It was a rough afternoon off the shores of Estoril which saw the start of the 1st Spring Cup Series, which precedes the prestigious and Grade 1 Juan Carlos Trophy. The PRO chose to start the 20 boat fleet on the “B” course which is slightly more protected than the “A” course, which probably would have been too tough today.  In race one started in around 20kts of westerly wind,  GBR 758 with Andy Beadsworth helming (until Kluas Diederichs arrives), won the committee boat end of the line and continued on starboard with GBR 767 Ton de Waart and NED 316 Lars Jensen (helming until Pieter Heerema arrives). The fleet split 50/50 but it was these three boats who went up the middle of the course who gained from a 15 degree shift from the left.

GBR 758 rounded the top mark first, followed by NED 316 then GBR 767. There was a considerable amount of tide against the fleet, so the spreader mark was also upwind. On the second beat SUI 311 Hugo Stenbeck, went hard right after rounding the downwind gate 4th. Beadsworth, Jensen and de Waart continued up the middle to hold their positions, until Stenbeck just crossed ahead of de Waart to move up into 3rd place. With just the downwind leg to the finish, GBR 758 held onto 1st, NED 316 2nd and SUI 311 3rd.

In race two, a right hand shift, influenced by a dark cloud over Cascais bought not only more wind, but a 20 degree shift to the right! This increase in wind saw 28 kts at times as the boats who went right off the start made huge gains. NED 316 Lars Jensen, with Theis Palm and Herve’ Lamour crewing, went far right and with UKR 8 Yevgen Braslavets came first and second to the top mark. In hot pusuit was last series winner DEN 138 Lars Hendriksen who had tacked immediately the right shift came in, so did not gain as much as Jensen and Braslavets who were far right. Sometimes when a shift like this comes in it is best to tack immediately, as before the windward mark, it can often go back to normal. However, on this ocassion the wind stayed right, so the boats far right held the advantge.

Although the wind changed in pressure depending on the clouds and rain squall’s, the first three boats stayed the same. Until SUI 311, showing excellent speed all day, just squeezed out Hendriksen at the finish of a third beat to take 3rd. So overall NED 316 leads with a 2nd and 1st.  SUI 311 in 2nd with two 3rd places and UKR 8 is currently 3rd with a 2nd and a 6th. Today will see three races with a start time of 11.00am. We expect to see more boats take to the water, as the weather begins to improve and the main “baulk” of the Juan Carlos fleet arrive……

Special congratulations must go to Charlotte ten Wolde helming NED 411 in her first International regatta, who braved it out to finish 16th in race one before deciding to call it a day. Charlotte is standing in for her Father Wouter, who hopes to join the team soon.

Higher, Faster, Longer………..     Stavros.   GBR 767.