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18ft Skiff European Grand Prix round 2 at Vela Club Campione del Garda

by Tom Hill 21 Jun 09:49 BST 16-17 June 2018
18ft Skiff European Grand Prix round 2 on Lake Garda © Renato Bolis

Last weekend was Round 2 of the European Grand Prix for 2018, contested at Campione, Lake Garda. The sailing club is a short drive down the west side of the lake and the extra distance means not quite as much wind as the north end, but that doesn't mean any less exciting racing. This event comes a couple of weeks before the Mark Foy is contested in the North end of the lake from Arco Sailing Club. Three British boats made the trip out and had a day of prep and training before racing started.

Day 1

The first day of racing was a good day for the British boats. The Time Genie had a breakage during rigging so were one of the only No2 rig boats. One of the other small rig boats for the day were the new owners of ChameleonI, who have just upgraded in their first season. This event was their first racing in their new ship.

The conditions were borderline for a rig call and it turned out to be good No2 weather at the bottom of the course and perfect No1 at the top of the course. This made for some elastic band racing, where the leads changed all day long as the wind varied across the course. The racing was a good test of boat handling as teams duelled under the immense cliffs causing some tight crosses and some unfortunate crash tacks ending in swims.

The Time Genie walked away with two first places and a third. Rutland managed consistent 5ths throughout the day and ChameleonI did well to stay in the pack for their first day's racing in Garda.

Day 2

The British boats were more dialled in and had their noses at the front of the fleet for the second day at Campione. A few boats dropped down to their small rig given their experience on the race course from the first day.

The first race started in light conditions and the big rigs dominated. Rutland managed to hang on to a third and The Time Genie clawed their way up to a fourth place. ChameleonI enjoyed the slightly lighter conditions to get their manoeuvres in check, but a swim took away their good position and they finished eighth.

The second race was breezier and so the small rigs had pace upwind. The Time Genie got towards the front and bagged a third and Rutland finished in fifth.

The final race was a no go for Rutland who spotted an unspiralling cap shroud and head home. The Time Genie put in another solid effort in the still windy breeze to finish second. ChameleonI finished the last two races with seventh places and a lot of lessons learnt.

The fleet retired to a BBQ laid on by the club. With beers in full flow, some of the best day's stories were exchanged, which slowly spilled into a later-than-sensible evening in the nearby bar.

Day 3

The last day of the regatta was another scorcher on Lake Garda. All boats that hadn't had breakages launched on the big rigs for some incredibly close racing, including ChameleonI who spent their first day on the No1 for this event.

The wind was more like the first day and so it was back on for the jostling of places, with the top marks regularly being crowded by up to six skiffs rounding within seconds of one another. There were a few less kitesurfers on the course for the day, but still the odd one got in the way when they stopped in amazement at the fleet of 18ft skiffs all lit up battling it out downwind.

The leading British boat, The Time Genie, managed to count another two thirds. Rutland added another pair of sixth places, always slightly outside the leading pack as was their story for the whole weekend. Though for the final day, they were forced onto their small rig due to the cap shroud breakage. ChameleonI managed to score some impressive results on their monster single spreader big rig and showed some serious pace when they got their crew work just right.

Summary

The top four boats were within two points by the end of the regatta, with the Germans in Eurolink coming out on top on countback. The Time Genie were on the receiving end of the countback and finished second overall. The Hungarian team of Be-Light finished off the podium with a third place. Rutland and ChameleonI finished sixth and seventh respectively.

The event was a huge success with teams from across Europe competing. The sailing club, Vela Campione del Garda, is somewhat unknown, which baffled the skiffs sailors. There's not many places in the world where you can walk between the accommodation, boat park, restaurants and bars with almost guaranteed sun and wind. A huge thank you to the sailing club for delivering all the above with their usual friendly and warm welcome.

The boats have now made the short trip up to Arco Sailing Club at the North end of the lake to compete for the Mark Foy in a couple of weeks time. The Mark Foy is the official World Championships for the 18ft skiffs and is set to be contested by many nations including British, German, Danish, Hungarians and Australians. Practice Race is the 30th June followed by three races a day between the 1st and the 5th July to decide the 2018 World Champion.

Overall Results:

PosBoatNationR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9
1EurolinkGER‑7241214‑52
2The Time GenieGBR113‑532‑533
3Be‑LightHUN2‑55‑643111
4KaltenbergerGER‑43221‑5244
5Original ChiaDEN3414‑6432‑5
6RutlandGBR55635‑10‑1066
7ChameleonIGBR66‑9‑877677
8Remember the daysGER‑977‑1088788
9La RossaGER810879610‑10‑10

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