Practice Race Today

Things have been hectic for everyone as spouses and friends arrive, making connections, figuring out how to meet up and, for me, dealing with a cold.  Paul Hemker, John Best and the rest of the measurement team have now processed most of the 135 boats competing here. 135 boats, 19 countries.  I haven't had confirmation, but this may be the largest World Championship the class has ever had.  This is how it is being reported in a local Italian press release. You'll have to do the translation yourself!  Watch that page (now on the "Racing at Garda" menu item above) as it may have ongoing results.  We'll keep you posted on that. 


Waking up every morning here at Garda is really thrilling.  Overlooking the lake on the side of the mountain we can see dozens of kite and wind surfers taking advantage of the early morning wind.  Hearing churchbells bup and down the shore as we sip morning expresso. 


Today we have a practice race and will see how we manage 135 boats on a start line.  There is a rumor the fleet may be split, but we shall see.  We have been comparing notes on the winds here as all boats have been out practicing. A variety of patterns that do shift from day to day.   This evening we all participate in a parade through the town.{jcomments on} 

Unpacking & Setup Pictures

{jcomments on}Here are a series of shots taken after the container was delivered. We launched today and took GBR367 for a spin. More on that later.


Container is opened and unpacking begins. Bikes will be very userful here. Otherworldly mashup: Unloading against a backdrop of the Italian Alps  
Maybe we will gt over the view, but not likely.  Let the boat games begin. Setup next to the launch area. How many boats are we fitting in here?

Ever the good sport, Anna unloads another mast.  The container was a relatively easy load with only 4 boats.  Two were lifted up against the ceiling, then two tied down to the floor.  We hope to bring one additional boat and trailer back so it will be a bit more complicated.



Hard to imagine how we will get 133 boats set up here.   Plus we heard from the Stephano, who works on the marina staff, that there will be an additional regatta going on here this weekend with 50 boats. 

Give us some comments as we go along, we can answer questions too!


Gerrard & Stephano position container as crane operator lowers

The team has been arriving over the past few days and on Monday June 27 the container arrived with the boats.  There is always a little anxiety as the container doors are opened and we take a quick look around to see if there is any damage.  No problems!  And so we all breathed a quick sigh of relief and set about unpacking.  Usually everything is fine, although a few years back on a trip to Spain, an anchor point welding gave away and a boat dropped down a few inches. But we typically tie at least two safety lines so significant damage was averted.

So far, Gorbolds have arrived, along with Lin, Paul Scoffin and myself.  There are maybe a half dozen other boats set up as well.  Jonathan and Nigel have been out, though the rest of us are knee deep in boat games.  And enjoying Italy.  More pictures will be here soon, as we are still trying to get reliable internet and connections set up.


The email from Lin in March asking me to sail with him in the Worlds at Garda provided me with a new focus and revived many memories of sailing with Lin in 1996.


I was watching the US Nationals on Lake Canandaigua when a call came through from the Committee Boat that Lin needed a crew due to the unfortunate illness of his crew. We had some great fleet racing and indeed a needle match race in the last race. Jonathan Gorbold had carved a set of magnificent trophies for many of the helms and crews and one has a special place in my home.


Since then I have kept in touch with Lin and we have renewed acquaintances at various Worlds in Europe and New Zealand and the 400th Anniversary Regatta at New York.


After quickly agreeing to sail with Lin in the Worlds, I visited Connecticut and enjoyed the generous hospitality provided by Sascha & Job Sandberg who organised the US Nationals at Noroton YC

Lin & Richard at US Nationals 2011which Lin and I used to get in some practice for the Worlds - despite the best efforts of fog and reefs to scupper Lin’s careful preparation of the boat!


After the container was loaded, we enjoyed a very convivial evening with Lisa & Susan and headed back to our respective homes.


On Saturday, Susan & I will be crossing from Dover to Calais and thence drive to Lake Garda, the mecca of sailing in Europe which has attracted a record FD Worlds entry of 132 teams. The previous record for FDs was also on Lake Garda in 1996 when there were 123 FDs racing from the same start line!


In 1996 the racing was at the northern end of Lake Garda where the wind can blow with great ferocity and it did! One day the Committee boat had to be towed back to base and many FDs were scattered upside down in the lake and around the northern shores of the lake.


However, at Malcesine, which is mid way down the eastern shore, the lake is wider and the funneling effect of the cliffs - very steep, tall and dramatic mountains - is less severe. Winds should be more moderate but no doubt by the end of the Worlds the normal refrain heard from the locals at nearly all venues will be heard...”It is not normally like this!!”

Boats arrive in Italy!

Last week Kurt, our fearless shipping coordinator told us, "Keep your anxiety in check FD people!"  And well we should have.  This evening we got the following note:

Container was off loaded in Genoa on Jun-19 15.00 hrs. We are proceeding with Customs clearance. It will take us 3.5 hours to deliver from here. I think there is a very good chance you will have your boats there in time for the event. I know you expected nothing less. Stay tuned. Travel safe.


Kurt Hemmingsen

So good news.  We will continue to endeavor to keep our anxiety in check and in a week we'll be assembling our boats on the bank of Lake Garda.  We expect nothing less!