Lars Hendriksen, helming Ivan Bradbury’s “Pedersen & Thuesen” DEBUTANT, won the first race of the Italian Championships yesterday by just a whisker, from RUS 76 and RUS 27.

It was a nice long race in surprisingly tough conditions as the wind was around 20 kts and the sea was very lumpy. Most of the 30 starters headed inshore off the line, as the general feeling before the race was to favour the coast. However, RUS 76 helmed by Dmitry Samhokin had a poor start so had to tack onto port, forcing them out to sea. This proved to be a most fortuitous move as the wind proved to be stronger, the further boats went offshore.

This move made by RUS 76 gave them a huge advantage over the fleet to lead by a comfortable margin at the top of the first beat. Lars told me after the race “Although Dmitry had a nice lead we were travelling well and started to make ground on him downwind. On the second upwind leg we were taking in a huge amount of water as the waves were steep” Lars had his crew Frithjof  Kleen and Andy Bagger, using the manual pumps as well as the battery bilge pump. In fact on the final beat Lars told me the bucket had to used at times !! So I think all of you readers can understand the difficulty of the sea at times.

On the final long beat, RUS 76 went slightly to the left to protect a left hand wind shift, however Hendriksen in DEN 138 and Anatoly Loginov in RUS 27 were further off shore and again benefited from more pressure. The exciting finish saw Hendriksen just overtake the Russian leaders, with RUS 27 in 3rd.

It was a great opening race to this grade 2 National Championship and all sailors were complementary with the course and the starting line set by the International Race Officer Dodi Villani. We now all wait for the wind….

Higher, Faster, Longer………..   Stavros  (USA 310).