As expected Vincent Hoesch sailing GER 10 finished the penultimate race yesterday in Torbole’ with a 7th place which gave him and his team of Peter Liebner and Thomas Mayer overall victory in the Hans Detmar Wagner Cup… The International Race Officer, Paroli Carmelo, orchastrated with excellent timing the last two races which completed a seven race series.. With Vincie only needing one top ten finish, out of the last two races, he was then able to pull out of the final race to ensure he was first to the crane, and the bar!!  This left the other 39 boats competing for the rest of the prizes as the wind again filled in early from the south, at this stunning Italian mountain arena.

Race 1 was started on time at 12.30 and despite a very shifty wind RUS 90 Igor Goikhberg made the first jump on the fleet after winning the pin end of the line and heading for the shore. Igor’s tactician Demitry Berezkin then called the crucial tack that enabled them to cross the fleet on port and never look back as they were then able to tack on each shift as they wished. The remainder of the fleet had to chose their tacks wisely as a packed Lake Garda full of “hot headed” competitive dragon sailors refuse to give an inch as the fight to gain just half a boat length would make all the difference come the top mark, as boats try to round in a good position….  And so the Black Spinnaker of RUS 90 was first to be hoisted whilst the rest fought hard to keep clear air… Igor held on to win comfortably. Well done..

In race 2 the wind had increased to around 12-15 kts and this time the right hand side was to pay handsomely… It was very pleasing for me as an British sailor to see GBR 690 David Adkinson, who has just completed his first year of Dragon racing, lead at the first mark. David said afterwards ” This was my first time to lead an International Race and my crew of John Outhwaite and Ian Turnbull made some excellent tactical calls after the start”. They held on strongly and were only passed by the experienced RUS 27 team on the second beat. But Dave and his team were still thrilled to finish in 2nd place behind Anatoly Loginov who was battling hard to take 2nd place overall in the series……..

In 3rd place overall was GER 1093 helmed by former World Champion Malte Philip, who took a break from his coaching to steer Torsten Imbeck and Ulrich Matthiesen expertly around the Lake over the three days….   However……  Things are not always as they seem and after a PROTEST lodged by two unhappy fellow helm’s, (who I will not name), Anatoly had to give up his runners up spot due to a technicality..  On day one of racing Anatoly’s flight was delayed in Nice and he was unable to get to Torbole’ in time. So his crew stood in to make the races.. Anatoloy was then able to rejoin his team and sail the remaining 5 races over the next two days..  After being told this would be okay, the decision was reversed and so GER 1093 became 2nd and the ever improving HUN 57 Ferenic Kis-Szolgyemi and his team promoted up to the 3rd podium position…   I will just point out that it was NOT either of these two boats that lodged the protest and I for one was disappointed to see it happen. Anatoloy and his team are one of the most fairest and excellent racer’s out there.

I honestly thought Dragon Sailors were made of stronger stuff and not crying if they lose. Lets see a team win on the water I say, and not in the protest room………. We are trying to get more boats to every regatta to enhance the fleets and keep the Dragon’s alive, so lets not penalise a hard working owner just because he arrives a day late, but still sends his crew and boat on ahead to make up the numbers rather than pull out altogether….  Come on you moaners..  Think of the class not your overall finishing positions…………    🙁

But, not wishing to finish on a angry note, indeed it was a tremendously successful regatta, where I along with all the organising committee would hope to see 50 boats next year! It’s an awesome venue run by a great team of helpers and volunteers, Torbole’ is a place to be.. So make a booking into your diary NOW to come join in the fun on this amazing Lake in 2012. One point I must add is that in the notice of race it should be made clear as to the number of sailing/racing days…  It is impossible for International competitors to plan flights, hotels and travel logistics not knowing if the event finishes on Saturday or Sunday..  Not everyone lives just up the road Vincie !!

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

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