Starting at 08.30 on a Sunday morning was never in any International Dragon Handbook that I ever read, but on Lake Geneva anything is possible…..  And so it was that the 20 boats taking part in the Swiss Tune-Up regatta for the Alpen Cup made their way out across this huge lake, as most of you back home were thinking about eating breakfast and watching the news……….

The expected early wind was blowing from the North so although there were a few stragglers the race started on time at .8.30am ! NED 373 Boris Bayer set the early pace and had a comfortable lead by the first mark. However, by 9.00 the Northerly wind was already beginning to die away, so when Boris rounded the leeward mark he and the next 4 boats were reluctant to tack. NED 372 Wolly, helmed by Wouter Ten Wolde, rounded 6th and tacked immediately and was soon gaining big time on the left hand-side of the course. In fact his gain took him to within 20m of the windward mark for the 2nd time, which could have seen a shorten course finish, as the race officer did on day one. But, alas for Wouter the dreaded 3 guns echoed across the lake as the decision was made to abandoned the race…  for the leading boats who had kept going and concentrated for nearly 75 mins, this was a real pity……..

However, the show must go on and after a 90mins wait, the thermal wind took command changing direction by 180 degree’s so the race was started in a southerly wind… NED 372 crossed the fleet from the favoured pin end, but it was David Veit SUI 301 who eventually took the lead on the 2nd beat to hold off the chasing pack and take the winning gun. David then had another excellent start in the 2nd race of the day, and never looked back to secure back to back victories…  Well done to him and his team.

Now this certainly got the attention of the overall leaders as they went into the final race of the 5 race series, these were Schmid on 7pts, Bayer 9pts and Lofterod 13pts, who was now able to discard his DNF from race one and be right in the mix……..  Indeed it was SUI 291 Odd Lofterod who really took up the challenge and won this last race sailed in really light winds. Schmid sailed another clean and tactical race to finish 3rd whilst Bayer had to settle for a 7th.  Whilst the committee back in the Club Nautique Morgien got out their calculators to check the final scores it was SUI 289 Dieter Schmid and his crew Juerg Sieber and Christian Frey who took the trophy and are the ones to beat as 27 more boats join the fleet on Wednesday..  Also starting as a favourite will be Odd Lofterod, crewed by Urs Blum and Andy Eggimann, who finished strongly in 2nd place overall after his final race win and of course NED 373 Boris Bayer sailing his Doomernik Dragon, crewed by Joop Doomernik and Michael Klein who actually just need a little more luck over the weekend as his race leading positions basically evaporated in dying breeze’s…

Higher, Faster, Longer……….  Stavros. NED 372.