British boat clean sweep
Just as the Rolex Middle Sea Race guns sounded in Malta on Saturday October 23rd 2010 for the biggest annual offshore race in the Med, further north off the beautiful Italian Tuscan coast at Rosignano Solvay the postponement flag was unfurled at the Etchells Italian Nationals. The sunshine and the cool blue colour of the Med made up for the light winds, and eventually the AP came down and the Championship started under the experienced eye of Marco Cimarosti.
Race 1 - The winds were light with most boats sailing with crew down to leeward. Eamonn O’Nolan’s Holly Scott (GBR) took 1st place, with Indigo 2nd and Clarabella 3rd.
Race 2 - The boats were more bunched on this startline; Hex (GBR) and Vlag were called OCS and went back. Tom Alexander’s Johnny Bravo (GBR) split off from the fleet early which paid seeing them round the top mark way ahead but their massive lead was not to last, James Howell’s HEX which, despite being OCS, fought its way back up to 2nd snapping at Bravo’s heels and finishing second in an exciting duel. Indigo kept its form and came in 3rd.
Race 3 - Major wind shifts meant the line had to be re-laid. The race got under way with half the fleet at the pin and half at the committee boat. A few minutes in and a massive righty came down the track; in the right hand pack Holly Scott and Hex pulled away to lead the fleet round the windward mark (a sight which was to become very familiar over the weekend). The downwind leg was a reach, so at the leeward mark the committee signalled they had laid a new windward mark. On the second upwind beat, Johnny Bravo gambled and found some pressure on the edge of a cloud which jumped the boat two places into 4th. As they came into the finish line they took a risk, attempting to make up one place, but the gamble failed- and she ended 5th with Clarabella 3rd.
Otto Cimarosti lost his halyard and broke his tiller during the first day’s racing, but still managed to keep some boats behind him.
On Saturday night, the crews were treated to some delicious Italian cuisine at the local rowing club. An assortment of pastas, fish and traditional Tuscan recipes washed down with some local wine was the perfect way to recharge for the next day’s racing.
Overnight, the overall positions were; Holly Scott 1st on 7 points, Hex 2nd on 8 points, Indigo in 3rd on 9 points and Johnny Bravo 4th on 11 points.
Race 4 - Sunday morning saw more breeze hit the marina. Holly Scott and Hex found their consistency of 1st and 2nd after a gybing duel on the last downwind leg . Vlag came in 3rd, holding off the challenge of 4th place Johnny Bravo well.
Race 5 - In Sunday’s second race Holly Scott and Hex pulled away yet again on the first beat, with Johnny Bravo coming round the top mark 3rd. Those positions were maintained to the finish.
Race 6 - Holly Scott and Hex waved goodbye to the fleet early on and although Johnny Bravo got close to Hex on the 2nd beat they stayed too long in Holly Scott’s dirt and dropped back from the leaders. Bravo had a broken halyard after the 2nd leeward mark rounding, allowing Otto Cimarosti’s The Chill to catch up. The Chill then gambled and separated from the fleet which paid when she deservedly pipped Johnny Bravo for 3rd place.
Overall it was a clean sweep for the Cowes fleet; 1st Holly Scott (Eamonn O’Nolan), 2nd Hex (James Howells), 3rd Johnny Bravo (Tom Alexander). Indigo came first in the Italian fleet, an impressive improvement on last year’s result.
Special thanks to Marco and Otto Cimarosti who helped organise the event, and they brought 4 boats over from Genoa which helped make the fleet up to a healthy 10 boats. The hospitality shown by them, the yacht club and Slam was second to none and the GBR boats are all looking forward to the European Championships this weekend where they will also be joined by Bedrock.