June 23, 2018

With a fifteenth Swiss title for Jurg Menzi, the final day of the 5.5 Metre Swiss Italian Championship was a spectacular day on Lake Como with 15-20 knots of warm southerly keeping the fleet on their toes and providing some exceptional racing. SUI 228 Marie Françoise XIX (Jurg Menzi, Jurgen Eiermann, Christof Wilke) took the championship in style, winning the final two races, the last one by a huge margin.

The wind built during the day from 12-14 knots in the first race to around 20 later in the day. It was tough, but great racing throughout the fleet, including among the five classic boats that were taking part.

Marie Françoise XIX was the pace setter in the first race of the day, Race 4, but was caught downwind by BAH 22 John B (Gavin McKinney, Mathias Dahlman, Bjorn Hansen) who then controlled from the front to take the bullet. But the Swiss team then stamped their authority on the fleet by leading the next two races from start to finish, showing good starting, good tactics and impressive speed.

Despite a few mishaps including a bad broach in Race 5 and a terrible start in Race 6, SUI 251 New Moon (Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) held on to second overall with a 3,3,2 while SUI 214 Caracole (Bernard Haissly, Nicolas Berthoud) sailed a 4,2,3 to move up to third overall.

Menzi explained the day.

“Today we had three races in very moderate air. About 20 knots. Very fair sailing.”

"In the first one we finished second and the second and third race, first, so the worst place we had was a third place. So we are very confident about our effort here. It was a really nice championship for us.”

“The last we won was three years ago, but in total we have won it about 15 times now.”

Looking ahead to the World Championship in Cowes in August, he said, “In Cowes we hope to be also with the very best boats and everything is open but it is different sailing with a lot of current and it also depends on the wind. Perhaps we think we will be the favourites there and we will also be sailing the Gold Cup for Switzerland. We won the Gold Cup last year in Benodet. We hope we can do the same thing in Cowes. It would be nice.”

The defending world champions will be John B from The Bahamas. Gavin McKinney said on today, “It was a little bit lighter than yesterday and that seemed to suit us better as we are quite a light crew. We got off the line well and played the small shifts well and then we were second at the weather mark and had a very good downwind leg and got past Jurg, and we led the rest of the race which was nice.”

“In the second race with about four minutes to go our outhaul broke so we did the best we could and got it semi fixed and were abut 15 seconds late for the start, but never really got it tight so we suffered in the second and third races.”

“We are happy with our speed but it really was a regatta about the little things counting a lot. It was nice to win at least one race"

On the worlds, “Jurg looks like he is going very fast, so it was nice to beat him in one race but he won here and deserved to win, and we look forward to try and get that little bit of extra to give him a challenge in Cowes. It will be very different there with all the current, but we are looking forward to it as always.”

At the championship dinner Friday night at the host club, AVAL CDV, the Classic 5.5 Volpina, ITA 33, (owned by Fabrizio Cavazza) was presented with an award for the most Classic boat of the regatta by the Associazione Scafi D'Epoca E Classici (ASDEC), an organisation dedicated to preserving the legacy of classic yachts.

Volpina was judged to be the most traditionally classic and well maintained 5.5 at the regatta, with the most originally classic characteristics.

There were five Classic 5.5 Metres racing this week, four from Italy and one from Switzerland. The Classic configuration is how the boats were sailed during the class’s time at the Olympics, and up until 1970.

It has been a great inaugural Swiss Italian Championship in Gravedona with typically awesome Italian hospitality. The next major event on the circuit is the combined Dutch German championship, this year being held within Travemunder Woche at the end of July.

Top 5
1 SUI 228 Marie Françoise XIX (Jurg Menzi, Jurgen Eiermann, Christof Wilke) 7
2 SUI 251 New Moon (Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 10
3 SUI 214 Caracole (Bernard Haissly, Nicolas Berthoud) 15
4 BAH 22 John B (Gavin McKinney, Mathias Dahlman, Bjorn Hansen, Modern) 17
5 SUI 126 Feng Shui (Arend Jan Pasman, Ron Anzier, Kim Chabani) 28

Full results: avalcdv.com/it/calendario-regate-2018/

See Facebook and Flickr for many more photos.