It was a most beautiful day for sailing as the 92 dragons took to the deep blue waters off the shores of San Remo for their “Practice” Race yesterday with a 12kt wind blowing from around 200 degrees and a cloudless sky. The first two attempted starts were recalled as the committee boat end was too favoured which caused many to start early. This can be seen from the posted video, which in fact was one of the recalled starts and not the actual start….. !

On the 3rd attempt the International Race Officer Dodi Villani, moved the Pin Boat up to make the line square, which allowed the fleet to get away with just a handful of early starters… In fact the wind favoured the Pin end and the boats further out to sea took full advantage of the extra pressure and better angle to progress towards the 2 mile upwind course.

The Practice Race is not only a trial day for the competitors but also the committee and it was a great help to have Thomas Wilton (Class Secretary) on board the committee boat counting down the time over the VHF Radio. With a 90+ boat fleet the start line has to be quite long so it is difficult to hear the sound signals, also with so many boats it’s virtually impossible to see the flags from the other end of the line. This communication to the competitors made life much easier and also assisted with various course changes during the race.

The Practice race can also turn into a “Clown’s Day Out” as competitors tend not to take it too serious and throw caution to the wind, either by starting early, joining in late, missing out marks or generally being a little annoying to the competitors who are sailing by the rules. So this year not only were the finishing results designated as the craning out order, but the Casino of San Remo put up some very special prizes. In the end it was UAE 8 “Bunker Boys” helmed by Yevgen Brazlavets who took the victory and the 3,000e in Casino Chips.  In 2nd place was GBR 785 “Alfie” helmed by Lawrie Smith who won 2,000e chips and 3rd was “Pow Wow” GER 1123 helmed by Michael Zankel who won 1,000e chips.  (I was informed after the prize giving at the Casino that Michael’s chips would be paying for a new “Hand Bag”) !!!   Happy Days….. 🙂

The main event begins today with one race starting at 10.30. The forecast is for light winds so competitors may have to be patient and wait a while for a breeze to fill in. However, with 7 races planned over 5 days there should be no problem to complete the full series and find out who will be the International Dragon European Champion for 2014……

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