Flying Fifteen Europeans at Fraglia Vela Riva - Day 5
Report by Greg Wells, Photos "© Elena Giolai"
Competitors arrived at Fraglia della vela Riva at 10.30 for a 12 o'clock start and were greeted with overcast skies and a feel of rain in the air. Looking down the lake conditions looked like being a light northerly and plenty of shifts. As the fleet neared the start line the wind increased and veered to the northeast and at the start it wa blowing a good 20 knots plus! The first start (race 8) got away with a couple of recalls.
Title contenders, Wells/ Rigg and Goacher/Evans started next to each other near the committee boat with Wells taking control and forcing Goacher to tack off. However, Wells was pinned by another boat and couldn't tack to cover. From the Torbole side of the course Goacher hooked into a massive right hander and led by miles at the windward mark followed by Hamish McKay/Andrew Lawson and then Gill browning/Tom Pickles. Wells worked the shifts in the middle and rounded 4th. Down the first run the wind veered more and increased to almost 30 knots giving everyone a spectacular broad reach down the lake. At the finish Goacher was 1st, McKay 2nd and Browning 3rd. Wells was 5th behind Lavery/O'Brien but they were called OCS so this promoted Wells to 4th. With 2 more races still scheduled Goacher could still win the title but needed to win both races. Race 8 started in about 20 knots. Wells and Goacher were again seen close to each other near the committee boat but Goacher saw an opportunity to get clear and reached off to start down the line while Wells started right on the committee boat and tacked towards the Torbole shore. This proved to be a regatta winning move as this time it was Wells who hooked into a 10-degree right hander and led at the windward mark with Goacher back in the pack. 2nd at the top mark were Browning/Pickles who were having a great day. 3rd round was Robert Hogben and Glyn Morgan. As the race progressed the wind increased and Wells extended to win comfortably the race and with it the 2012 Flying Fifteen European championships. 2nd were Gill Browning and Tom Pickles which made them the best boat of the day, a fitting result for Gill as she has sadly announced her retirement from FF racing after many years always near the top of the fleet. 3rd to finish was Hogben following a great battle with Charles Apthorp.
With conditions deteriorating and the championship decided, race officer Antonio Micillio made the wise decision to abandon the final race and send the fleet home.
This bought to a close what can only be described as a terrific and memorable week of racing in one of the great sailing venues (although I admit I may have a slightly biased opinion!).