Sunday, July 1, 2018
Magic Marine Nation’s Cup 2018
The National Solo fleet has converged at the mecca of sailing, Riva del Garda, and comments from those who have never experienced this miracle of nature’s natural corrosion are suitably impressed, despite the 1000 mile trip. 52 entries including 36 from the UK would contest what was our World Championship until a change in International rules in 1999 decreed we needed at least 5 national associations and we only had 3.
The Nation’s Cup was therefore created and the actual trophy was generously donated by two of our most trusted measurers, Jim Gates and Ron Green. The class has never been stronger, thanks to the endeavour of our builders and the strict control our measurers maintained over them!
Fraglia del Riva nestles at the very north of the lake and with the morning “Pela" breeze giving way to the stronger “Ora”, generated by the building heat of the 1000 feet high rock formations, the clubs generous flags flick from north to south with military precision at 12.30pm daily. The dinghy park, surrounded by beautiful orange brick buildings, hugs the lake, clusters of trees providing welcome relief for the white flesh of the sailors as they contemplate the days racing.
Launching into the Ora is not so bad, only one amply wide wooden platform but gentle in descent, until you reach the end then it’s 200 feet down. Re-entry is not so easy, generally the breeze will be force 5 and dead from behind so a late sail drop/rudder lift and a short prayer will be required. Some choose laser-esque type blast and spin into the very eye of the wind but boards and rudders can collect some rather speed sapping gouges this way.
Steve Watson is earning some brownie points to gain his International Jury badge and as he is sitting on the committee boat, is most able to provide some incite to what happens on the water.
Vice President Doug Latta is competing but is also providing some competitor views of the racing. Unfortunately, my main source of gossip and photography, Chris Brown from CB Trailers, was man down on arrival with gall stones and will be in hospital for the duration of the regatta. All this after towing 6 Solos to the venue and to add salt to the wound, the cruiserweight is missing out on classic Lake Garda conditions. Get better soon mate.
There were huge smiles from the sailors after the practice day, saying in 30 degrees and force 4-5 with some beautiful wave patterns, where else in the universe can you find such, well anywhere in the UK this last week! Irony is a killer.
The Ora is up and with the sun’s UV rays doing there best to weaken the laminating properties of the sails, the fleet were keen to start. The PRO, who’s name I have still to determine, set a very port biased line and though there seemed to be a few slightly early, it was proclaimed all clear. National Champion and clear favourite Charlie Cumbley claimed the pin and as others tacked off was able to head for the cliffs, Doug was next to him, probably as close as he would ever be. Cumbley was lifted into the cliffs and tacked on the inevitable header, powering into the top mark with Oliver Davenport in close pursuit. Olli has not had the best of seasons but is clearly in his element when the breeze is on. The course is a straight up and down windward/leeward and the fleet have a jolly old time as the sun continues to beat down on the bright white decks. Cumbley and Davenport extended on the fleet, while legs, still aching from the drive to the venue were now burning from the sustained hike mode ( I am sure Doug’s were not the only one’s). The breeze had freshened and Cumbley took the win after 58 minutes of full on dinghy racing with Davenport and Law taking the other podium positions.
To the relief of some of the lighter and/or less honed, the wind had softened and the start line was slightly squarer though it took two goes to get away. Andy Tunnicliffe, Tim Law led at the windward mark with 5813, the newest Solo here and owned by Innes Armstrong in third. The top two remained the same at the leeward mark but Cumbley had moved menacingly into third and at the gun took the win in comfortable style from Law and Tunnicliffe. Further down the fleet Claar van der Does (NED), our only female competitor was having a great time and finished 29th. The strength of the class personified in her enthusiasm.
A starboard bias resulted in some bunching at the committee boat which will have pleased Steve as he had a good view. From my experience of sitting on the deck of that boat in 2014 I can only hope he hung on as the chop does knock it about! Steve explained to me that his Italian was more akin to that of Micheal Caine which limited his conversation with the all Italian race team.
With the other fleets of Melges 24’s, 18 foot skiffs and possibly a few foilers, the PRO set a triangle sausage with a 1.5 mile beat, showers and carb building must have been fighting for priority in the sailors minds. Steve commented that the sausage would go down well before they get to the pasta.
Wind at 20 knots and another clean start, just. To be honest, from my experience of Italian race teams, I wonder if the allure of Prosecco plays a large part in the start line policing. Any who, at the top mark it is Cumbley from Peerke Kortekaas (NED) and Tunnicliffe. The 1.5 mile beat results in a very deep wing mark so not exactly full on planing angles but if you have the stamina then play every wave. Cumbley extends and is 20 lengths clear at the leeward mark, going on to stamp his authority on this Nation’s Cup. I wonder if Andy Davis, Andy Couch or Mike Sims would have been close if they had been here? Flying dutchman Kortekaas finished a great 2nd and I heard his shout of exaltation from here on the IOW while Davenport Jnr took third to leave him second overall overnight. Behind him the fleet are hanging on in the large swell that has developed. Doug reports that one lucky sailor capsized near the cliff face and was only able to right his stead in the mouth of a cave while another rescued a nearby Laser sailor from drowning. Names yet to be discovered.
So, overnight it looks like this;
1st Charles Cumbley
2nd Oliver Davenport
3rd Tim Law
4th Peerke Kortekaas
5th Andy Tunnicliffe
6th Micheal Hicks
7th Gilles De Coombe
8th Vincento Horey
9th Gareth Henshall
10th Mark Lee
Pretty sure Fragile del Riva yacht club have yet to discover sailwave and internet so this will have to do for now.
Word is that day 2 racing is currently postponed as the Ora has kicked in early. Many boats in the dinghy park remain covered, let’s hope that the winds drop slightly and most importantly, the sailors have taken the bungs out of their buoyancy tanks.
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