We had all heard what a lovely place Riva del Garda on the North shore of the lake was but nothing prepared the families of the three boats who took the long trip to Italy for what greeted them when they arrived. What a place! Those of you who have been will know what I mean and those who have not been, should go!.
The Otters did not have any qualifiers for the British team this year (although Scarlett & Amy came close) so Scarlett Anderson in Scallywag, Joe Barr crewed by Freddie Picher in Pure Genius and Ben Barr in Whatever were the three Otter boats that joined the strong British contingent, (some 30 boats), in the Promotional Fleet. There was some training arranged by the Association for the Promotional Fleet to acclimatise themselves to the fantastic conditions and with temperatures at 30+ degrees and winds of 20+ Kts. this proved to be Prosecco sailing at its best.
Both Ben & Scarlett had new crews to work with (their regular crews unable to go). Ben and Antonia Wilkinson (from Frensham Pond sailing club) gelled immediately however Scarlett’s tiny crew from Waldringfield found the conditions too much so Scarlett ended up with Chloe Abel (the sister of the eventual world champion) from Sandy Bay Sailing Club in Tasmania.
When the event got under way on the Saturday it was Ben & Antonia who hit their stride immediately retuning to shore after three tough races with a 7th, 6th and 1st in the third race to leave him in 3rd overall overnight. Joe and Freddie laid a solid foundation with three top 20 results and Scarlett was disappointed with her first day's results due to the crew problems already mentioned.
Day 2 was more of the same for Ben and Antonia with a 2nd 5th & 4th pushing him up to 2nd o/a. Scarlett, with her new crew had a better day and Joe but for an OCS would have been better placed at the end of the day.
Day 3 dawned hot and windless (as usual) but the expected Ora wind did not really materialise. In the lighter breeze Scarlett had her best day yet with a 9th & 17th. Ben had a bad day and Joe with another OCS was not making things easy for himself, all of which meant our best placed crew going into the lay day was Ben & Antonia in 7th overall.
After a restful day ashore everyone was eager to get back afloat and most were pleased to see the Ora return for day 5. Another solid day from Scarlett with 8th, 6th & 16th moved her up the leader board, Joe consolidated his position in the high 20’s and a 26th (discarded) 14th & 10th moved Ben up one place to 6th.
So it was that with one race to go the only one of our number who could make any significant move were Ben and Antonia. They needed to beat the 5th placed boat by 2 and the 4th placed boat by 7 – a different kind of pressure to cope with, which they did admirably. After the first beat the first spinnaker to appear was the blue & white of Whatever, a position they maintained for the first lap. On the second beat Ben was overtaken but he stayed in touch and finished 2nd by not much more than a boat length. Looking back it was soon obvious to see that Ben had done enough to secure an excellent 4th Overall. Well done Ben & Antonia. Scarlett & Chloe ended up 16th and Joe & Freddie 28th.
In the World championships Jamie & Bettine Harris from Bristol Corinthian looked odds on to win with three bullets on day 2 and two seconds on day 3. However an oversight in rule interpretation on day 4 left them with a DNE pushing them down the leader board. The Championships were won by Sam Able & Hugo Allison from Sandy Bay Sailing Club in Tasmania, 2nd was Archie Penn & Hazel Whittle from Waldringfield and 3rd was Yehor Samarin, & Maksim Remez from Ukraine.
In all 121 boats went to make a great event in a fantastic venue. There can be fewer more stunning locations for a Sailing event. – “Bravo Tutti”