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New Zealand Pair 4th at I14 World Champs

Date Released: 21 February 2005
From: Jodie Perkins

NEW ZEALAND PAIR 4TH AT INTERNATIONAL 14 WORLD CHAMPS

Dan Slater and Nathan Handley finished an impressive 4th at the International 14 Class World Championships competing against 82 other boats. Racing concluded Saturday 19 February at Takapuna Boating Club in Auckland.

In 4th, Slater and Handley were well and truly the best performing of the eight kiwi teams taking part. Australian sailors Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry claimed the World Championship title beating two British teams to the top place. Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) were 2nd while James Fawcett and Dave Dobrijevic (GBR) finished in 3rd.

Although Slater and Handley sailed a 49er campaign in the Sydney 2000 Olympics finishing 8th, the pair haven't been together in a two-handed boat since then. They recognised that the chance to get together and compete against an international fleet here in New Zealand was too good to miss.

"It was an awesome opportunity for anyone who has sailed a skiff to join a line-up of over 80 boats here in our backyard," says Slater.

Although a little disappointed at finishing the regatta with their poorest performances, Slater and Handley were pleased with their overall result.

"We did better than we expected, probably a lot better than what a lot of people expected" says Handley. "Dan and I have been big boat sailing together, but we haven't been together in a small boat since the Sydney Games. It was great to get back out there."

The development class boat allows competitors to continually improve their designs and push the edge of technology. New to the I14, this put Slater and Handley a little behind their international competitors as the build process took longer than anticipated.

"After returning from Athens [as Olympic coach], I knew the I14 Worlds were coming up in February so I started the build in November. There was lots of preparation creating a prototype hull first, and finally finishing the deck and hull in early December. We launched on Christmas eve," explains Slater.

"We got back in the boat on January 10th, and had a good two or three weeks training together. Racing for the I14's at Sail Auckland was abandoned, so the first chance we got to line-up against anyone was in the World Champ's practice race. Time was against us as far as getting the boat tuned, so although we weren't far behind the others, our boat was not quite as fast as some. We really had to sail well."

Slater will now focus on single-handed sailing with intentions to mount an Olympic Finn campaign while Handley, who is getting married later in the year, is keeping his options open.

International 14 World Championships Final Top Five Results
Takapuna, Auckland

1st - Lindsay Irwin and Andrew Perry (AUS)
2nd - Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR)
3rd - James Fawcett and Dave Dobrijevic (GBR)
4th - Dan Slater and Nathan Handley (NZL)
5th - Bard Devine and Denis Jones (AUS)

Full results are available on the Takapuna Boating Club Website or by clicking the link below.


http://www.takapunaboating.org.nz/Business/ productsbusiness/productsbusiness.htm

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