Regatta 4: Showdown without a bang
At the beginning of November, the GC32 Racing Tour made its last stop of the season in Spain.
The GC32 Mar Menor Cup in San Pedro del Pinatar was a worthy finale for the GC32 racing circus with ideal conditions.
The stage was set for absolutely thrilling races, as it had become clear over the past events that the various teams were on a par with each other, as every now and then a different boat emerged as the winner from a race. At the same time, the top four teams were only three points apart. A lot could still happen.
Set-up in best time
The Black Star Sailing Team arrived in San Pedro del Pinatar later than usual. But very experienced and speedy in setting up our boat, we were in the water in record time and were the first team to start training on Sunday morning. Our efforts were rewarded with perfect conditions: Flat water and constant wind enabled us to further optimise our procedures in many manoeuvres.
Unfortunately, the new week began with a change in the weather. The strongly decreasing winds not only put a spanner in the works for us, but especially for those teams who had planned their training sessions from Monday onwards.
Day of thunder
Usually, regatta events are started with so-called practice races, which are launched the day before the actual competitions. They serve, among other things, as practice for the local race committee in setting courses and buoys, and of course to go through the tricky starting procedure.
Wednesday with the Practice Races was stormy with no prospect of the weather calming down. As the Mar Menor remains quite flat even in stronger winds due to its sheltered location, the race committee decided to attempt a start. With the small jib we raced to the starting area. Then the wind freshened up even more and the otherwise already quite speedy foiling became a fast and wild ride in the shallow saltwater lagoon. With the measured top speed of 37.8 knots (70 km/h), we were literally speeding over the water. Some teams returned to the marina. We decided to reef the mainsail to reduce the sail area even more and decided to wait and see. A little later the winds dropped temporarily and we were able to hold a valid trial race with the remaining teams Red Bull Sailing and Rockwool.
Last days on the water
In surprisingly good conditions, we were able to start the last event of the 2021 season on Thursday morning. With two second places and one heat win, the opening races went according to plan. After that, the winds changed again. Equal on points with Alinghi in the lead, the first day ended very well for us.
Unfortunately, we were not able to keep up our pace from the first day on Friday and Saturday. With a bit more wind, we suddenly had trouble finding the right trim and the optimal boat speed. With this high level of sailing and close racing in this class, even the smallest mistake is punished. Nevertheless, we were able to improve noticeably compared to the first event this year and defend our place on the podium.
The last day was again scheduled very early by the race organisers, as the weather forecasts did not show a clear trend. We started in light winds and demonstrated our skills once again. We crossed the finish line before everyone else and immediately prepared for the next start. The wind was still light, but decreasing, and with shifts and holes. In the second race we had a duel with Alinghi, taking turns in the lead. It was nerve-wracking as the going was slow. We sailed towards the finish with a lead, but didn’t manage to reach the finish line within the regulated time limit of 35 minutes because of about 5 seconds. The whole race was cancelled right under our noses. As the wind was only getting weaker and the forecasts did not promise any improvement, the race committee decided to end the event after the cancelled second race. Thus, the 2021 GC32 season ended with a race win for Black Star Sailing.
In the GC32 Mar Menor Cup we achieved second place and were able to finish the season as third overall on the podium. We are very happy about this result and our progress.
Congratulations to Team Alinghi for winning the GC32 Raicing Tour again, and to Red Bull Sailing for finishing second and winning the World Championship. We thank them and all the other teams for the many great moments on and off the water. There was always a fair fight, and people always helped each other in emergency situations or with repairs, so that all teams can go into the winter break without any major damage.
We would also like to thank the tour management, the various local race organizers and last but not least all the helpers in the background, without whom events of this magnitude would not even be possible.
The campaign of the Black Star Sailing Team with all the expenses, the trainings, the trips and the participation in the Racing Tour would be impossible without our sponsors and partners. Therefore, our biggest thanks go to moyreal, WEY-Technology, Tavannes Watches, Rooster Sailing, Sponser Sport Food, multisign and Daniel Bieri Creativ Unlimited.
The container is now back in Switzerland and we are starting to plan the winter training, the maintenance and upkeep of the boats, container and materials, and of course the planning for the 2022 season.
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