The final day of races in the sunny Cascais 5th winter series were sailed again in wonderful conditions. 10-12 kts of wind from the Northwest, with gentle 3 foot waves that keep all helm’s honest upwind and allows for occasional surfing opportunities when the spinnakers set… The 20 boat fleet enjoyed the final two races, but none more than the “Murka” team, all dressed smartly in their Green waterproofs, sailing RUS 96 and RUS 69. Mikhail Muratov (although absent) and his wife Olga White have put together a most professional group of sailors and coaches, that have the extra advantage of a most awesome RIB (Driven by a mad Australian who now chooses to reside in the UK). This set up has started to really reap the benefits of hard work, lots of training, travelling and racing………

To emphasise this high standard the Murka Team is setting, their results on the final day would see not only RUS 96 win the event, but Olga helming her RUS 69 with Vadim and Martin, snatch the runner’s up spot from the world famous Vincent Hoesch GER 10 and his Bavarian Dream Team…  who had to settle for 3rd place overall…

On the race course the strong ebbing tide meant that boats were helped over the line, so after several recalls the races were sailed with tide assisted beats and long downwind legs as the current tried to pushed the boats back…… The first race of the day saw GBR 758 Klaus Diederichs gain an early advantage by heading inshore on the downwind leg, which must have helped fight the current.  Klaus went on to win that race and cement his 4th overall position.  RUS 96 and 69 both favoured the PIN end of the line as did NOR 282 in the final race, and these three boats were to get a jump on the fleet to finish with RUS 69 1st, RUS 96 2nd and NOR 282 3rd. This gave consecutive titles to RUS 96 even though owner Mikhail was still racing around Paris in his Porsche…  Well done!

At the prize giving Jose’ Matoso the class President, thanked all the competitors and welcomed more to join these lucky sailors in Cascais for not only the Grade 1 Juan Carlos Trophy which begins 31st March, but also the much sought after “Prince Henry the Navigator Trophy” that now has returned to the Algarve in April 14th-17th. Yes, Villamoura will once again be able to show the rest of the world a truly magnificent racing/sailing area..  As I see the Princess Sofia has lost it’s dragon fleet, this maybe the ideal place for sailors to hone their skills before the much awaited Grand Prix in Douarnenez, during May.  If not this year, make a note of the dates for 2012 and beyond. Portugal is the most idyllic place for winter sailing and with ferries to Northern Spain, it’s no longer too far to go !!!!

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