Yesterday the wind continued to blow from a northerly direction in Cascais, this wind comes directly from the mountains and like with most winds that come from the land it tends to oscillate. Not only are the shifts unpredictable but many “pockets” of wind can suddenly arrive in front of you which results in a massive gain. Likewise huge holes in the wind can also be found, which makes the race course a bit like a game of “Snakes and Ladders”… So the three races saw many place changes, three different winners and a hole bunch of sailors claiming that at some stage in each race they were leading by a mile…………….  🙂

In race 1 (4th of the championship), FRA 396 helmed by Remy Arnaud took the lead on the first run with an early gybe after rounding the first mark in 7th position, which Remy held onto to take the victory. It was a day where decisions required immediate action, which could result in big gains in this extremely competitive fleet of 28 boats. An example of this was NOR 282 Pieter Heerama, who rounded the windward mark clearly in 1st position, only to be 10th place by the leeward gate! He fought back well to finally finish with a deserved 3rd place. Meanwhile SWE 356 Stefan Wineberg was having a great race picking the shifts well to finish 2nd. 

Race 2 looked like 15 boats were going to round the first mark all bunched up together, but a left hand shift came in with pressure and POR 57 Mario Quina suddenly shot into the lead and rounded first. A whole host of boats were in hot pursuit and the race burst into life with an array of colourful spinnakers all being set at once. Two of the chasing boats that challenged Mario for the lead were favourites RUS 27 and GER 10. Indeed after a relocated windward mark rounding, which had to be moved due to the wind staying right, GER 10 Tommy Muller was quick to gybe as spinnakers were set and this was to be a winning move as they took the lead from POR 57 with RUS 27 Anatoloy Loginov settling for 3rd place.

So to the final race of the day, race 3 (sixth of the series), do we go right or do we go left ??  the 64 million dollar question going through every competitors mind as the clock tic’s down for the start..  Well boats shot off both ways and nobody knew who was leading until just before the top mark when, surprise surprise a right hand shift kicked in…  This gave POR 50 Pedro Mendes Leal a lead that he was to extend by a mile as the wind dropped away to hardly nothing….  GBR 720 Graham Bailey also came in from the right with Pedro at the top mark and managed to hang on to 2nd place despite the dying wind. In 3rd place was POR 56 Miguel Magalhaes, who after a difficult first two days, fought back hard yesterday to record three top 10 places, well done………….

With the last day of racing today, 11.00am start and a wind again forecast from the north, there are now three boats who can realistically take the Juan Carlos Title.  RUS 27, POR 50 & GER 10. Only 3pts separate them but they are a clear 15 points from the remaining fleet, so it’s come down to a three-way-battle…… Will current Gold Cup holder Anatoloy Loginov be able to retain the trophy he won last year, or can GER 10 Tommy Muller go one place better than last years runner’s up spot ??  Or will the local POR 50 Pedro, Pedro and Jorge crown a great weekend by snatching the title…..   Bring it on Cascais…………

Higher, Faster, Longer………..  Stavros (GBR 648).