They say that the wind comes in like clockwork, and for the Garda virgins amongst us, it seamed incredible that we were going to start on time. There was no wind to speak of whilst the weather felt like being in a sauna. Pretty much as scheduled start time the boats that had already drifted out to the start are were now wiring. The Italian's had opted to use only the old Laser 4000 sails for this championship, but as a foreigner, were were not eligible to use our new mainsail.
The two French boats that were also competing opted for their original Laser 4000 mainsails, so we had a test.
The First race started in perhaps 8 knots with gusts of 10 knots. The wind was firming up in the Ore direction where the right hand rock has some influence, but there were still options to take the pressure in the middle of the course. In these conditions we were using lots of mainsheet tension and hiking pretty hard. The extra leach tension we achieved through the mainsheet gave us the edge over the rest of the fleet who were still thinking gnav tension was the solution. We slowly pulled away from the rest of the fleet to take our first convincing win.
Race 2 and 3 the wind steadied and we began to get the feeling that the right side of the course was a reasonable bet. We again went to win the starboard end of the line which became our race plan for the rest of the day. it pretty much paid off as we came away with three bullets.
On the way in, we were requested to do some speed work with a couple of Italian boats. The main message was pull the mainsheet in harder, hike harder, and if the traveller was too long to pull the sheet hard, then shorten it. Amriogio Baccaria who seamed to benefit most from the advice.
Day two the Pella looked reasonably light and the moutons had perhaps a little less cloud on them. Perhaps a good day for the Ore to come in a little stronger.
The race was started in not yet stable wind conditions. After a lap we and Anna Ferrari has broken away from the rest of the fleet. The wind at the leeward mark had gone completely leaving the rest of the fleet becalmed. The RO rightly canned the race. I was pretty happy about it, despite leading easily, since I would not have liked to have been becalmed myself.
Race 4 restart was pretty much a repeat of the first race, but now the Ore was more consistent and had moved the wind more to the correct position, making the upwind leg a procession. Anna had passed us on the first reach to the spacer mark in our eagerness to get the kite up. Luckily we did not capsize, so we dutifully followed in second for the rest of the race. Anna was too fast....
The wind had started to get somewhere near windy. Perhaps starting in 15 knots we made no mistake on the start and took the first mark from Michael Duflos. We then extended as we started to enjoy the upwind legs. With the jib foot over the edge of the gunwhale, Sarah completely stretched out in mid rack to get the bow up, the 4000 got into its upwind planing gear. It is soooo nice. The helm goes light. I was hiking from my knees most of the time but it was such fun.
The right hand corner had a small bend in the wind and perhaps as much as 5 knots more velocity than the left - so RH corner here we come! This win was by the most of the racing so far and was pretty encouraging for us as we have not yet experienced wind like this before. It was like a puppy downwind, crew back on the rack and helm relaxing comfortably near the rudder. Our only problems was the large number of kite surfers in the course area. I am never sure what to do with them and what they are about to do.
Our large lead into the top mark with one lap to go.
Taking the gun.
This was what 4000's are designed for. Point and shoot sailing.
Race 6 should have been a repeat, but despite eyeballing the windward mark and the spacer to ensure it was the windward mark. I hoisted the kite, unusual and all the other crews hoist (I have always hoisted in the 4K) then I tried to find the spacer. It was not there. I think that an orange kite surfer was in the water - and had just flown away!! There was another italian boat next to us who also experienced the same indignation at dropped the kite and turning back upwind to follow the rest of the fleet round the top mark.
The race was on to make this last place a counter. It was lots of fun. We made up some 600m on the leaders to finish 4th - with almost an overlap on 3rd at the leeward mark.
Last day we woke to a strong Pelér. The local 420 team were out at 08:00 training. I think they knew that the wind would not be strong from the Ore direction that afternoon. They were right.
We got two races in crouched trapezing conditions.
We lead at the top mark from Amriogio Baccaria, but we heated it up too much and he passed us downwind taking the low slow route. Good lesson. Unfortunately for him, he was OCS so we still took the win.
The Ore was dying again and going left. The fleet spit some going left and some right. We covered the middle and finally joined the left to round in 3rd. We quickly took them on the next beat concentrating on balance, not over sheeting the leach and keeping the boat very flat.
We finally passed Amriogio Baccaria on a little right shift on the beat to take the win.
Race 9 was not going to start before the last start time - so we headed in.
The big celebration was for the Italians - it was there championship. We did take the 1st Foreign crew prize - we had won by over 10 points with one 6 first to count, a 2nd and 4th as discard.
A great warm up for the Europeans.