The second day of the 4th Winter Series saw the return of the strong South Westerly wind, which once again conjured up huge waves which made upwind sailing a struggle, but downwind surfing enjoyable…. In fact it was impossible not to “catch” wave after wave as once the spinnaker’s were set in this 25kt wind the Dragons were simply flying down the face of the waves with all crews screaming with delight! (Well I think they were screams of delight…..  maybe the two boats that lost crew overboard were cries of despair, but they were both quickly recovered, feeling no worse for wear in this warm Atlantic Sea).

Of the fleet of 20 boats it was GER 1080 helmed by Marcus Brennecke, crewed by Vincent Hoesch and Miky Lip who won the day with two convincing 1st places. Following behind was yours truly GBR 8 crewed by Pieter Liebner and Alar Volmer, who had to settle for a 3rd and 2nd place. We had some exhilarating downwind sailing and some “interesting” gybe’s…  But Marcus had the edge on us upwind and so thoroughly deserves to be leading overall on 3pts with us on 5pts. In second place in the first race was POR 46 helmed by local Francisco Melo who had a great race showing that his team are now getting to grips with their new Petticrow boat. They fought hard all the way with Brennecke and Payne, and held the lead early on in the race as they won the committee boat end of the line and tacked immediately. This enabled them to reach the right-hand side of the race course which seem to pay, as a long starboard tack out to sea put the left-handside of the fleet into more current, which slowed their progress. In the second race it was RUS 96 Mikhail Muratov who took 3rd place after sailing well with his “All in Green” team, they hike hard and are always in the mix when the wind is strong…….

The main “boat speed” issue in strong winds is runner tension. As soon as the Dragon starts to become “Over Powered” the runner needs to be pulled on, harder and harder. Rumour has it you can see the veins popping on Vincent Hoesch’s forehead as he pulls the runners down thus keeping the forestay tight and the whole rig rigid. More runner also opens the leeches of the sails, thus helping the steering….

And so with the last day of racing today, hopefully 3 races, all 20 competing teams should have a great day on the water. The wind is forecast to drop and the sun will shine, either way it will be another successful conclusion to another great winter regatta in this ever popular “Jewel” in Portugal, Cascais!

Higher, Faster, Longer…………..    Stavros.