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18 FOOTERS: ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
Thursday, August 17, 2006 -



Warmed up by a very tough first day, the thirteen teams engaged in the Italian Grand Prix had a rough time trying to determine which set of sails would be most adapted. On the 18 footer, there is no way to reduce the sails, so you have to choose right from the start. With stormy weather, the conditions are hard to determine on Lake Como, and therefore it was hard for everyone to make the right decision.

In spite of a very windy first race (the gusts reaching 20 knots), uncomfortable even for the bravest, the wind weakened as the day went by. Among the ones who chose the small rig, (the Swiss team Uti, the Italian Velamareskiff, the German Ernst & Young, the Hungarian Blue Star and the English Whitestuff), only the British team, helmed by Mason Woodworth, managed to limit the damage and keep a good speed in spite of an evident lack of power. However, its ranking hasn’t stopped going backwards as the wind weakened (3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th), to finish 5th on the final provisional ranking, behind the Danish GP Cover, the Italian Elcotec, and the German Wet Protect. Flawless, the second best Italian team, ends up 4th, after having visibly very well recovered from the damage on the mast the day before.

With the 6th rank, only one point separating them from Whitestuff, the Swiss team 4us-CPA-Groupe E, helmed by the class secretary Patrick Chanez, realizes a nice operation, even if he stays a little disappointed by the provisory ranking. «With two 5th and a 3rd rank, after erasingour 6th place, it’s a bit hard to end up here. But we are really happy as we sailed well, especially in the first race, where it wasn’t always easy not to capsize. We also did well with tactics, we chose the right side of the lake as the wind moved to the left the whole day. » explains N°1 Quentin Freymond.

The greatest satisfaction for the Swiss team certainly is to have kept in touch with the winners of the day, the Danish from GP Covers. Being on the circuit for more than ten years, Flemming Clausen, Thomas Eblev, joined this time by Martin Friedrichsen (winner of the German Grand Prix on Ler Ole), proved their skills one more time by winning the 3rd first races, the only ones remaining after the cancellation of their worst one (4th). «We were quite doubtful at first on our choice of rig. But the wind didn’t get stronger after all. This allowed us to benefit from a very good downwind speed. It helped us counterbalance some weak starts » explained Flemming this morning.

Due to the maintaining stormy conditions on the north part of Lake Como, the four races run yesterday remain the only ones of this Italian Grand Prix. Many teams wouldn’t complain, though, after the party last night. So the unforgettable Flemming, author of a slogan of this memorable barbecue “great rig, great beer, small rig, small beer!”

http://www.18footer.org/

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