Ignore the results you see online(due to our punishing CIM rating) because this is absolutely no reflection of how we were actually doing. On Friday we finished third on the water in a breeze more suited to the five Sparkman & Stephen yawls in our class. A good start followed by some good tactical decisions kept us in front of our slippery rivals and it was great to continue into the second day with some great sailing in light airs. The last day was more about luck with big holes of no wind appearing everywhere. Cambria, out in front, found the breeze close ashore and flew to victory while everybody else was trying to get above a knots boat speed.
It was my first time at Argentario Sailing Week and I look forward to many more.
We are currently stern to in Porto Santo Stefano for the next Panerai regatta – Argentario Sailing Week. 12 race crew arrived yesterday (Tuesday 11th June) and all except one have sailed on Eilean in the past so we have a great team on board. Today we went out for our first day of race training with our sail maker, Guido Cavalazzi and we experimented with headsail combinations again before some downwind gybing. We had the most breeze so far this year with a constant 10 to 14 knots and with the rail in the water we managed to salt water wash the teak decks! a few photos of the day.
The final day of Les Voiles D’Antibes kept true with the previous days by giving us light air conditions and plenty of tacking and gybing up the Cap D’Antibes shoreline.
As often occurs on the last day of a regatta everything finally came together for us. We had a great start with reasonable boat speed and shortly after tacked inland to take advantage of the stronger breeze along the shore. Mr Bonati took the helm for the day and at the windward mark we went straight into a gybe-set where we hoisted the gennaker and mizzen staysail. The crew worked well together and while we dodged the anchored ‘stinkpots’ we threw in a gybe to take us straight onto the lay-line for the leeward mark. The drop and the setting of the upwind sails for the next leg was done in an efficient fashion as we came back on the wind for our final beat of this weeks racing. The mighty Cambria was trucking downwind on starboard and as her towering spinnaker became ominously close we bore off a few degrees to keep the two Fife designs from meeting. We finished off with another gybe-set at the windward mark and soaked down to the finish line seconds behind the quick ‘Skylark’.
A good day had by all and a lovely way to finish off the regatta.
Our new sails have performed well and it has been a week of tweaking and trying different sail combinations to find out what works and what does not. One thing for sure though – our upwind pointing ability has improved substantially. Our next Panerai event is in Porto Santo Stefano – Argentario Sailing Week – where another high turnout is expected and we plan to refine our sailing once again…
With 74 classic yachts of all shapes and sizes (20 more than their previous best), Les Voiles D’Antibes is proving that the crisis may actually be helping them!
The mistral blew in the days leading up to the regatta but has left in its trail a zone of low pressure and consequently little wind. In the last 3 days we have had no more than 10 knots, often thermal, and for Eilean it has meant a slow start to the season. Yesterday, the third day of racing, Eilean’s 14-strong crew pulled together to battle against the challenging light airs only for the breeze to drop out and our eventual retirement from the race. Positively, our new sails are performing well with a better upwind tacking angle of around 30 degrees to the wind and the mast is staying in column with the new jumper strut in place. Now we just have to see how she will perform in a slightly stronger breeze but it’s likely that we will have to wait until another regatta for that.
Last day today – the sun is hot, the sea is oily flat, the wind is non-existent! Time to start whistling up the wind Gods and bending on the biggest sails in the wardrobe.