because the races started earlier at 11 a.m. and were over before the strongest wind arrived around 3 o'clock.
Seventeen boats started the regatta and 14 finished it Monday.
1-Howard Hamlin and Euan McNicol, 8 points.
2-Tina and Trevor Baylis, 13 points.
3-Zach Berkowitz and Mike Martin, 22 points.