Sunday, January 10, 2010

One more fantastic day on the Harbour.

Photos by Christophe Launay
British sailor Archie Massey and his crew Dan Wilsdon won the CST Composites International World Championship today with a race to spare on Sydney Harbour.
Massey is the first sailor to win the i14 world title back to back.

“Winning the worlds a second time … yeah I am happy with that, it is the first time it has been done,” said a laconic Massey.

“Dan (Wilsdon his crew) was exceptional this week but it was about three weeks ago that we just clicked.

“We have been sailing for three months here out in the waves and finally our coach one day said: your gybing is good, your upwind speed is good but your tacking is midfleet. So we went out and just tacked, tacked and tacked.”

There was little argument that Massey and Wilsdon had outstanding teamwork but it was their speed downwind that seemed to stand out.

“We foil hard and point the bow lower than most,” he said. “14s pay off if you sail them dead flat.”

He also felt the modified bow of his Bieker 5 hull gave him an advantage. The modification has resulted in a straighter and lower bow in the final metre of his boat.

Massey said the best race of the regatta was race six today in a classic summer seabreeze of about 15knots of sou’east that gave them the world crown but a highlight of the racing was the one against Rob Greenhalgh when they passed each other several times and he only got the advantage when Greenhalgh lost his rudder.

Massey said he had his boat George 1st up for sale for the “right price” but considered the modified Bieker 5 was a ‘special boat”. No matter what happens with the boat, Massey is certain to sail the next i14 worlds at Weymouth in Great Britain.

Former World Champion and class legend Bill Devine, 72, won his title in 1979 at Long Beach USA and said of Massey: “He was sensational and had the boat speed. He is just so professional and at the moment is streets ahead of everyone.

While Massey and Wilsdon are World Champions in the International 14 class, the racing continues tomorrow (Monday 11 Jan) for the rest of the 109-boat fleet that has been split into Gold and Silver fleets. The split was a necessary safety measure in order to fit the large fleet into the confines of Sydney Harbour during a busy summer.

Neil Patchett