Bracciano, June 8-9, 2013. Results and report by Ivo Gattulli
We hit Lake on sunday morning, to take part to the Third leg of the Snipe Regional Championship in italian IV District. Hosting Club is the “Ali6”, this is an important one on the lake and it’s applicant to host the Snipe Italian Championship 2014. The Lake, you know, is Lake Bracciano, our snipe-home in IV District during summer-time, close to Rome and selected venue to host the Snipe European Master Championship next August.
So, that’s the scenario but the real news is that finally spring arrived.. roughly..
We go out from our club under a cloudy sky, pushed out by a strange wind, not the usual Bracciano thermal-breeze for sure.
The race course is pretty close to the southern shore of the Lake, the shore line is upwind to the course, so we’ve not the usual choppy waters but the wind is absolutely shaky.
Due to our usual mess we’re able to take just the last-minute-to-go of the first starting procedure, but it’s not a big deal, so we start properly, sail to the right, tack and when we back on the left we find out what’s the big deal: we’re on the wrong side of the pack! Our come back doesn’t start until the downwind leg. We stay on the right (watching the course from the start), we look for pressure rather than any rotation, and it works. We start the second upwind leg in the middle of the fleet, straight on the right this time, and it works still better. At the end of this leg we’re fourth, and we’re absolutely determined to try something in the last downwind leg. There’s not big pressure, probably 5-6m/sec, but we took some big lift, and gybing on those we get another boat.. finally a good job, considering our first upwind leg. The race goes to Roberto and Claudio, we’re the first boat not-master to arrive, so keep in mind those name for the next Eu Master.
On the second start we’re perfectly parked at 5″ from the start, thanks to a generous side-winder from a windward boat which didn’t reply to our luffing. Could be a disaster.. and it’s been a little at least.. but it’s also a great opportunity to tack immediately and go straight on the right. We stay on the right side till the first consistent heading, than we tack, we’re worried about to be already on the lay-line but it’s the kind of day with no such a stuff like “stable lay-line” really. So the upwind leg isn’t over still but we’re in a decent position compared to the pack. The consistent shift on the right will transform the downwind leg in a reach, so there’re no big opportunities, until the latest meters, when we’re able to overlap (inside) to two boats. The upwind is obviously on the right side. BabyFace and Bumbo are really good managing the heading between the two big lift in the first and last part of the leg, so they’ll be first without big troubles at upwind marks, and they’ll just stay conservative in the remaining part of the race. On the arrival the podium is completely different from the podium of the first race, except for us: fourth, but only for a capsizing at the upwind mark of an unlucky boat ahead of us.
To start for the third race we’ll have to wait for 40′ minutes. In the last part of the second race the breeze increased, probably something more than 7m/sec in the gusts and sky was overcast meanwhile the wind-direction went completely crazy, so the Race Officers had to do a big work to try to find a properly course bearing. All that mess lasted 35′.. during which started to get cold as well.. but at the first signal for the starting-precedures suddenly the sun came out, killing the breeze. To try something different we go on the right side.. again! Trying to use the learnings of the first two races, we don’t bang the corner immediately but only after the first 1/3 of the upwind leg, than we tack and come back on the center-course ready to cash the heading (starboard).. that’s probably the moment which define the race. The heading is deep.. I mean really deep.. fortunately I forgot my compass at my place, so I’ve no the pain of the “numbers”, but the shoreline is quite visible and I have to watch our bow go down and down on the left. Behind us the chasing pack fall on fire with us, but their a little windward to us, so we risk to tack and tack back under their bows, remaining locked under the starboard lay-line.. and I start to sweat.. my crew is absolutely confident about that choice and keep saying to me as a sort of mantra “go straight! don’t tack! go straight!”.. mantra vs mantra I keep repeating “let’s tack know! let’s tack know! Considering that my crew could throw myself in the water and take over the tiller just to go straight I decide to avoid the bath, so I follow her mantra.. and I’ll find out it’ll be good! Suddenly our bow stops to fall down and the lift comes in.. I mean a huge one, so that after few seconds I see again the mark further our fore-stay! Writing that I’m a little incredulous still: we round the mark without tacking again, gaining a decent asset to manage during the downwind leg. This time the big deal is avoid the other Classes: 470 and Laser4000 above all: it seems a sort of cross-country race! We start the last upwind on starboard, we tack to the center and tack back soon just to close a little the distance with the part of the chasing-pack which got out from the mark going on the left. After few minutes I got the feeling that our closer chasers are a little more faster than us.. and I curse myself for not having fixed our mainsail mid batten-pocket: we lost the batten during the last regatta, two weeks ago, and we’re racing without mid-batten.. in addition to some news “windows” in the mainsail cloth.. without patches still. At the upwind mark we’re still alive, so we start the downwind just trying to stay between the pack and the next mark. It’s a really tough job: 470 and “drifting” Laser4000 (I mean they’re not properly drifting but it seams that their not properly sailed neither!) everywhere, puffs obviously come from behind, so behind they probably have more pressure, cleaner air at least! Meanwhile I catch some consistent lift to gybe in but it should mean go straight under the sail of the closer competitors, give up the inside-right and probably generate many other disasters which I’ve not the capability to figure out.. so we remain there, and I start to sweat as I were running the last leg of a marathon. The worst case scenario should be if everyone behind began to gybe.. I prefer don’t watch so I commend the “chronicle” to my crew, but I know perfectly that when things go wrong she usually lie to me to avoid to put further pressure on me.. and she knows that I know.. fortunately no gybes anyway: the chasers stay quite on the lane allowing us to manage the situation until the arrival, just a moment before I fell completely dehydrated.
On the way home I left the tiller to my crew and enjoy the promenade, sailing toward the sunset, straight under Bracciano Castle.
Now we have two moths of local regattas scheduled, the seasonal top event on the Lake will be the EuMaster obviously, and we’re receiving first submission from all over Europe (for any info please visit snipeumaster.blogspot.it) but if you would join us for the local activity as well please don’t hesitate to contact us, the EuMaster Hosting Club we’ll be happy to find an accommodation.
See ya on the Lake