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Buzz Europeans at UV Maccagno, Lake Maggiore, Italy

by Roger Eyre 13 Aug 2008 11:22 BST 2-5 August 2008

The Buzz fleet gathered under the welcome shade of the trees in Maccagno for the first day of racing. For those camping in the adjacent Lido site, it was just a short stroll along the lakeside to reach the boat park and only 50m from the perfectly appointed UVM sailing club – where local organiser and previous European Champion (La Rochelle 2006) Paolo Monciardini and his new wife Debora prepared their boat.

Franko – the charismatic sailing club President introduced the race officials and explained that racing would be held North of Maccagno, in Cannobio bay on the west side where the wind would be stronger.

Race 1 started in a moderate breeze promising near ideal conditions. The fleet of Italian & Swiss Fireballs went first, followed by the ISO fleet, then the Buzz. A significant port bias saw Paolo & Debra (452) and Andy & Jonathan (7) take advantage of the pin end and head close in to the shore looking for lifts. Candice & Bryan (590) broke right with Mark & Jane (1027) while the rest of the fleet went up the middle of the course for clear air and water. The four leading boats met at the windward mark with 452 in the lead. Sailing the angles down the downwind legs gave 452 a first win over 590 who beat 1027 who chose to soak and came in a good third place, closely followed by the rest of the fleet.

The wind eased for Race 2 with the port end still favoured 452, 7 , 1027 and 590, with 987 leading another group straight up the middle. Closely pursued by 1027 and 7, 987 managed to round the windward mark first and soaked down the course to gain a clear advantage over the rest of the fleet. The boats that sailed angles struggled to get boat speed in the light breeze leaving 987 to bag a first with fellow soakers 1027 and 7 following close behind for second and third place.

Race 3 started in lighter winds still with most of the fleet frustrated by the conditions but 987 applied the same tactics and led the fleet at the first leeward mark, holding it upwind to a shortened finish at the windward mark. 590 held second and 452 finished third after a hard fought tussle!

Day 2 started with moderate winds witht he race officer took the fleet back up to Connobio to find the best winds. The continued port end bias was well spotted by 452 for Race 4 allowing them to shoot off the end and in towards the shore where the lifts were favourable . 452 proved unstoppable in the fresh winds – ideal conditions for powering up the boats and sailing angles downwind.

Race 5 saw simillar conditions with the race officer deciding to change the starting order – setting the Buzz fleet off before the ISOs which caught out Mike & Josh in 585 and Andy and Tess in 7. With others late to get to the line it was left clear for those watching the flags to make a good start. 590 shot off the pin end with a perfect start holding the left hand side of the course and sailing the angles downwind they held their position throughout the race with 452 in close second. The winds lightened for the final downwind leg and 1027, who had soaked down the course, edged in front at the final leeward mark and with only inches between the two boats the final leg to the finish was an exciting tight reach which 1027 held to put 590 into second place and 452 into third.

Race 6 saw ever lightening winds allowing the soakers to gain full advantage. 1027 were looking unstoppable with 987 in close second and after a tacking battle to get to the shortened course finish at the windward mark, 452 just held 590 off to get a good third place to end the day and head home for a well deserved swim in the cool lake water followed very closely by a cold beer! Day 3 dawned with little wind and having watched the water for a couple of hours the race officer had no option but to abandon for the day. The time was well spent with plenty of boat park chat leading to measuring, adjusting and sharing top tips between pro/am crews. Whilst some swam to keep cool, others took advantage of the opportunity to sunbathe and even out the tan for the bits that are normally hidden under shorts and vest tops!

The evening was party night – an organised meal at Lorenzo’s lakeside restaurant for the ISO and Buzz fleet. Before the meal, UVM the sailing club hosted aperitif and nibbles in the garden where gifts of Championship t-shirts and Italian salami sauasage were handed out. The meal at Lorenzos was typically italian – washed down with copious amounts of grappa and schnapps for those who were brave enough! With talk of 25kt wind and an 8am start in the morning, those in cup winning contention declined and made a sensible exit to an early bed!

Day 4 started, as promised, very early with the first start scheduled for 8am. Paula arrived at the boat park with a fabulous tray of chocolate croissants – all designed to slow the winners of course – but eagerly devoured never-the-less.

