Day 3 of the RS800 European Championship gave the fleet the opportunity to catch up the race schedule, so after a leisurely morning spent tinkering with boats and enjoying a light lunch (or late breakfast for some), the fleet entered the water just before 1300hrs to sail 3 races.
Race 1 was sailed in a light 8-12 knot breeze and as the majority of the fleet headed right up the Western shore 4 boats began to pull clear. At the top mark Tim Saxon and Fiona Hampshire lead the McEwens followed by the Jeffries and then Jack Hawkins and Rory Hunter. These 4 boats managed to gap the fleet and have their own private battle to the finish, with the only real change coming where Saxton and Hampshire sailed into a slightly lower pressure and somehow the McEwens sailed straight past them in solid breeze. So a bullet for the McEwens and 2nd place for Saxon and Hampshire with the Jeffries in 3rd.
As the fleet were in sequence for race 2, a 20 degree shift to the right, meant the race team had no choice but to host the postponement flag as the wind shut down for about 30 minutes. However much to everyone’s surprise, the Ora reappeared with the welcome sight of dozens of kite surfers further South of the race area. Garda was ready to give the RS800 fleet a real treat.
As the fleet started it was clear there were very different ideas to which side would pay, with a 50/50 split right and left, as it turned out, right paid, just, with Saxton and Hampshire leading the McEwens who escaped the holes on the left to round just behind in 2nd. From then on the race had multiple passing lanes and plenty of place changing went on, with boats taking all sorts of routes around the lake. The top 4 boats did a great job of staying just in front of the charging fleet, with Saxton and Hampshire taking the win from the McEwens, then Hawkins and Hunter.
The final race of the day was sailed in around 18 knots of breeze, this time the whole fleet tacked away from the committee boats and headed hard right. With more breeze and some clear lanes, the McEwens and the Jeffries hit their afterburners and pulled well clear of the chasing pack, led by Hawkins and Hunter. By the 2nd beat the McEwens had found another gear and pulled clear of the Jeffries. The final drag race to the finish was as spectacular as you can get, with boats bouncing their way down the lake heading towards a huge thunder cloud which had been busy growing above Riva. At the finish the McEwens took another bullet with the Jeffries in a solid 2nd place, followed by Hawkins and Hunter. Behind Saxton and Hampshire sailed a brilliant 2nd beat spotting a huge right shift. This got them back into the top 5 to keep them in the overall lead by just one point.
The evening saw Circolo vela Torbole host a dinner party with plenty of excellent food, wine and a presentation on the local Grappa. Of course this was mainly lost on the RS800 sailors, who thought it was far better swallow than savour. We were also treated by the weather gods who put on a huge electric storm that illuminated the lake with every lighting flash. So, all in all, a perfect day: great sailing, great socialising and a very friendly sailing club.
Report by Andy Jeffries