With a start line of 1km, yes 1 kilometre, it is always going to be difficult to start a fleet of nearly 80 boats. Add to the equation that it’s only a “practice” race, an oscillating wind of between 290 to 280 degrees and you have a Race Officers nightmare 🙂
However, our very experienced IOR Christian Lerche, took the opportunity of setting up the required 2.4 mile first beat and tried a number of starts under a “P” flag, “U” flag then eventually the “Black” flag. In the end he decided to let the fleet continue up the course despite “half” of the boats seen over the line. This at least gave the competitors a chance to get used to the sea conditions and prepare themselves for the “real” challenge that begins today.
At the end of the first beat it was our current European Champion RUS 27 “Annapurna” helmed by Anatoly Loginov, crewed by Vadim Statsenko & Alexander Shalagin who rounded first. Many of the other usual suspects were in hot pursuit including last years Gold Cup winner, Lawrie Smith, who is not going to relinquish this wonder trophy without a fight 🙂
Here we see RUS27 Anatoly & team leading the first downwind leg, with Lawrie GBR 801 close behind.
In the end the wind died away and the teams made their way back to the Marina to enjoy the Champagne & joyful “Opening Ceremony” knowing that they are all ready to begin the main challenge over the next 6 days.
My thanks again to top Professional “Ricardo Pinto” for these excellent on the water photo’s….. Many more reports and action to come.
Higher, Faster, Longer…….. Stavros.