By Brian Haines, USA 1204



The 2019 International 14 National Championships were hosted by Southwestern Yacht Club in sunny, and unusually hot San Diego. Racing took place inside San Diego Bay on Friday September 6th, and on the Coronado Roads ocean course on Sept 7th and 8th. The class bylaw-required distance race capped off Saturday’s racing, which started in the ocean and provided a beautiful and challenging tour of San Diego Bay.



Friday’s hot and humid weather had everyone’s expectations set fairly low in terms of sailing conditions. We were pleasantly surprised to arrive at the race course area off Downtown in about 8 knots of breeze, but that soon dropped to about 6 as the wind settled in for the day. SWYC’s Summer Greene, as PRO, and the rest of her team did a great job of getting the first race of the event off on schedule. Kris Bundy and Jamie Hanseler set the pace in race 1, leading all the way around the track and across the line. Two schools of thought split the fleet on the first beat of this race, and for the rest of the day: go left for more consistent breeze but more adverse current, or avoid current on the right but sail in puffier/shiftier conditions. Race 2 was won by Terry Gleeson and JP Barnes, and Race 3 by Ted Conrads and Brian Haines. Top three standings after day 1: Brad Ruetenik/Garrett Brown and Gleeson/Barnes were tied on 7 points, followed by Conrads/Haines on 8 points. After a somewhat brutal sail back to the beach (light and hot), any gripes with the conditions were soon forgotten as several SWYC Staff Commodores met boats on the beach with boat dollys, immediately followed by hot pizza and ice cold beer in the boat park. Happy sailors all around.






Saturday’s forecast was the most promising of the weekend, at 8-10 knots from the west. The fleet got started promptly at 11:30 in beautiful conditions—the ocean course provided more room for teams to spread out and test their luck on either side of the course. With the breeze already so far right at the beginning of the day, several teams thought it unlikely that the wind would go further right and played the middle/left side of the course. Somewhat surprisingly, the right continued to pay off in races 4 and 5. Kelp was an additional variable on the course, and contributed to quite a few gains, losses, and choice words among team members. Race 4 was won by Gleeson/Barnes, and Race 5 by Conrads/Haines.

Race 6 was the fleet’s distance race, which I have learned is a class requirement for any championship event in North America. The required minimum 15 mile race started on the same starting line we had used for the day’s previous two races, raced to the end of Zuniga Jetty off Point Loma, followed the San Diego shipping channel all the way down the bay past Downtown, rounded a piling of the Coronado Bridge, and raced back up the bay to finish off Shelter Island near SWYC. This race threw just about everything San Diego has to offer at us: ocean sailing in ~8 knots of breeze, drifting in hellish boat wake and current off Point Loma, 2-sail reaching in 15+ knots, capsizes, short tacking up the San Diego city front in 12 knots, and drifting across the finish line as the fleet quickly compressed. Ruetenik/Brown sailed a great race and held their lead across the finish line with the rest of the fleet hot on their heels. Ted and I both said after this race that it was one of the most varied, challenging, and fun races we have ever sailed. As new members of the fleet, we think the distance race is a pretty cool feature of Championship events!






Southwestern Yacht Club continued to impress on Saturday with delicious Filipino post-racing snacks and of course plenty of cold beer, followed by a fantastic fried chicken dinner for racers, family, and friends. It was refreshing to see all of the volunteers and club members at this event so enthusiastic about sharing their club and hosting the fleet.

Let’s just say that Sunday’s conditions left a little to be desired. It was looking promising as we arrived out to the race course, with 6-8 knots of breeze from the south and feeling like it would gradually build and clock right. That would be normal for San Diego. But Sunday had different plans; the marine layer just offshore never really cleared, and after the fleet got off the starting line in a nice ~6 knots of breeze, conditions slowly deteriorated to a drifter of a finish. Heading into Sunday in third place overall (two points out of first), Ruetnick/Brown led around the first weather mark followed closely by Bundy/Hanseler, and both held onto those places to the finish. Conrads/Haines, who went into Sunday with a 1-point lead over Gleeson/Barnes in second, held onto third place in race 7, followed by Gleeson/Barnes in fourth. That’s all the breeze could provide for the day and when all was said and done, Ruetenik/Brown and Conrads/Haines finished the series tied and with an identical score line, so the series was determined by whoever beat who in the final race of the series. Gleeson/Barnes rounded out the top three only 2 points back—a very close event! Congratulations to Brad and Garrett on a very well-sailed regatta. On a personal note, I’m thrilled to see Brad win another class championship. As most (probably all) of you reading this know, Brad has put in a ton of effort to build this class, and Ted and I are direct beneficiaries of his support. We look forward to many more I14 regattas.






This fleet’s long history also means that it has a variety of perpetual trophies, which all have an impressive list of names engraved on them. Along with the Founder’s (National Championship) Trophy and the President’s (Distance Race) Trophy both going to Brad and Garrett, also awarded at this year’s nationals were the Laflin/Arens Windmaster’s Trophy (combined skipper and crew age greater than 100) to Kris Bundy and Jamie Hanseler; the Avenger’s Trophy (most deserving “older design” boat) to Michael Leitch and Elizabeth Campbell in “Woody”; and the Ladies Trophy (highest placed female sailor) to Elizabeth Campbell.

Finally, on behalf of the I14 fleet, I’d like to thank the entire Southwestern Yacht Club family for hosting a fantastic regatta and for making all of us feel so welcomed. I hope we are lucky enough to sail another event at SWYC in the near future!


Results