Last night Cascais enjoyed the fiesta that recognises the end of the summer, bands played on the huge stage on the beach front and fireworks lit up the sky. The Laser SB3 unfortunately missed the festivities as they headed to bed early in preparation for Day 1 of the 2009 Laser SB3 World Championships.
With the beach freshly combed this morning and the streets hosed and polished, it was business as usual for residents of Cascais, unless you were a member of the 56 Laser SB3 crews gathered at the Clube Naval de Cascais for the first day of racing of the fleet's 2nd World Championships.
The fleet left the marina in very light winds this morning, and headed to Race Area A where a building northerly breeze awaited them. Throughout the day the wind increased to twenty five knots. After the 2nd Race, the Race Officer chose to move the race course to the east where he was able to complete his final scheduled race of the day although the wind was considered patchy by many of the fleet.
Catching up with the race winners as they came ashore this evening there were some tales of mixed fortunes to share.
Mike Budd and his crew on Zimmer took an early lead on the 1st down wind leg of Race One, and extended their lead each leg there after. Taking a conservative approach to maintaining their lead, they took the bullet in Race 1 with 5 boat lengths to spare. Unfortunately in Race 2, Zimmer lost a 2nd position following a spectacular wipe out. With a disappointing start in Race 3 and a poor first upwind leg in shifty conditions Budd and crew finished 10th and put their lesser performance down to lack of warm clothing and food, “44 calories in the one remaining Alpen cereal bar wasn't enough to keep 3 hungry sailors happy at the end of a long day” remarked Sam Gardner, mainsheet trimmer onboard Zimmer.
Spirit of Cape Town's Roger Hudson and helm Taariq Jacobs had a strong start to the day's racing with their sights set on catching Mike Budd in Race 1 they managed to diminish his lead to just 5 boat lengths by the time they crossed the finishing line. With a promising first race, they went on to win the 2nd race. Sister-ship, City of Cape Town helmed by David Hudson, followed Spirit of Cape Town around the first windward mark but unfortunately suffered a bad bout of luck and Craig Burlton picked his way through the fleet to finish Race 2 in 2nd position and Hudson Senior dropped back to 8th. Unfortunately, the failure of the lower gudgeon bracket on the first windward mark rounding of Race 3 saw Spirit of Cape Town's luck take a turn for the worse with them being unable to finish the 3rd Race. Hudson and Jacobs remain positive and are grateful that they didn't suffer the damage during the first race of the day.
By his own admission, Jerry Hill was unable to start well all day, but after picking some good lay lines Hill and his crew onboard 3 Sad Old Blokes managed to work their way to the front of the fleet in the 3rd Race. 3SOB's 3rd Race was described on the dock by an un-named source as “A true display of sailing skill!”
Overnight leader, Craig Burlton awarded Spirit of Cape Town the “Boat of the Day” Award with their excellent performance in the 1st 2 races of the event, and knows that Spirit of Cape Town team will be one to keep a very close eye on during the Championships. Burlton added, “It was a great start to the World Championships with 3 Races completed in lively conditions in a highly competitive fleet. It's clearly going to be a tough event to win.”
If Day 1 at the Laser SB3 World Championships in Cascais is anything to go by, it's going to be an exciting week as the results unfold in the rolling Atlantic swell.
Full Results can be found at: