Inter 14s continue to push the technical envelope

If conditions mean they can't sail the 14s love nothing better than messing around with their boats
One activity that 14-ers enjoy almost as much as sailing is bimbling, and a dinghy park full of state-of-the-art boats to play with is too much for most to resist. The highly successful buddy system had many hotshots bimbling away on boats further back in the fleet, helping to get them up to speed and fully tuned. As usual at POW week there are many innovations to be seen in the dinghy park. Following on from last year’s swing to more flexible rigs spearheaded by the Australian fleet, several boats are now experimenting with self-tacking jibs. 18-foot skiff and 49er aces Rob and Peter Greenhalgh, sailing the RMW Marine works boat, have gone the whole hog with crew trimming the main upwind 49er style. Top UK sailmaker and 14 newcomer Ian Pinnell has gone down the same route, with last year’s POW-winning crew Dan Johnson working the main upwind for him. Both boats are going very well, and as Ian said, "Anything which makes it easier for me has to be a good thing!" Pete Harper is one of several helms with a self-tacker who is still trimming the main himself, and he was also very happy with his upwind boatspeed. Time will tell which technique proves to be faster. Winged rudders were a highly publicised development at last years’ Worlds, with winners Chris Bundy and Jamie Hansler sporting a Paul Bieker-designed variable-pitch winged rudder which, according to Paul, generates lift upwind and fools the water into thinking the boat is 15 feet long. Chris Turner and Peter Bagwell tried a refined version of the concept in Sunday’s practice race, with an internal push-rod inside the rudder controlling variable-pitch fins. Unfortunately this proved to be something of a weed-catcher, and the rudder has spent the rest of the week in Pete’s van. Andy Partington