Australia
Austria
Switzerland
Czech Republic
Germany
Denmark
Spain
France
United Kingdom
Ireland
Italy
Netherlands
Sweden
United States

12/10/2012
Magic Marine SE European Grand Prix Circolo Nautico Ugo Costaguta, Base di Voltri, Genoa, Italy

    Day 1
    10 Rs100s from UK (2), France(1), Switzerland(1) and Italy(6) set out on a beautiful force 3/4 from the north into the bay at Genoa ready for an epic days sailing. Sadly 5 minutes before the 5 minute gun the wind died and 45 minutes later set in as a thermal from the south west as a force two. Al Hall took advantage of the pin end and established a healthy lead at the windward mark followed by Mark Cotgrove and Oscar Quarenghi in his 10.2 rig. Downwind was all about picking the gusts (what gusts). Michel Rotach showed good speed and got past Quarenghi whilst Hall and Cotgrove held their positions until the finish.

    Race two and the wind was playing hard ball decreasing to around 5 knots. Cotgrove established an early lead at the windward mark and wasn't threatened until the final beat of a one hour twenty minute race. Hall and Rotach closed to within two boat lengths and in the process of launching the kite Cotgrove over zealously pulled his cleat out of the hull. Hall took advantage and quickly established a lead covering Cotgrove to the finish. Meanwhile Rotach headed left and when the wind filled in he was perfectly placed to take advantage and queezed into first place at the leeward mark to win by 3 boat lengths.

    At the end of day one Hall leads, Cotgrove second and Rotach separated by just two points.

    Day two greeted the fleet with a gusty and shifty force four occasional five from the north, directly off the mountains. On the promise the night before from Chris Cunningham that he would show everyone his transom if the wind blew we watched in horror as he and Tobias Claudius (aka Micheal Schumacher) collided on the start line after Claudius attempted an unlikely port tack start. Al Hall took advantage of the mayhem to lead at the windward mark. Downwind was all about finding the wind lanes and Hall faltered with a capsize on the gybe allowing Cunningham through to take the lead which he comfortably held to the finish, with Hall second and Cotgrove third.

    For the second race of the day Claudius managed to take Hall out on the start line and Cunningham and Cotgrove duelled over two laps with places changing regularly in the shifty breeze. Boat handling let down Cotgrove with a quick swim or two and even Cunningham was blown over on the short shreader leg. He recovered quickly and was still in the lead when his boat was once again upright. On the final beat with the windward mark set close to the beach it was anyone's guess as to which side was favoured but Cunningham guessed right when it mattered easing to a comfortable win with Hall coming through to second and Mario Dullia in third.

    With the race committee keen to catch up after losing a race on day one, race three of the day quickly followed as the breeze eased to a more manageable force 3. Cunningham lead from start to finish in what was becoming a Chairman's masterclass. Cotgrove sailed consistently for an easy second with Hall recovering to third after a minor collision with a jury boat which resulted in a capsize.

    With the wind easing and holes appearing on the race course the fourth race of the day went to Cunningham with Hall closely behind and Cotgrove and Michel Rotach duelling for the third. Eventually a boat length separated them with Cotgrove edging ahead. So ended a Cunningham day with four firsts recorded.

    Going into the final day Cunningham and Hall are tied on 9 points with Cotgrove and Rotach close behind. Overall Cunningham has the edge on countback with his four firsts.

    Day 3
    The final day of the SE champs dawned with a flat calm and the crews waited patiently for the breeze to fill in from the south west. After an hour delay a lovely force 3 filled in and the fleets were underway. Cunningham caught the breeze on the right side of the course and held the lead throughout whilst Cotgrove went ashore after breaking his pole line and Claudius held on to second and Brioschi third.

    The final race got underway with Hall needing to beat Cunningham by three places. Cunningham took a penalty turn after touching the start mark and incurring the wrath of the jury boat. Hall and Dullia were looking good two thirds up the first beat but Claudius came from the port lay line in new wind and held his lead throughout. Hall held on nervously to second place with Cunningham down the fleet in 6th. Down the last beat Mario Dullia went inshore whilst the remainder remained offshore and he was duly rewarded finishing second just ahead of Hall with Cunningham finishing sixth. On final analysis the points were even and Cunningham was overall winner on count back, Hall runner up and Michel Rotach third.

    On returning to the beach the sea was up and each boat was lifted in turn by 8 willing volunteers as the potential for damage was getting significant. So ended the Italian job, very well organised and some excellent racing. Roll on the next European adventure........

    Al Hall

    1st Chris Cunningham

    2nd Al Hall

    3rd Michel Rotach

    4th Mark Cotgrove

    5th Mario Dullia

    6th Marcello Brioschi

    7th Tobias Claudius

    8th Oscar Quarenghi

    9th Fabrizio Zarantonello

    10th Paolo Testolin

    Website Security Test