The wind in Cascais yesterday morning was from a Southerly direction, so it took a little longer for the gradient wind to settle, but with temperatures reaching 28 degree’s and a cloudless sky, the 28 boat fleet did not mind waiting one hour for it to change to a more usual North-Westerly direction. So at 3.0pm the first race got underway, or nearly as there was a General Recall. However, the experienced race officer did not implement the Black Flag and gave the competitors a second chance to start without penalty. This worked for all except 3 boats who were adjudged OCS. The boats that started at the committee boat end of the line and tacked in towards the shore made the most gains and the three leading boats at the top mark all came from the right. POR 50 helmed by Pedro Andrade (in the absence of owner Pedro Mendes Leal), judged his first beat to perfection and rounded 1st, closely followed by GER 10 Tommy Muller and GBR 758 Klaus Diederichs. These three boats managed to maintain their positions despite various other challenges from the rest of this talented and competitive fleet.

In race two again the right hand side paid on the first beat and this time it was RUS 96 Mikhail Muratov’s chance to lead the fleet at the first mark. There were a whole bunch of boats closely behind half of which elected to “bear-a-way” set whilst the others “gybed-set” and so the race was on towards the bottom gate. As the right hand side of the beat seem to be paying more often than not, the leaders opted to take the left hand gate mark and head for the shore…  POR 50 Pedro Andrade told me ” We made such a bad rounding, that we had no option but to tack away for clear air ” after he also chose the left hand gate, ” then when we tacked back in towards the right, we suddenly were ahead! ” and so it came to pass that the left hand side paid handsomely on the second beat causing many place changes.

But it was to be Pedro’s day, crewed by Piedade Colaco and Jorge Ferlov in POR 50 after gaining enough on the fleet on the second beat then tack early to the final winward mark to round first and hold on to the lead with spinnaker set, to take his second 1st place……  Well done to him and his team. Meanwhile local favourite POR 47 Henrique Anjos recovered well from his poor first race to finish 2nd and RUS 27 Anatoloy Loginov with another fine showing took 3rd. It was then a late return to the Club Naval for some of these slightly sun-burnt sailors, but soon the stories of “this and that” and “if only i’d tacked….” were flowing as freely as the Portuguese wine and beer provided during the Happy Hour……

With 6 races still to go this Grade 1 event is wide open, but I bet there is a smile on Pedro’s face when he hands over the helm today of POR 50 to it’s rightful owner…………..saying “Follow That!”

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