From August 23rd through August 27th Laser Performance held their second annual Collegiate Cup Clinic and Regatta. The event was hosted by Circolo Vela Torbole in Torbole, Italy. Teams from Austria, Australia, France, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands and the United States participated in the five-day event at one of the most beautiful sailing venues in the world.
The two Irish teams were IRL 1 Lindsey Watters, Dan Gill, Scott Flanigan, Lucy Bolger, Mark Bolger, Maeve Lavelle, Dan O'Beirne, Charlotte Bowen. IRL 2: Sarah Cooney, Stephen Craig, Glb Romantchik, Emma Reidy, Clara Grace Hynes, and Roisin Ryan. (Team information from Collegiate Cup website)
The first two days of the event provided the sailors with a team racing clinic coached by American team racing star and coach, Karl Zeigler, and his assistant, Olivia Crane. The coaches worked on shore and on the water to reinforce the sailors team racing skills, tactics, and strategies, as well as providing them with an understanding of how to get the most out of the 18 matched collegiate Z420’s provided by LaserPerformance.
The opening ceremony was held on Wednesday at the club, where a wonderful meal was provided for the sailors, coaches, race committee and umpires.
Following two days of the clinic, team racing for the championship began on Thursday. Torbole is well known for its favorable wind conditions. Almost every day the breeze comes in at around noon and builds to about 15kts. Racing commenced at 13:00hrs, and the wind was exactly as predicted. The professional race committee, headed by Carmelo Paroli, planned and completed one full round robin of 28 races.
After the first day of racing Italy had run the table going 7-0, followed by the US women’s team with a 6-1 record and Netherlands with a 5-2 record. The sailing was closer than the results would have someone believe and almost any of the teams could have been in the top three.
Following the day’s racing a post mortem discussion between many of the teams and the umpires further defined the parameters around how calls would be made and how issues should be resolved. Although some of the teams agreed to disagree in regard to what actually occurred on the water, they agreed further discussion should be taken while sharing a cold beverage or two.
Day two of racing started off exactly like the first day, beautiful sunshine, 12kts of breeze and a very light chop. Another complete round robin was completed in breezes from 12-15 kts. Once everyone was back on shore the results board showed some shifting in the ranks: ITA still held the lead with a score of 12-2, followed by Netherlands, and USA Women at 11-3. Austria moved to fourth with a record of 8-6. The racing was infinitely tighter on day two, and the competitors stepped it up as they progressed.
Our ambassador, Karl Zeigler delivered a wonderful talk over dinner at Circole Vela Torbole that Friday. He focused on the virtues of team racing, the lifelong friendships it creates, the friendly rivalry between teams, and how people from different cultures all come together in the spirit of this great game.
Following Karl’s presentation, the umpires and the race committee gathered the sailors to explain the final format. The fleet would be split into Gold and silver Fleets: the 4 boat Gold fleet would sail a double round robin and the 4 boat Silver fleet would sail a single round robin. Because the teams had worked so hard in the previous 2 round robins, those scores were carried into the final. Racing would commence an hour earlier on Saturday to insure competitors could make their way home in time to return to school.
On Saturday morning Circolo Vela Torbole was buzzing. All of the teams arrived early and headed out onto the water to prepare. Austria would have to run the table to win, but they had a chance. Italy and the USA looked good; they had speed, but the Dutch had continuously improved all week – so the stage was set.
The breeze came in on time at about 12kts, but continued to build as the racing continued into the day. Austria started out hot, but it wasn’t meant to be. Italy who led through the first two round robins seemed to be off their game, so it came down to the final race between USA and the Netherlands. Team USA had to beat the Netherlands to tie and force a sail off…though that wasn’t meant to be, and the Netherlands were crowned the Champions.
The Netherlands won the Zachary Leonard Trophy for the LaserPerformance Collegiate Cup with a 16-4 record, followed by the USA Women with a 14-6 record. Italy was third with a 13-7 record, and Austria rounded out the Gold Fleet with a record of 11-9.
Ireland 1 won the Silver Fleet with a 9-8 record followed by Australia with a 7-10 record. Third was Ireland 2 followed by Team France.
The “all volunteer”, but professional in action, Race Committee from Circolo Vela Torbole completed 70 races over three days in perfect team race conditions providing the sailors with a wonderful racing experience. The three umpires kept the racing fair and focused, allowing the sailors to work it out on the water. The rotation boats manned by volunteers from the club moved seamlessly between races transferring sailors back and forth without breaking stride. The Z420s were the perfect vehicle for the event having no breakdowns and requiring little to no maintenance. All in all, this event could not have been better!