Notts County Sailing Club Como Eurocup Report.
What started off as a “do you fancy going to the Eurocup?” back in December 2016 soon rolled into a full, well quarter of the fleet, Notts County on tour outing.
Flights for the ladies, Philippa & Cath, accommodation for four booked in early January we eagerly awaited the date. Later on during the year word got round the fleet of the trip and more crews showed their interest eventually ending with 5 boats in total. Moira & Martin Hart, Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith & Ken Twemlow, John Hobson & Matt Reynolds. In total we had made up a quarter of the RS400 fleet for the event.
Come the Thursday before the event crews and boats started to make their way to Italy, John, Lisa & Matt leaving first with a trailer carrying 6 boats were first to set off, Paul & James followed on the Friday with a double stacker kindly loaned from Martin Gunn, Ken was already in Italy with Sue on holiday so had taken his and Martin’s boats on a double stacker the week before. The ladies including Cath, Kathryn and Philippa leaving by airplane on Saturday and Martin & Moira also travelling by air from a different airport. A fairly uneventful trip was had by James and Paul, opting for the tunnel followed by a cruise down France through the Mont Blanc tunnel eventually arriving at Gravedona on Saturday lunchtime. John, Matt & Lisa having a more eventful and stressful journey had arrived the day before, Ken and Sue arriving from their holiday in Champoluc were also on site and raring to go. Cath, Philippa, Kathryn, Martin & Moira also arrived, the ladies courtesy of an airport pick up by Ken and Sue and Martin & Moira via train and bus. The scene was set for a great weeks sailing.
Sunday arrived boats were rigged, briefing given by the Gravedona race team and a practice race arranged for the RS400 fleet for 2:30 in the afternoon. The previous night we had discussed what the sailing was like with an RS100 sailor who had been there a couple of days, “great, windy but not too windy”, excellent we thought. Sundays practice race went well, the whole fleet went out had a nice race and came back to shore, unfortunately the launch ramp was very slippery and one of the crew slipped and broke her wrist, they had won the practice race, often thought of as being bad luck, clearly coming to fruition on this occasion. Sunday evening saw the opening ceremony, attended by the Gravedona Mayor, flags of all competing nations raised (most the right way up!)a brief playing of the National anthems and speeches, all very civilised. Followed by a barbecue, or to quote the club president “let us now go and eat some meat”. Polenta anyone????
Monday: Monday was the first day of official racing, but Sunday night had seen a terrific thunderstorm, which for those camping in the “jungle” had resulted in great trauma and a distinct lack of sleep. Stories of vast floods, pestilence, trees crashing down, babies crying, people screaming etc. were regaled as we waited for the racing to start, it must have been bad we managed to hear it through our double glazing. Racing basically didn’t happen on Monday, the wind was set from the North blowing around 20Knots and gusting upwards, the AP flag was raised and nothing much happened apart from much boat bumbling. A pair of RS500’s went as crash test dummies to test conditions, only one returned, racing was abandoned for the day. Those of us in apartments took pity on Kathryn and Matt, and gave them a dry quiet bed to assure a good nights sleep.
Tuesday: Tuesday promised a better day, we set off for a drift up the lake following the committee boat, Cath and Paul breaking their spinnaker halyard on the first spinnaker launch on the way up the lake and so missing the first race by returning to shore changing it and still managing to sail back to start the second race, shows how long the fleet waited for wind. However the wind did arrive and set in from a Northerly direction, 3 races having been run, the results came out. Matt & John leading the NCSC fleet with 6th, 7th & 8th, followed by James & Philippa, Ken & Kathryn, Martin & Moira then Paul & Cath, who had missed the first race. After a beer at the bar all retired to their respective abodes for an early night ready for Wednesday.
Wednesday: Wednesday started with a brunch at Moira & Martin’s followed by a day hanging around the dinghy park, no wind all day, however, we did get to play some games organised by Kathryn for the whole of the RS fleets, won by an English team. A fuddle followed at the Logan/Reynolds apartment and a very enjoyable evening was had by all, with no sore heads in the morning honest.
Thursday: Thursday started in typical Gravedona fashion, we had complained/suggested to the organisers the previous evening that as there seems to be plenty of wind in the morning, why don’t we start early? Say 9am? Get 3 races done and then we can do something in the afternoon? They listened and delivered, we would start at 12:00 rather than 13:00. Which effectively meant they could raise the AP flag earlier. Again another wait followed by a drift to the start, followed by a wait for breeze, which did come but only just enough to run 2 races, followed by a drift back that resulted in the majority of the fleet being towed back. Results had not really changed from the Tuesday apart from Paul & Cath moved above Martin & Moira. Thursday night was the Dutch party night and a barbecue, but we all decided that we would have our own barbecue hosted by Ken & Sue on the beach at the “jungle” campsite, we all wore orange, in honour of the Dutch, another great night had by all, Ken’s sausage was a beaut!!!
Friday: Friday was the last day of racing with an early start (12:00), but what’s this, no AP flag, the delta flag is up, better get a wiggle on. Obviously the race committee knew more than we did? A gentle sail to the race area ensued, we floated and waited for about an hour, and then a breeze line appeared from the South and moved down the lake to where we were waiting, we’re on!!! The wind picked up to a steady force 4 gusting 5 direction hardly shifted all afternoon, perfect. 3 races run back to back, a lot of smiling faces, if only it had been like that all week? Apparently “it normally is, steady from the South”, something to do with it being cloudy in Milan and hot in the mountains or was it the other way round? Who cares. Friday was great. Results stayed the same John Matt first NCSC boat were 9th Ken & Kathryn 10th James and Philippa 12th Paul & Cath 15th Martin & Moira 17th. Beer and derigging followed, packing boats loading trailers etc. and the prize giving for the RS100, RS200, RS400 Eurocups and the RS500 World Champions announced. As we were all leaving on Saturday morning we all went off to different restaurants for dinner, and an early night. Kathryn having to be on a plane at 6am to get to London for the big ride London bike ride was last seen disappearing with an Italian professional sailor who had kindly offered her a lift- “What happens on tour stays on tour” Kathryn’s mantra for the week!
Saturday, saw all sailors and crews heading off home via a variety of means, Cath & Philippa even taking public transport successfully. All arrived back safe and the majority of the boats were back at NCSC for Sunday.
On reflection, was it a fabulous trip? Yes without doubt, excellent sailing when the wind came in, excellent venue, beautiful scenery and a great bunch of people to be round for a full week. Would we do it again? Yes I think all would go again without a hesitation. Weymouth is the venue next year, so not so far to travel, almost guaranteed wind and another great venue. We will all hopefully be there, who else will be coming? Moira is already looking for a large house for us all to stay in!!!
Links below to results and photographs
Report Paul Reynolds, along with photos below (don’t see much sailing!!!)