In mid September, 1981, on consecutive weeks, I raced in both, the International 14 Team Races and, the International 14 Worlds out of Annapolis. I teamed with Bill Moss on his Kirby IV.
For many years leading up to 1981, the International 14 class had considered the Team Racing Championship as the defacto World Championship (oddly enough there was no perpetual trophy) but, by 1981, changes were afoot. The class had held it's first World Championship in Alamitos Bay, California in 1979. The 1981 Worlds was to be the second World Championship for the class and there was a strong movement to move the class towards amalgamating the rule with the Australian 14 class.
However, in 1981, the International Team Racing Championship was still THE prestigious event in the class, even though it was basically a three country, English speaking affair (the U.S having a West Coast and East Coast team to make it a four team round robin with England and Canada). The East Coast had never won the International Team Racing Championship but in 1981, with the event in home town Annapolis and having the reigning 1979 World Champion, John Gallagher, the East Coast team looked poised to compete for the top spot.
And we did eventually win the Team Racing Championship, but it was a difficult road as every one of us on the East Coast Team had a race where we totally screwed the pooch; for me it was one of the races against the West Coast where I tried to sneak inside at a mark without an overlap and got shut out by Baird Bardason. Extremely mad at my stupidity, I withdrew and crossed my fingers that we could pull this race out with only three boats....and we did. It seemed race after race, one of us would step up to save the team's bacon. It was an extremely hard fought series against the Canadians, there were a couple of protests that went our way but, in the end, we prevailed. The first and only East Coast team to win the International Team Race series.
Mug shot of the 1981 East Coast International 14 Team after one of the races......
From Left to Right; Chris Price, Eric Arens, Bill Moss, Tom Price, Paul Weiss, John Gallagher, David Gallagher, Rod Mincher
The World Championship the next week started with three days of a hard 20-25 mph Northwester blow. It wasn't if you were going to capsize, it was when you were going to capsize. I remember a hard reach right on the edge of control when the rudder stalled out and stayed stalled. The rudder was turned, there was a nice rooster tail but no control. "Hang on!", I yelled at Bill, "No rudder!" right before the 14 headed up and rolled over. The breeze moderated toward the end of the week.... Bill and I had a couple of good races to finish mid teens which wasn't too different from where I ended up at the International Canoe Worlds a month earlier.
From an email from English team member, Andy Fitzgerald.....
"Yes it's me and my crew Nick Burgin (who went on to sail a FD successfully with Roger Yeoman before pulling out before the Seoul Olympics, to be replaced by another 14 sailor Neil Mcdonald of round the world fame)........It was still in my mind the windiest race ever - we all hid in the lee of the supertanker and the race really started there. My introduction to the cut and thrust of team racing, not to mention the Canadians who were getting on top of their game."
John Evans, member of the English team, added this comment which I've dragged over to the main post.
"Yes, indeed , it was a memorable event in 1981 - as we not only had 25+knots wind for one days racing in the Worlds, but also an Annapolis "Buster" with hail, rain and thunder one evening - it stopped the Naval Academy Band from practising, which was a relief! I won the windy day race, and did quite well overall.....Bob and Peggy Reeves hosted us. Andy Fitzgerald raced with a guy called Nick Burgin...my crew was called Pete Barr, who knew all Baird Bardason daughters really well!"
Alan Laflin emailed his recollections;
"Eric A and I have owned 2 14s together since the 97 Worlds and raced it in the Totally Dinghy regatta in September. We're both 72 (me next week) and we won the Century Cup in England in 2008. First non Brits and the oldest combined age ever. The 1981 picture in front of the Naval Academy was just after we won the first race of the Worlds and went downhill after that. I think we were 2nd in the US Nationals part of the Regatta."
Eric Arens emailed this clarification about the photo below;
"The picture is left to right reversed as you can see in the Naval Academy. I forget the photographer's name, but he lived in Annapolis; and he reversed the picture so that it would fit on the fold-out cover of Sailing World's predecessor magazine.
Your note on the team races is very good in stating that each of us really messed up at some time or other. I got disqualified before the start of one race when I was on port tack. I still do not know how little room a boat tacking to port has to give a starboard tacker so that the starboard tacker cannot change course and bear down on the port tacker."
And Mark Adams added a comment which I've dragged over to the main post;
"I think the b/w picture is indeed of Andy Fitzgerald from the UK. I used to run into him in England on business and we would always talk about the windy day of the Worlds. We managed to make it 3 miles or so downwind in 30, then hung out in the lee of an anchored tanker while the RC set the course. We both agreed that it was the windiest day of racing we'd ever had in a dinghy. And I'm from San Francisco and he's from windy ole England. Oh and the photographer's name who took that pic of me and Chris, Alan and Jim was Bob Dollard if I recall correctly."
On the picture below, West Coasties, Alan Laflin and crew Jim Anderson (foreground) with Mark Adams and Chris Benedict (3rd in the Worlds) to weather, beating back to SSA after the days races. Photo from Sailing World.
And this article from "The Evening Capitol" fills out who made it to podium finishes.......
"The relay race on the big lawn at Tom Price's house that resulted in Ed.... from Canada and me having to run against each other because the Canadians kept the $1 entry fee from each country and wouldn't pay up to the East Coast when we (East Coast) had won. Since the course included chugging a beer and stripping down to nothing at the far end of the lawn before returning, the opportunity was realized and taken to remove my clothes. Anyway, in the confusion we did not get the money. But justice was served, although years later. About the year 2000 I was at an airport in British Columbia getting ready to get onto a helicopter to go to a lodge in the mountains to back county ski for a week when I heard a call "Eric......" I looked over and saw Ed.... and immediately said "You owe me $10." He bought a round of drinks at the lodge, but the rest of the East Coast never did get rewarded for winning."