Pegasus Wins the 18′ Skiff European Championships (European Grand-Prix)
The last two days of the European 18ft Skiff Grand Prix on Lake Garda have had mixed conditions. Wednesday bought with it some lighter conditions, with the only race of the day sailed in a building 6-9knot breeze. But no change at the front of the fleet as the ever consistent Pegasus Racing (USA) posted another bullet. The improving Pindar Radii (GBR) team got close, but never managed to overall Howie Hamlin, and light air expert Stefan Rueger sailing UTI (SWI) finally posted a good result with a third. Grant Rollerson in De Longhi (AUS) had a shocker in 16th and this had the overall impact of moving Pindar Radii up to 4th overall, with Pegasus Racing (USA), Yandoo (AUS) and GE Commercial (GBR) keeping their podium placings. A second race was started but after the first leg the wind vanished resulting in a mass pile up at the leeward mark and the inevitable abandonement.
Thursday looked much more promising – sunshine and a large bank of cummulus clouds rising in the mountains in the North … perfect Ora conditions. With the prospect of the long distance race as well the teams geared themselves up for a long day on the water. As a warm up to the marathon race, a normal windward-leeward was run in a nice 10-12 knot breeze on the opposite side of Campione, near Malcesine. Some Musto Skiffs preparing for their World Championships there next week felt a little underpowered when the 18ft Skiffs blew through their patch! Pegasus Racing did not put a foot wrong again, and although never more 30 secs in front of the chasing bunch managed to keep ahead and record their sixth ace of the series. Jarrod Simpson in TMF (GBR) come back on song for this race posting a second, with Pindar Radii hot on their heels. John Winning in Yandoo put in another strong performance in 4th while GE Commercial struggled again finishing in 6th.
And so to the long distance – over 24 miles criss-crossing Lake Garda with a mixture of upwinds, tight reaches and blasting downwinds …. Garda’s equivalent to a Sydney Harbour bash. With the breeze getting up to 12-14knots, Pegasus Racing led the fleet up the first long beat from just north of Malcesine Castle with the island of Trimelone. The wind was split across the course and this resulted in teams coming out of both corners of the beat. Yandoo, TMF and SELS (GBR) were then closely followed by Pindar Radii, PICA (GBR) and a rare appearance of the Hungarian team HUN18 who picked out a right hand shift to perfection to round in the leading bunch. A downwind leg to the northern island of Ulivo was folllowed by a long fetch across the lake to the Campione side for a windward-leeward. The fleet then had long full power reach back across the lake before a long beat back up to the finish of Campione. Pegasus Racing kept their composure and scored another convincing win, effectivelly handing them the title for the scond year in a row. The battle for second place overall is now hotting up as Yandoo finished 2nd and Pindar Radii socred another 3rd. GE Commercial finished eventually 7th after their mainsheet parted, and this now means only six points seperate these teams for 2nd place overall with three races planned for Friday – all to play for!
Overall results after day 5 (10 races, 2 discards, 25 competitors)
1st Pegasus Racing (USA) 8 pts
2nd Yandoo (AUS) 24pts
3rd Pindar Radii (GBR) 29pts
4th GE Commercial Finance (GBR) 30 pts
5th TMF (GBR) 39 pts