In 2007 Southern California I-14 sailor Paul Galvez raced in the Prince of Wales Cup hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron. It was the 80th anniversary of the International 14. Paul was “blown away by the beauty and craftsmanship of the old wooden 14s on display. Especially the pre-WWII classics.” He told his wife, “I’ve gotta have one.”
He returned home with the dream, but after a while gave up hope of finding one in the US. More than a few years later he got a line on an old 14. He sent the picture off to the class historian who confirmed it was old, but did it predate the war? The woody was at an estate of man who collected fine things. After lowering it down from the rafters onto a classic Ferrari, dusting it, and chasing out the spiders, Paul realized it was a “bones boat — it had ribs." He bought the boat on spot.
From the old boating archaeological perspective, it was a little crude: bronze-fastened, didn’t have the ‘silk’ waterproofing, double cedar planking, screwed instead of clenched, and caulked. Paul determined she was an Uffa Fox design, yet built in America by some yet-to-be-determined builder. In the old days, Americans imported 14s from Britain. These were very expensive, so they sought an American-made alternative. Powerboat builders could crank out economical ones.
Paul’s goal was to return the boat to Concours d’Elegance condition. With the Worlds fast approaching, RYC I-14 sailor Rand Arnold, who knew about the boat, asked Paul to bring her up. Paul sacrificed training time, and after coming home from work each day, “put in labor, love and time," meaning sanding and varnishing — all in tribute to the class he loves.
The bumper strip on the transom of Paul’s Bieker 5 I-14 says, “My other I-14 is a woody.” His future plan? Once he ‘retires’ from the class, he’ll have a boat to sail.
Thanks to our source at RYC for sending us this report. Look for our race recap on the I-14 Worlds in Racing Sheet in the September issue of Latitude 38, coming out this Friday.