The final day of the Ski Voile International run by the Club Nautique D’Antibes, saw another glorious sunny day, but alas very little wind. Even though our PRO Dominique Geniaux, knew one more race was required to constitute a series (3 races), he simply could not send the 25 Dragons out for the scheduled 10.30 start as the bay of Juan Les Pins was like glass……  Another factor for Dominique to consider was that no warning sigal could be made later than 14.30. So as like most final sailing days, he had only a small window to work with…

Competitors could only wait and listen for the gun shot to alert their teams to the fact of AP flag down and off we go. Indeed this did eventually happen at around 13.00 although not a breath of wind was evident. It was a gamble that had to be made by the PRO who was as keen as anyone to validate the series. At 14.15 the faintest of “crows feet” showed on the water and so at around 14.25 the final race was started in less than 2 kts of wind. Normally, this would not have happened, but it was the only chance we had…

The first Dragon to make a significant move was RUS 35 Victor Fogeldon who slowly crossed the fleet from the PIN END, but neither side looked to be favoured at this stage and even if it was, you could not get anywhere fast …  However, when the wind did pick up slightly, one side or the other was goining to see a considerable gain. On this occasion it was the left and of the leading four boats overall it was local helm Francois Jacquard helming FRA 348 who led the fleet at the top mark. With already two excellent results to count Francois and his very able and young team of brothers, Oliver and Jeaniuc Terrol, knew that overall victory was their’s if they could just keep the boat going as all the other title contenders were back mid fleet…  Oliver, the tactician and top French Laser sailor (who incidently is currently coaching the Swiss Laser Radial Olympic Team), chose to stick to the same side downwind (left) that had been successful for them upwind.

This proved to be a winning call as the PRO had to shorten the course at the leeward gate, for fear of not completing the full course. Meanwhile the frustration onboard many of the other leading contender’s was very evident. None more so than with the early series leader ITA 54 Paolo Manzini  who finally crossed the line in 18th place, but still manage to keep hold of 2nd place overall. Another team who had a super last race was FRA 381 helmed by Etienne Lafon who matched his previous race by again finishing in 3rd place, which gave him and his team of Jean Claude Roumaillac & Alain Jacob the final podium position overall. Well done.

In closing its fair to say that we were blessed with three super sunny days in the midle of January and apart from Saturday’s Evening Meal which quite honestly left a little to be desired…….  It was a very enjoyable regatta, well organised, friendly helpers and an excellent PRO. I for one hope to return next year and spend another nice long weekend in this lovely part of France.

Higher, Faster, Longer………….   Stavros. (NED 410).