“If Carlsberg Did Sailing Regattas…” SB20 Eurocup 2009 Report
Spring is in the air and young men’s thoughts turn to … well, lager I guess, but not the thoughts of the young men and women of the SB3 fleet who headed off to Brittany for the Laser SB3 Eurocup. Their heads were focussed on anticipating some fine racing hosted by the Naval Academy at Brest as part of the French Grand Prix de Voile series. The SBs would sail at Morgat in the beautiful Bay of Dournenez. The Windguru predicted 8 – 12 knots for the week, The Rigging Guru aka Mark Richards promised lots of Muscadet, sparkly sailing and banter. Quite frankly, he surpassed himself.
The fleet sailed south, courtesy of Brittany Ferries, the first success being achieved by the crew of Finitor 7, lead by Stuart “The Beard” Reed who dropped into the ship bar for a brief night cap, only to be disturbed some 8 hours later by the announcement that they were shortly to dock in Roscoff! The Redman Fisher team from Belfast claimed the shortest journey, but no-one quite believed them while due to an admin oversight, Trois Sad Old Blokes smuggled their honorary forth team mate across the channel.
In Morgat on Friday morning the registration, weighing and crane in all went smoothly and teams from South Africa, Holland, Belgium, France and Germany joined the Brits on the race track in sunshine and 10 knots of south westerly. The early leaders in Race 1 were the South Africans sailing City of Cape Town: Helm Dave Hudson (runner up at last year’s SB3 Worlds) made his mark early with a fine win. CoCT are part of Dave’s Race Ahead initiative -a charity promoting sailing to young South Africans from under privileged backgrounds. They will campaign two boats at the Worlds in Portugal.
Second place went to Trois Sad Old Blokes ahead of Martin Wedge’s Eric. Martin and team had a blinder of a day, going on to win Race 2 just ahead of Race Ahead and Darling Associates in third. Race 3 was again won by Trois Sad Old Blokes helmed by UK Class Chairman Jerry Hill, in front of Race Ahead and then Eric. The organising club had arranged a fleet party and dinner each night and the first night party went well.. rather too well for Jerry Hill and team who subsequently spent 2 hours driving around Brittany in the small hours trying to find the accommodation….apparently they stumbled across some strange goings on in a remote lay-by, at least that’s their story!
Day 2 dawned with Princess Katie waiting on the quayside for her Princes Bish and Bash to arrive. Unfortunately the gallant lads had also suffered from a lack of satnav and had spent the night in their car, in a remote lay-by, unable to find their beds! By the time they made it the fleet (and Katie) had sailed off, so they sailed two up for only one of the five races achieved on Saturday before returning to the harbour for a slap up lunch. The wind had shifted to the north west and blew straight off the cliffs producing random blocks of pressure interspersed with 15 degree shifts. There were those that could do it, and there those that could not. Amongst the former were CoCT who scored two bullets, Redman Fisher (the heavily sponsored doctors from Belfast) with a string of 2nd and 3rds, Rushall.net who won the last race and Doollali who had an up and down 1,11,2,8 through the day. Sarah Allen’s tongue twisting Sail Boat Spares got it together with an excellent potential showing 2nd in the last race.
That night the team moved to Cafe Les Flots for cordon bleu dinner and a rousing speech in French by the President… of the Ecole Navale. The tiller talk rapidly moved onto more amusing subjects with ambitious plans being made for ever more far fetched SB3 adventures.. Sydney? San Francisco? Bora Bora?
By agreement, the start on Sunday morning was delayed to allow a little recovery time. 10 knots or so of NE settled in, giving the fleet a difficult decision to make: left, right or middle? Or alternatively left a bit, no-over to the right, oh sh*t better get back to the left etc etc. Anyway at the windward mark out popped Trois Sad Old Blokes ahead of Rushall.net and Captain Birdseye. After a brief charge by Darling Associates the Oldies took the gun ahead of Rushall and Darling in third. At this point the wind promptly died and after a not unpleasant drift around in the warm sunshine the fleet headed for the harbour.
Mark Richards/The Rigging Guru/Euro Cup Event Organiser never failed the fleet in terms of organisation, including an impromptu crew party on Sunday night/Monday morning hosted by three quarters of Team Darling, while the other quarter of the team slept through the merry making of the Brits, Irish and “those crazy Dutch guys”.
Monday morning dawned clear, sunny and windless. The by now, battle hardened fleet, motored out on time but alas the high pressure killed the wind and 3 guns were fired. Recovery and de-rigging followed in record time allowing the opportunity for a final entrecote grille and glass of red before the prize giving and competitors heading for departure ports and long drives home across Europe. The 2009 Laser SB3 Eurocup will go down in history as a one of the best class events ever.
Author: Chris Darling: Darling Associates
1 3451 CITY OF CAPE TOWN, Roger Hudson, RSA, 25.00
2 3465 3 SAD OLD BLOKES Jerry Hill, GBR 27.00
3 3467 WWW.RUSHALL.NET, Mark Rushall, GBR 41.00
4 3500 TEAM REDMAN FISHER, Peter Kennedy, IRL 44.00
5 3510 BLACK BOX, Ben Williamson, GBR 44.
6 3517 DOOLALLI, Colin Simonds, GBR 58.00
7 3295 RAZZMATAZZ, Sebastian Dohrendorf, GER 59.
8 3027 DARLING ASSOCIATES, Chris Darling, GBR 62.00
9 3557 DIRECT SAILING. Sebastien Audigane, FRA 64.00
10 3575 SAIL BOAT SPARES, Sarah Allan, GBR, 72.00
11 3464 ERIC, Martin Wedge, GBR 74.
12 3038 CHEEKY MONKEY, Ian Sullivan, GBR 85.00
13 3060 FINITOR 7, Stewart Reed, GBR 89.00
14 3502 RNSYC TEAM 2, Franz Hawer, BEL, 90.00
15 3009 LASER PERFORMANCE, Philippe Peron, FRA, 96.00
16 3379 PELICAN RACING, Phil Devereux, GBR 102.00
17 3158 VOYAGER, Willem Stam, NED, 109.00
18 3470 CUBE, Martijn Buitenhuis, NED, 119.00
20 3463 VALKYRIE, Antony Herod, GBR, 150.00
21 3055 BISH BASH BOSH, Roger Hexton, GBR 158.00