Day two of the Cascais SB20 World Championships 2016 yesterday, Wednesday 31 August, brought three more testing races for the 75-boat fleet – or, according to some crews, two testing races and one giant crazy game of Risk. It was a tough day for the four Irish boats too: Bango (James Gorman, Rory Fitzpatrick, Neil O'Toole & Laura Jackson) dropped to 41st overall. The lead Irish boat is now Venuesworld (Ger Dempsey, Chris Nolan, Maeve Judge and Blair Stanaway) who remain bang in the middle of the fleet in 38th, Wahoo drops to 48th (Colin Galavan, Chris Arrowsmith & David Cahill), leapfrogged by The Bear (Stefan Hyde, Graeme Grant, Tara Flood, Clara Hynes) in 43rd. The Bear had the best day of the Irish contingent with a 23, 38, 30 scoreline on the shifty inner course.
The championships are sponsored by the Portuguese city of Cascais, and were officially opened by Mayor Carlos Carreiras in the presence of the President and Vice President of the Municipality of Cascais.
Things had looked ominous after Day 1, with winds overnight blowing around 50 knots, but as crews left the dock for the second day of racing the breeze died completely, before shifting to the north. By the time the 75 SB20s had headed out to the racecourse, it had filled in to a fickle northerly wind of between 14-18 knots.
Rodio Luka on Trem Engineering (UKR3042) took the opening win, which he followed up with a 5th. But a 19th place in a highly unpredictable third race leaves the Ukranian Olympic medalist with two high scores and in fifth overall.
Luka commented after racing: “We had two good races the last race was.... Well, let’s just say really hard. Racing in the inside course is really random in these conditions.”
The third race turned into a game of a dice, with the wind bouncing off the shore and surrounding mountains onto the course at all angles and velocities. “We had 5-15 knots of windspeed, huge holes and massive shifts… not a race for the faint hearted!” reports Alan Hillman of SportsboatWorld (GBR 3750), adding: “I shall not be going to the casino this evening!”
Portuguese skipper José Caldeira with Uon (POR3620) won the second, and like Luka also scored a 5th today, plus a 15th, to climb up the rankings to 7th. Just behind him going into Day 3 is the top British crew, John Pollard’s Xcellent (GBR3724), who scored a 6, 20, 3.
Pollard said: “We were just really consistent all day… we managed to really read the last race and hang in at the times where it was looking bad at times, Smithy (our middle man) called it perfectly and we hung on to a third.”
The third race win went to Kevin Peponnet with Team SMC/France Jeune (FRA3580). The wind then increased to over 30 knots as the boats approached the marina, making for an entertaining end to a highly challenging day.
The overall leaders, and the only boat to have clung on to all top-10 finishes in the six races held so far, is Hugo Rocha with New Territories (RUS3711), crewed by Goncalo Barreto, Alex Semenov and Fran Palacios. They currently lead by 5 points to France Jeune (FRA3653), skippered by Gabriel Skoczek, also top Youth team.
France Jeune crew Emeric Michel said: "We had a better day on the water – it is not possible to sail perfectly because it is so shifty and hard to read, but we sailed better and have moved up to second. The team that wins this regatta will be the team that manages to minimize their mistakes."
Third is the Australian boat Export Roo with Michael Cooper. There is a big focus at this event on the Nations Cup, which will be awarded to the country with the 3 best results. Portugal currently occupies first place, from France, followed by Britain.