18ft Skiff Team Pica - Round Up
The final leg of the 2011 18ft Skiff European Grand Prix was held on lake Urnersee, Switzerland and provided a spectacular backdrop for the 18 footers to battle out the last major calendar event of the year.
Our team found out on arrival that we had already secured the European Grand Prix win with this event to spare, none the less we wanted to finish on a high and pushing for the event win was our main focus. The lake which is over 800 feet deep, surrounded by mountains and features thermal winds proved a daunting task for all teams to read shifts and find the best side of the race course.
Day one saw 12 to 15 knots on the lake and 12 teams split in race one to find the best side of the beat. With a reasonable mid line start we tacked off and headed for the right hand cliffs, this paid with a big lift as we got closer to the shore allowing us to cross the fleet and take the lead. Jarrod Simpson’s team sailing The Black Dog pushed us hard over the remainder of the course but through covering we were able to hold them off to take the race win. Race two saw a favourable left hand beat; however caution was needed not to get two close to the cliffs which featured small bays with absolutely no wind! We had to work hard in this race rounding the windward mark in fourth but with the top six separated by less than a minuet place changing was fast and furious. By the leeward mark we were up to second pushing team Liberty from Hungary for the lead. In an attempt to gain clear air we tacked off after rounding and hit the left hand side gaining a nice lift which allowed us to just get ahead and take a second bullet.
Day two: Racing cancelled (Poor thermal conditions).
Day three dawned with conditions so light that many thought the wind would stand no chance of filling in for the day. Never the less all of the 18 footer teams were released from the beach in near drifting conditions to head out to the race area where the wind gradually built to a steady 8 – 12 knots. The first race saw us get away with an average start where we picked up a big header on the left side of the beat burying us in the midfield. We pushed hard for the rest of the race working the right side upwind on the subsequent beat managing to salvage a fourth, a reasonable recovery but a minor rope failure downwind prevented us finishing any higher. The final race of the weekend was very closely fought between ourselves and team Liberty with The Black dog taking the win, with returning form we managed to finish 2nd to take the overall event win as well as fortifying our position at the top of the European Grand Prix leader board.
With this and straight victories on the UK Grand Prix we have had a fantastic year on the new boat and look forward to the winter events where we have some fairly major plans in the pipeline. Once again we would like to thank Allen brothers for all of the great fittings they have provided us with this year. We as a team put reliability and trust at the top of our priority list with our sailing and are pleased to say that all of our Allen blocks have met these criteria.
Link to images: http://www.18footer.org/Medias/Pictures/2011Pictures/tabid/588/AlbumID/1312-255/Page/0/Default.aspx