POR 50 “Christmas III” helmed by Pedro Mendes Leal won the 2nd Winter Series here in Cascais yesterday, after only a total of three races could be completed due to unusual weather conditions over the weekend….  After Friday’s most perfect start, the heavy rain that killed the wind was the beginning of a very calm weather system. Indeed Saturday saw all the 22 teams have to sit it out at the club, waiting for some positive news to come from the race area to signal sailing was possible, alas that signal never came……… But Tim Tavinors 50th Birthday Party still went ahead on time & for some… did not finish till 4am!

However, yesterday the teams all left their moorings on time as a very light Easterly wind offered the possibility of a chance to race.  Even though a Northerly wind was forecast racing began around 11.30am in around 6kts of breeze and long rolling waves. Although the committee boat was favoured, Pedro Andrade (tactician on POR 50), knew from his many years of Cascais sailing that the left would probably pay. In fact a starboard bearing of 82 degrees soon came down to less than 70 degrees as the leading boats made their way up the left-hand side of the course. So when tacking on the port lay-line POR 50 easily crossed the fleet and proved what a substantial gain the left side had over the boats coming in from the right. POR 46, GER 1087 and GER 10 also came in from the left to round the top mark behind “Christmas”…  These 4 boats held their respective positions to the finish.

In race 2 with the wind still just holding from the East, the majority of boats headed left off the line, only this time POR 26 helmed by Rui Boia took the lead after making an excellent start from the committee boat end. He sailed all the way to the port lay-line and held a comfortable lead by the top mark. RUS 76 and POR 47 also made good use of the left hand side to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively to Rui who held onto his modest lead till the end….

With a discard not applied until a 4th race was sailed a number of teams were hopeful of a final race. But the wind died away to nothing and eventually at 3.20pm the race officer had to call it a day and send the disappointed teams back to the harbour. Well of course not ALL the teams were disappointed, as without a discard, consistency is the name of the game and although POR 50 was tied with GER 1087, on count back POR 50 took the title as he had recorded a 1st place. But GER 1087 were still delighted with their 2nd place as helm Peter Alarie and crew Theis Palm & “Rooster” Stevenson had only just launched a “brand new” out of the wrapper Petticrow, that weekend. In 3rd overall was local favourite POR 47 Henrique Anjos crewed by Pedro Costa Alemao and Tiago Castro, just 2pts behind the winners. Again another consistant performance from a top local boat. Well done…..

At the prize giving Class President Jose Matoso, thanked all the helpers and volunteers and invited all sailors to join in for the next winter series event Dec 9th-11th which will conclude the Portugal programe for 2011. But for a smiling Pedro Mendes Leal and his winning team aboard POR 50 CHRISTMAS has arrived early……..  🙂

Higher, Faster, Longer……………..   Stavros. (NOR 282).