The 2nd race of the Coupe de Bretange started yesterday in a very light, almost southerly wind, of no more than 5 kts. Boats that started at the “biased” pin end and continued to the left before tacking made the best gains, as the wind shifted to the left. At the first mark FRA 386 “Lady Jane”, helmed by Luc Pillot rounded ahead of GER 1102 Phillip Pechstein and HKG 55 Tam Nguyen. The first downwind leg turned into a tight reach as the wind continued to turn left, but it also died away. So when the PRO called the race off, the leading three boats could only smile to themselves and think what “might have been”….  :-)

After waiting the best part of 90 mins, the race was eventually re-started in a westerly wind of 5 to 7 kts. Again there was a significant bias at the pin end of the line and first race winner HKG 55 Tam Nguyen, despite lots of shouting from other competitors, managed to get the best start followed by GER 1102 Phillip Pechstein and GER 11 Marcus Brennecke.  These three boats continued out towards the left hand side of the beat with GER 11 dictating when the outside two boats could tack onto port. Marcus explained “after getting a good start, we held onto starboard for quite some time, to allow the full advantage of our position to develop. Once we could cross the fleet we tacked onto port and held our lane to be first at the top mark”.

Second around the top mark was HKG 55 “Zephyr” and third “LiLu” GER 1102. With the fleet all close behind, including the European Champion POR 55 Jose’ Matoso and Gold Cup Champion GER 1133 Tommy Muller, the leaders were not going to have an easy ride. Indeed at the first gate GER 11 “Billy Boy” Marcus Brennecke had stretched his lead whilst the other four boats all went around together, two pairs to each gate. On the second upwind Brennecke extended his lead by covering the fleet, whilst HKG 55 Tam Nguyen did a good job to hold onto 2nd place. Meanwhile GER 1133 Tommy Muller was showing why he is one of the favourite’s for the Grand Prix by pulling through to 3rd place.

So at the finish on the second downwind leg, it was GER 11 “Billy Boy” who took the gun, helmed by Marcus Brennecke and crewed by Marc Pickel and Thomas Auracher, 2nd was HKG 55 Tam Nguyen and 3rd GER 1133 Tommy Muller. I asked Marcus after the race where his main inspiration had come from to win todays race, he told me “apart from the fact I have an excellent crew, we all enjoyed so much the “Crew Party” held in the big tent the night before, and I would like to thank the DZ organisers for providing such an enjoyable evening”. Well said Marcus.

Tam now leads overall on 3pts from Marcus on 5pts and RUS 6 Alexander Schmid on 10pts. With two more races today and more wind forecast it should be a most exciting finish to this “warm up” regatta to the main Grand Prix Guyader that begins on Wednesday………

Higher, Faster, Longer……….    Stavros.   (GER 1102)….