The conditions for the final day of the “III Stavros Match Race” Championship could not have been better, with 12 kts of westerly breeze and the main ingredient, sunshine. Race Officer Paulo set the small course not far from the Club Naval de Cascais as the huge rolling waves from the Atlantic crashed against the shores of Cascais and Estoril. It was picture/postcard stuff as the 6 boat round robin started promptly at 10am. With 2 places still up for grabs it was “all to play for” to see who would join Martin Payne and Pieter Heerema in the semi-finals.
The Irish Team “Kingston” had to unfortunately pull out early as one of the crew had still not recovered from the bang received from the boom during pre-race circling, the day before. This left 5 teams for 2 places… Hugo Stenbeck (SWE), with Pedro Andrade calling tactics, won his first 2 races and looked a dead cert to go through. But during his pre-start manoeuvre with Gustavo Lima (POR), Hugo could not avoid “T-Boning” the Portuguese boat! This hard contact was immediately penalised with a Black Flag (DSQ) so with his boat quite badly damaged, Hugo’s championship was over. This was a great pity as not only was Hugo one of the fastest boats on the race course, but 3 wins would have seen him through to the semi’s. Better luck next year Hugo.
Meanwhile Gustavo Lima was showing why he held the Portuguese Match Race National Title recently and also why he was selected to represent his country at the recent Olympics in Weymouth, by winning all his 4 matches. Rui Boia (POR) was having a tough time, however Vincent Hoesch (GER) and Patrick de Barros(POR) were to both finish on equal wins, but as Patrick had beaten Vincent in their match, Patrick would take the remaining place to the semi’s. As Payne was the initial leader in the first round robin he had the privilege to chose his semi-final opponent. He chose De Barros, to leave Heerema v Lima.
With both semi-finals being the best of 3 races, all teams knew that first blood was essential to gain confidence and keep your opponent under pressure. Martin Payne and with his excellent young team, Oliver and Dominic Bakker, managed to win race one against Partick de Barros crewed by Diago Barros and Nuno Bareto. But in race two it was the Portuguese team that held the advantage until the very end. The photo by Professional Ricardo Pinto below show’s how close the boats were as they crossed the line, Payne just won…
In the other semi-final, last years winner Pieter Heerema was having a difficult time against the experience of Gustavo Lima. Despite Heerema’s every effort and Theis Palms tactical call’s, it was Lima who won through 2-0.
So onto the Final, Payne verses Lima. I would like to say the I gave Gustavo a good run for his money, but the truth (and I believe in true stories) is that Gustavo and his team of Vicente’ Pinherio de Melo and nephew Frederico, never gave us a chance on the pre-starts. I felt unable to break free and Gustavo won both starts and despite every effort by my fantastic “Bakker Brothers” crew, we were unable to catch up.. 2-0 to Gustavo. Well done. In the 3rd/4th place race off, Patrick de Barros beat Pieter Heerema, 2-0….
Overall Positions:1st Gustavo Lima. 2nd Martin Payne. 3rd Patrick de Barros. 4th Pieter Heerema. 5th Vincent Hoesch. 6th Hugo Stenbeck. 7th Rui Boia. 8th George and Shawn Kingston.
Higher, Faster, Longer…………… Starvos.