International 14s in Sardinia
Sardinia’s Maddalena Archipelago is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful sailing areas in the world. The International 14 fleet was lucky enough to spend a week in September at the Velamare Club for the Sardinia Supercup, a new and long-anticipated event on the international calendar. Only a few miles up the coast from Porto Cervo, the club is in an unspoilt bay with crystal clear water, sandy beaches and plenty of cheap and cheerful accommodation a stone’s throw from the dinghy park.
Teams from the UK, Italy, Germany and Japan were greeted by sun, wind and the prospect of a relaxed but competitive regatta. To keep costs down, each boat was shared by two teams, with one team racing and the other sunbathing on the committee boat/offering helpful advice to the race officer. We also trialled a handicapping system based on the '3-buoy' format used by the 18 footers in Sydney Harbour: the fleet was split into gold, silver and bronze fleets, with each fleet using a different windward mark. This was a big success, giving close racing between 14s of very different eras and between newcomers and the more experienced teams.
After four days and 16 races, Sam Pascoe/Alex Knight had managed to fight their way to the front in enough races to take first overall, followed by Katie Nurton/Nigel Ash and Andy Fitzgerald/Jeremy Williamson. Italian newcomers Duccio Colombi/Sandro Oreggia quickly mastered the International 14 to win a race on the final day; somehow they also persuaded several 14ers to eat live maggots (apparently a local speciality?).
The legendary Japanese team of Takashi Furugaki /Satoshi Ishida were very fast in the lighter conditions and, more importantly, supervised the evening activities to ensure that there were no serious injuries and the sailing club didn’t burn down.
This was not a regatta for weight loss. The club provided fantastic Italian food and huge vats of red wine. Guided by Italian 14 crew SImona Saccani, we also visited some excellent local restaurants, tried lots of Sardinian cheeses and fresh fish (including sardines), drank one small beer in a very glamorous bar in Porto Cervo and spent a day snorkelling at a beautiful, remote beach on the island of Caprera.
Many thanks to the sponsors, Hi Fun, the expert race team of Peter and Anne Taylor and Caroline Gosford and their many helpers from the Velamare Club, and particularly to 14 sailors Simona Saccani and Dominic Van Essen, who made the whole thing possible. Definitely one of the best 14 regattas ever!
Overall results (top 5)
1st Sam Pascoe & Alex Knight
2nd Katie Nurton & Nigel Ash
3rd Andy Fitzgerald & Jeremy Williamson
4th Andy Penman & Chris Watson
5th Duccio Colombi & Sandro Oreggia