Despite the unpromising weather forecast for Easter, the Circolo Velico Lago di Lugano (CVLL) successfully attracted more than 150 sailors to the second Europacup venue at their beautiful lake.
The competition was launched on Friday with a single race in 5-7 knots of southerly breeze. The wind proofed to be very shifty and unsteady such that the Standard fleet despite a major split right after the start still merged evenly at the first top mark. I had a solid first beat rounding in 10th place and could catch up on the second upwind with an almost perfect line through the middle to round in 4th before the last downwind. While fighting for 3rd place against Christoph Bottoni on the downwind, I was flagged by the jury for rocking the boat too much and unfortunately found myself at the 8th place before the final leg. Nonetheless, I could bounce back 3 places and eventually terminated the first race on a costly but satisfactory 5th place.
On Saturday no races could be sailed because of lack of wind.
On Sunday the crystal clear nightsky after clubbing and the early sunshine raised hope to complete the required races in thermal wind from the South. However, the southerly thermal wind kicked in only very late and was rather weak.
Before the start of the second race, the wind was building to 10 knots and I was about to take a splendid start closest to the committee boat on the starboard end of the line, as my tiller came apart at the gun. Stupid enough to have forgotten to tape up the tiller extension, I was able to put aside my frustration and make substantial gains on every leg with conservative decisions and finished again 5th.
The last race of the day and, as it latter turned out, the entire regatta was announced in controversial conditions with unpredictable gusts with 2-15 knots. As it was crucial to be conservative and responsive to quickly changing wind directions, I took a start in the middle of a pack midway between the starboard and the pin end. With great speed in the first gust I could quickly take the advantage and control the rest of the fleet with a comfortable lead of 100 metres until the final downwind, when the wind started to crumble and the pack was closing in with a gust. Fortunately, the gust reached me in time before the reach to the last mark. Extending my lead again to about 50 metres on the last mark, a shift of almost 30 degrees on the final upwind allowed two competitors to overtake me in the last 10 metres to the finish line.
On Monday no wind, no sailing and lots of rain for packing and the closing ceremony. The CVLL did, in spite of maybe the last race, an extraordinary job to validate three races during the cumbersome weather and wind conditions at Easter and outperformed as always with its enormous hospitality and pasta parties every evening. As to my many attempts and at last my first success on finishing an Europacup on the podium, I am very glad that I was rewarded for the my most conservative approach to the given conditions in the fleet of 33 Laser Standards. Giving away the win by one point on the last metres also showed me that more is possible in future regattas if I dare to be more aggressive and ruthless in crucial situations.
Doré de Morsier