The conditions were fantastic – a fresh wind blowing from the north which made a welcome change to the lighter afternoon winds that blow from the south. Those that had not enjoyed the light winds were now in their element – blasting downwind and gybing at full speed. Not surprisingly the positions changed and after an abandonment because the windward mark went walkabout, Andy and Jonathan stormed into the lead on the windward leg of Race 7. 590 also had a good race, battling hard with 585 who had come into their own in the strong conditions, for second. Unfortunately 452 lost their crew over the side (!) forcing them to retire leaving Alessandro & Riccardo in 812 and Sebastien & Anita in 1110 ( who were pleased to stay upright and finish the race!) in a good position in such challenging conditions. Unfortunately Maurizio and Amanda in 813 broke their tiller in a capsize, forcing them to retire to the beach for repairs before the next race.

Race 8 started in faltering winds with the whole fleet arriving at the windward mark at the same time! It looked like being a very close race and disappointed was shared by all when Franko (El Presidente) had to come alongside and stop the race due to the wind rapidly dying. With only just enough wind to get back to the beach, the fleet returned for an early lunch and a short wait until the wind turned around and we were able to go back up to Connobia for the afternoon breeze. Race 8 was re-started shortly after 1pm in light winds which saw a tussle at the starboard end of the line with 987 coming out on top whilst 1027 and 1110 were left to do their turns. With 987 leading to the windward mark, it looked as though the race could be theirs but they sailed into a hole after the leeward mark, letting 452 and 590 back into contention. The winds freshened again on the downwind leg giving the boats sailing the angles an advantage. In an effort to gain boat speed 987 sailed too high allowing 1027, soaking low, to creep through to hold another first place. 452 and 590, with better boat speed on the far right of the course also gybed ahead, leaving 987 in a disappointing fourth place.

With the winds freshening again, Race 9, the last race of the Championship, started with all still to play for. Sebastien and Anita in 1110 took a flyer out to the right of the course with the rest of the fleet following 452 out to the left. 585 suffered a broken kicker and were forced to retire from the racing. At the windward mark it was clear that 1110 had made a good decision – rounding in 3rd position behind 1027 and 452. 1027 soaked low again – sticking to the downwind tactics they perfected over the Championship whilst the rest of the fleet sailed the angles with mixed results. 987 gybed into the middle of the lake followed by 812 in hot pursuit passing just in front of 1110 at the final gybe mark. Nobody could stop 1027 and the race finished in final Championship positions with 1027 first, 452 second and 590 in third.

Prizegiving was held in the gardens at UVM with plenty of thank yous and champagne flowing followed by a fantastic Itlalian lasagne. The winners were presented with the most impressive trophies we’ve seen for some time – definitelt something to show the grandchildren!! UVM sailing club did a fantastic job in organising the event and were the perfect hosts. We’ll definitely be back for another ‘Italian Job’ in the future.

Overall Results:

1 GBR 1027, Fritzz, Jane Noble & Mark Wilson (Langstone SC) 3 2 4 2 1 1 4 1 1 11pts
2 ITA 452, Paolo Monciardini & Debora Cuccato (UVM) 1 4 3 1 3 3 DNC 2 2 15pts
3 GBR 590, Pole Dancer, Candice Clark & Bryon Tovey (Roadford SC) 2 5 2 3 2 4 2 3 3 17pts
4 GBR 987, Fast and Loose, Roger Eyre & Penny Eyre (Roadford SC) 5 1 1 4 4 2 5 4 4 20pts
5 GBR 7, Andy Holmes & Jon/Tess (Chew Valley SC) 4 3 5 5 5 5 1 6 5 28pts
6 GBR 585, Buzz Banditzz, Mike Preater & Josh Preater (Chew Valley SC) 6 6 7 6 7 7 3 5 DNC 40pts
7 ITA 812, Alessandro Gasparini & Riccardo Bertocco 7 7 6 7 6 6 6 7 6 44pts
8 ITA 1110, Sebastien Barbedienne & Anita Franchi (GDV) 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 8 7 54pts
9 ITA 813, Maurizio Bigolin & Amanda Maranta (LNI) 9 9 9 9 DNS DNS DNC DNC DNC 66pts

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