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Contender Worlds Gravedona Lake Como
By Rooster Sailing
When the 2013 Worlds at Gravedona on Lake Como in Italy were announced it seemed to me like a must do event. 173 others had the same idea to make it the biggest ever Contender meeting.
Added to that was the fantastic back drop of snowy mountains, ancient towns, villas, castles, free beer after racing, good food and ice cream. With crystal clear waters and thermally induced winds up to force 5 every day due to the 30 degree temperatures it was just fantastic.
First up was an 85 boat pre Worlds, in which we were introduced to the sutleties of the bends and variations in pressure around the course. Sometimes it really paid to go hard right, sometimes not, but it never really paid to play the shifts up the middle. I never really got the hang of what was going on but finished 9th and at least learnt to expect the unexpected.
After the boat measuring, rest days and a practise race the Worlds got going with the boats split over two starts, the round robin fleets rejigged each day depending on position. It was the same sparkling conditions every day. After the first three days, having got five races in, one lost due to thunderstorms over the mountains, a discard was given and the fleets split into gold and silver. I was hovering at the back end of single figures at this point, which I can't complain with.
Fellow Brit Simon Mussell was leading with four firsts, discarding only a second.
The next day, whilst still breezy, had a few more vagueries in the wind causing some erratic results. I used my default of when in doubt try hard right. It didn't always work but did drag me out of a hole in the second race to get back to 15th and up to 6th overall. A mere 10th in the same race was enough to slip Simon down to second as the next discard wouldn't come in until after the next race.
Simon needed the last day, whereas for me it would be easier to go backwards. With cloud on the hills we sat around on the water with the 4pm deadline looming. As sky cleared the wind began to come in and a start was attempted, but with the beat turning into a fetch we were all over and that was it as the course couldn't be reset before the deadline. It seemed strange sailing back in a blistering force 5 having not raced and bad luck for Simon. Good luck for Soren the Dane who had sailed really well to be able to take advantage of Simons small slip.
With a logjam on the ramp I chose to fully enjoy the conditions and spent a happy hour splashing about not wanting it to end.
So 6th it was and 1st Master, using the Rooster Contender main throughout.
If your thinking of doing an international regatta, don't hesitate as memories are made of this and definately give Lake Como a go.
Not knowing what clothing to pack for the warm weather, coldish water and potential rain in the forecast, which didn't materialise, I overpacked just in case. I found that the Rooster Supertherm longjohn with a long sleeved lycra top to keep the sun off was a good combination along with Rooster harness, boots and buoyancy aid. In sunny weather I wear sunnies and a hat when not racing but stash them away to race as I don't get on with them in all but light winds. More expensive sunnies would probably be a good idea!!