Anatoly Loginov and his team, Alexander Shaligin and Vadim Satsenko surf their dragon to victory at the 4th winter series regatta in Cascais.

Firstly, sorry for the slight delay in my final report on the weekend my friends, but I’ve been suffering badly from toothache! Yes, even Stavros has teeth and I can tell you the pain this weekend has been like having your Mother-in-Law stay with you over X-mas.

It was a fantastic final day in Portugal which saw all 36 boats finish up this winter series event with two more races. The wind was 12kts from around 240 degree’s, whilst the waves still rolled in from the southwest. Although fleet leader POR 55 Jose’ Matoso went into the last day with a 3pt advantage, he recorded a 13th & 10th respectively to slip to 3rd overall. Meanwhile his nearest rival RUS 27 Anatoly Loginov continued to apply the pressure…….

In race one (6th of the series), it was POR 50 who won the race, so I caught up with helm Rui Boia and asked him what happened.. “We started 2nd boat down the from committee boat with RUS 27 to leeward. The line was slightly biased to starboard so we immediately looked good on the fleet, but we were not sure which side would pay although we favoured the right due to the tide.”  Rui continued, ” The fleet split 50/50 and we continued on starboard until we just crossed DEN 406 (Jorgen Schonherr) and saw a dark line of current flooding into the river (of Lisbon). We tacked to the right and made a big gain on the fleet along with DEN 406.”

So at the top mark Jorgen Schonherr had the lead from POR 50 and that was the way it was until the downwind gate. Rui told me” We managed to pass DEN 406 when he chose the right hand mark at the gate, we chose the left to get clear air and less current.” So this manoeuvre cost Jorgen the race and gave Rui and his team the deserved victory. Behind the leaders was RUS 76 Dmitry Samohkin (another overall contender) who took 3rd place, whilst RUS 27 finished 6th.

In race two (7th and final of the series) it was all up for grabs and again the committee boat end of the start seemed favoured. I caught up with GBR 758 Klaus Diederichs who had a fantastic start and asked him about the race…  “We wanted the right as in the previous race there was a tide line giving a clear advantage to the right.” Klaus continued.. So we started at the committee boat and tacked immediately, most of the fleet followed but because we got the tide first we extended our lead.” On the second beat GBR 758 was being hunted by RUS 27 out again to the right hand side, these two boats pulling well ahead of the fleet. Klaus add’s “RUS 27 tacked for the lay-line a bit earlier than us and due to a small lift was able to close the gap on us. So the final downwind leg was very exciting as we were neck and neck all the way to the finish. RUS 27 slipped through on literally the final wave to finish half a boat length ahead of us”…  Sounded like a great race for Klaus and his team of Andy Beadsworth and Jamie Lea who finished 5th overall.

Meanwhile the win gave the overall victory to RUS 27 Anatoly and his fantastic team in “Annapurna”..  RUS 76 had another excellent regatta to finish 2nd overall and POR 55 3rd. Staying in the hunt overall was triple Gold Cup winner Jorge Schonherr who finished 4th.

Another great photo of the winners RUS 27 taken by Richardo Pinto.

In closing, it was a really great weekend (apart from my tooth) which saw 7 races sailed in perfect winds over three days. Although 36 boats took part, the momentum will continue now and see the fleet expanding each event. The next and final winter series is Feb 22nd-24th and I’m sure will top 50 boats, as everyone is gearing up for the Grade 1 Juan Carlos in March and the Europeans in April. Are you coming…………..??????????

Higher, Faster, Longer….  Still in pain!           Stavros.