Tommy Muller, Vincent Hoesch and Michi Lip won the Grade 1 Juan Carlos Trophy in style after two typical Cascais races, 22-25 kts from the Northwest, sunshine and waves..  Although he only beat the RUS 27 “complete team” by 2pts. I asked Tommy what gave him the advantage this weekend, he said ” Stavros, can I call you Stavros ?  I am thinking that I believe you have to train in Cascais” as his Bavarian Dream Team have done all winter. “Then our down wind speed was one of the deciding factors, in the long rolling Atlantic waves.”  You cannot practice wave sailing unless you sail in conditions similar to these waters that roll in all the way from America over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Dragon’s need big, long waves and lots of wind to enable the 1.7 tons all up weight to surf. The skill of the helm is to “catch” a wave by steering slightly high, this accelerates the boat, (just like a surfer paddling his board to get the speed), then with a single pump of the sails the boat will take off down the wave. Now the skill of the helm is to sail as low as possible, sometimes this is extreme, and many times the spinnaker trimmer may encounter more than a mouthful of salt water! But what a thrill it is for all aboard and what a gain you can make on the fleet……….  Tommy continued to say, “It’s such fun to race here in Portugal against such stiff competition who have all benefited from numerous winter training regatta’s here in Cascais”…. “I want to thank my fantastic crew for their help”……….  Okay, and well done GER 10.

So Tommy won with RUS 27 Anaotoly Loginov 2nd and POR 50 3rd.. Pedro Mendes Leal did very well to hold onto his podium place in these big sea’s. But the day belonged to our very modest President POR 55 Jose Matoso’ who won both races…. The trick seemed to be, to start in clear air which enabled you to continue on starboard until a “Lane” appeared. Then tack onto port and try to get into the shore and the flatter water….. Oh, and you also have to hike like hell 🙂 Jose did this twice and was clear ahead in both races at the first mark.  Well done to him and his team, Bernardo Santos and Stefan Hellriegel. A fantastic day!

So there we have it folks, another great regatta over and a winter series completed in Cascais. Needless to say, Vincie Hoesch took the overall winter series title, then came the Murka boats, helmed by Mikhail Muratov in 2nd place and his wife Olga White in 3rd. Their continued training is rewarded time and time again with podium finishes, and those “Yellow Cat Spinnakers” are regularly seen at the front of the fleet all over the world……Great sailing !

Next up, we move our boats down the road to Vilamoura for the mid April regatta, before the long haul up to “Louis” Douarnenez for one of the premier events on the Dragon calendar..  It’s a tough life !!

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