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Inaugural VX One Gold Cup at Riva Del Garda

by Tony Lewis 29 Aug 2017 19:13 BST 21-25 August 2017
Inaugural VX One Gold Cup at Riva del Garda © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

Friday dawned all too soon in Riva Del Garda for the VX One fleet who congregated in the Lido Palace, adjacent to the Fraglia Vela Riva, to survey the lake and pontificate on the wind strength. More of the same was the conclusion as the heat built and the Ora started to fill in.

Team Shelley, unassailable in first place, decided to rest on their laurels but the remainder headed out onto a busy lake in company with FDs and a menagerie of cats. The race officer decided to be kind and posted a single two-lapper in bright sunshine and a more modest 12 - 15 knots.

Off the start Tony Lewis held the starboard end and tacked first for the long port drag to the cliffs. The fleet engaged in the usual cordial exchanges with the windsurfers who infest this part of the lake (they are less inclined to chat on the downwind legs when confronted with a fleet of VXs appearing at 18kts plus...!).

At the windward mark team the wind had built and Lewis rounded first and gybed for the cliffs in the building breeze. Switzerland's Beat Steffen rounded next closely followed by Aussie Mick James, these three having a little space over the rest of the fleet. The charge at nearly 20 knots to the base of a half mile high cliff, with the need to pull off a perfect gybe just a couple of boat lengths out, is a test of nerve, particularly when scattering windsurfers but, no blood spilt, the starboard reach to the bottom mark was another wild maximum velocity ride.

At the bottom mark the order remained Lewis, Steffen, James but in the stronger breeze the Australian boat was powering fast and low and cruised into the lead from a high lay line to the windward mark. Back to the wall at high speed and the Swiss boat gybed early to take advantage of a tightening lay line as the Brits struggled to get up there. Mick James won followed closely by Beat Steffen and Tony Lewis.

So, final scores - clear winners were Jono and Ben Shelley with Clare Molloy keeping them in order, posting a perfect score (apart from the minor embarrassment of having to discard a second). Second was Mick James crewed by Hayden Bennet and Crete Clifford. Third was Neal Piper with Nathan Batchelor and Phil Murray.

Back ashore and time to reflect on a week of fabulous high speed sailboat racing in hot sunshine and stunning surroundings - it really doesn't get any better than this! Finally, Fraglia Vela Riva put on a very cultured prize-giving, Jono made a gracious speech and the Club laid on a delicious buffet with an excellent local chilled sparkling wine to cap off a flawless organisation on their part.

The full gallery of Tim Olin photos can be found here.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm / Crew / ClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1GBR 149Shelley Jono / Shelley Ben / Molloy Clare / Ullswater yacht club1111121(dnc)8
2AUS 241James Michael / Clifford Crete / Bennett Hayden / Royal Queensland Yacht Squadro2232‑412113
3GBR 191Piper Neal / Batchelor Nathan / Murray Phil / Tynemouth Sailing Club4443343‑525
4SUI 209Steffen Beat / Eckert Piet / SCH366(dnf)235227
5GBR 189Clarke David / Clarke Edmund / Ullswater Yacht Club‑7724554431
6GBR 203Lewis Tony / Cutting Andrew / Lewis Rhys / Ullswater Yacht Club535‑7666334
7USA 226Bennet Brian / Bennet Howell6576‑887645
8GBR 193Chandler David / Kincaid Sarah / Watson Richard / Ullswater Yatch Club8‑985778750
9BEL 225Vandenberghe Frederic / Vandenberghe Tanguy / Francois Van Damme / Base Nautique Sciez‑9898999860

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