Jose’ Matoso, Gustavo and Frederico.. shortly after winning the second race today, relax as they sail back into Cascais.  They take the overall lead and are in excellent shape with just two more races to go in this highly contested European Championship.

Firstly, if you missed my blog yesterday I’m afraid you will have to settle for the press release from the club itself, I was otherwise engaged with an upset tummy…. As my Father once said “through the eye of a needle at 50 paces” comes to mind :-).. Fortunately, normal service has been resumed due to some Imodium and because of some great sailing from my good friend and current 80 year old helm Edward Sawyer, I am able to bring you exactly what went on out there today on a very tough race course… Yes folks Teddy had us at the front end of the fleet for both races as many top contenders lost their chances to lift this magnificent European Trophy..

There are too many fantastic sailors here to name, but a quick look at the results and it’s easy to see some of the very best teams got it wrong and there simply is no way back. In race one, the line was set with a 15 degree bias at the Pin and plenty of length. It was a choice of taking the bias or starting near the committee boat and heading right into the bay of Estoril. We (USA 310) started with race winner UKR 8 Evgeny Bratzlavets at the Pin. With a clear first start the fleet got away and it was soon obvious that we had chosen wisely, as URK 8 just ahead of us was able to tack onto port and easily cross the fleet. We followed suit soon after and with DEN 405 Jens Christensen were the first three boats to get within 100m of the top mark.

Now for those of you that read my blog’s you will recall me talking about an unusual amount of water coming down from the mountains of Spain this year, well a “surge” was coming out from Lisbon and fighting against the normal flood tide (which runs along the shore and into Lisbon). UKR 8 and DEN 405 both tacked below the lay-line whilst we elected to go that bit extra before tacking….  What a disaster, we crossed from a light brown water into deep blue, and stopped dead in our tracks. It was as though we had thrown out two buckets (and me!) as we just simply stopped.  Lawrie Smith, just behind us at that stage, tried to get out of it by tacking towards the shore, but that made things worse! Meanwhile boats still outside us (to the left) continued in the brown water and sailed rings around us. One of those teams was GBR 720 the Bailey’s, who had a great race to finish 3rd behind UKR 8 and DEN 405..  So that was race one in a nutshell.

Race two with around the same wind (10 kts) from the west, flatter water and a full flood tide against. This time we made the decision to start at the committee boat and tack inshore to try to avoid the strong current. Again we chose wisely as POR 55 Jose’ Matoso did exactly the same (only better) and won the race. It was not quite that simple, as there were many little shifts that saw small place changes, but the boats on the right side of the first beat generally were the leading bunch at the first mark….So POR 55 held his lead to the end, great sailing from Jose and his “Olympians” Gustavo and Frederico. 2nd place was SWE 385 Stefan Wineburg and 3rd SUI 311 Hugo Stenbeck.

All in all it was a great day of sailing as the sun eventually came out and all crews returned to the Club Naval for another sponsored evening with Food, Drink and wonderful Irish Music…  So the two race days are over and now we come down to the serious last two races, one per day. The forecast is for 9 to 10 kts today and even less tomorrow, so if I was a gambling man, who ever top’s the leader board after today’s race, must be favourite….

Higher, Faster, Longer……….    Stavros.  (USA 310).