Team Pica continues to grab the headlines on the 18' Skiff scene. Last year's winners of the UK Grand Prix Series, they are intent on retaining that title as well as making their mark on the European Grand Prix Series.
With James Mears on the helm, Andy Ramus on the main and Stewart Mears on the bow, a start was made on retaining the UK title with a win at Stone, being the first of five events in the series.
It will take determination, as well as a desire to travel, to add the European Grand Prix title to their collection. Their campaign started at Travemuende in Germany with a three day event, 24th to 27th July, followed by a lay day spent travelling to Sonderberg in Denmark, for a further three day event, 29th July to 1st August.
The conditions at Travemuende were variable with rough conditions on the first day, strong winds and high waves, causing some majestic capsizes. Team Pica's win came in the third race of that day when they were the only boat to finish, despite a team member with a broken finger.
Part of the skill in sailing these skiffs lies in the choice of rig, considering that day's forecast. Only the Hungarians, recently crowned European Champions, chose the full rig on the second day and they paid the price in the first two races both of which were won by Team Pica. Diminishing wind strength in the third race favoured the Hungarians with their big rig but Pica ended the day ahead with 22 points, three points ahead of the Danish team in GP Covers.
The forecast for the third day proved correct and the light winds resulted in a delayed start until 17:00. Team Pica prefers stronger conditions but, nevertheless, ended at the top of the leader board, five points ahead of the Danish team.
With light winds predicted for the first day at Sonderheim, Team Pica finished in third place, behind the predicted opposition from the Danes and the Hungarians but the greater wind strengths predicted for the following day would be in their favour.
With boats capsizing all around, Team Pica managed a win in the first race but could not hold off the Danes in GP Covers, who were the eventual winners of the event, with Pica in second place and the European Champions in third.