Day 3 brought the Team the opportunity to get into the finals of our second event of the Revolution Cup. Briefing time was 0800hrs and the Pelèr, the northerly wind in Lake Garda, that normally brings strong winds and bigger waves, particularly lower down the lake, had started to build.
Conditions were as expected with a nice 13 to 16kts filling in down the lake. The first race saw both Kingdom Team Netherlands and Top Gun racing, skippered by Nacra 17 world champion Tita Rugera, capsizing on the downwind, subsequently knocking the Dutch team out of the event. Having seen this happen we decided that going with the gennaker on the downwind was the much safer option as pitch stability is greatly improved. Soon it was time to jump onto the boat!
We had five minutes of practice time before the race started in which we did a quick upwind and downwind. Now, it was time to get prepared for the reaching start checking our lay lines to the start line and angles to mark 1.
We and Young Azzurra, the Italian Youth AC team had the best starts pulling away from the other two boats off the line, come mark one and we had pushed out a quarter boat length lead on Young Azzurra but had to give them room at the mark. They went for a gybe hoist while we straight set to reduce manoeuvres. The team did a great job to get the kite up fast and we were firing downwind at 25kts in no time! A nice lay line helped us get ahead of young azurra and we extended the lead in the drop where we stayed on the foils while they had to gybe drop due to their early gybe at the top of the course, we were able to maintain a low lane on the reach across to mark 3 giving us a little more of an advantage for the upwind! We were looking good to get into the final!
Rounding mark 3, the final mark and we had a 45 second lead to second and a minute to third. All we needed was to stay in the top two to advance into the final. On the final upwind we struggled with boat speed. Due to the fast speeds of the boats, speed issues are magnified. A mix of inexperience in upwind sailing and some small boat issues meant we really struggled with both height and speed and were held out to lay line by Young Azzurra, who had done a really good job of getting inside us into a position that stopped us from tacking.
After Young Azzurra tacked, we were slightly overlay and coming in low and fast to the finish, although still with speed issues. We were now neck and neck with Top Gun racing and their star helm. Sadly, they snuck through at the finish by half a boat length hence knocking us out of the competition. the joys of sailing….
Although we are clearly disappointed not to have made the finals being in the position we were. As a team, we feel we have come a long way in the past two weeks and are really excited by how competitive we were compared to the other cup teams this early on. Now we go to Malcesine for a five week training block where we are aiming to really lock down our boat handling, as well as work on boat speed. We have two more events this summer which we will use to gauge how successful our training block has been before getting back to our boat in Hong Kong to keep pushing towards Auckland.
A huge thank you must go out to the RHKYC and our title sponsor, Agiplast, for getting us to the point we are now. We are trying our best to do you all proud back home!
image: Studio Borlenghi | @carlo.borlenghi