July 2, 2013
After 3 years of tweaking and a Winter of serious changes Eilean is finally up there and performing. Not least due to the hard work of the crew this last week, 5 of Eileans’ angels on board, that saw 2 practise days and 4 days of racing in the Gulf of Naples.
Joining our class were a number of fellow Fife designs including the Big Boat ‘Mariquita’, the Marconi cutter ‘Hallowe’en’ and the 12-Metre ‘Vanity V’. There was stiff competition from the Sparkman and Stevens yawl ‘Manitou’ and 2 more 12-Metre yachts completed the class, ‘Emilia’ and ‘La Spina’.
On our first day of racing we were hopeful but after three quarters of the race we finally submitted to gear failure and retired from the race. We were gifted with the strongest breeze of the season so far, around 15 knots true, and the new main winch was unable to take the additional loads. Back to the drawing board. Luckily we organized for the old main halyard winch, stuck in the container in Viareggio, to be delivered that night and first thing in the morning it was duly fitted ready for another days racing.
The second day took us way out towards Capri, a 13 mile upwind leg followed by 13 miles downwind. Certainly a test for ones attention span and one we were ready for. Frano, the tactician, read perfectly a beautiful lift off the Sorrento shoreline that found us surprisingly close to ‘Hallowe’en’ after the windward mark. The big gennaker was set along with the mizzen staysail and we headed off downwind. 2 gybes later and after over 4 hours of racing we crossed the finish line, only to find out later that we had won our first 1st place since Eilean’s restoration back in 2009.
Now the pressure was on to confirm it wasn’t a fluke! The next day saw us racing a triangular course within the bay twice around. We had a good start until ‘Mariquita’ painfully rolled over the top of us leaving us standing upright in her dirty air. Fortunately we made it round the first mark in behind ‘Hallowe’en’ and headed out to the right for the upwind leg. Another shift taken advantage of saw us close in on ‘Hallowe’en’ with ‘Manitou’ right there as well. ‘Manitou’ rounded first, ‘Hallowe’en’ and then us and while ‘Mantiou’ and ‘Halowe’en’ fought for clear air we took the more direct line and managed to be in front of them both by the windward mark. We held position on the next leg only to lose out to the shift on the beat this time around. Finally we came in 2nd on corrected time.
All down to the last day we were keen to keep up the good work especially as we had Panerai CEO Mr Bonati on board and we were keen to impress. We took part in the parade in the morning that took us around Castel del Ovo and then proceeded 8 miles out to the downwind start-line. We had our third great start in a row and led the fleet into the bay. A great tussle between us and ‘Hallowe’en’ ensued down the coastline and we changed position a number of times with the faster ‘Hallowe’en’ eventually pulling out in front. A short but exciting day with all crew 100% focused and we were rewarded with not only beating ‘Mariquita’ on the water but our second 1st position of the week, by 28 seconds on corrected time!
‘Manitou’ was to win overall due to us having the same results in three out of four races and therefore our discard counted which was our day of gear failure and retirement.
Either way the point has been made. Eilean is back fighting fit and ready for the next regatta.
We now head to Sicily for the Panerai World Meeting where our colleagues have a chance to enjoy some sailing and after only 3 days there we head on to Barcelona where we will be based for the next month.