A real mix of foiling craft competed for bragging rights in the Long Distance Races at Foiling Week 2015 over the weekend of fourth – 5th July at Lake Garda. Saturday was hot and steamy all day with very patchy breeze and too light to race long distance but ideal conditions for sailors to test sail the variety of foiling craft on display. All around the boat park at Fraglia Vela sailors, builders and designers were checking out the foilers on display.
Racing on Sunday was rescheduled for an early start to try and take advantage of the morning ‘Peler’ breeze. Another warm humid morning with just enough breeze to sail a 22 nm course starting from Fraglia Vela taking in mark roundings off Capo Reamol, Malcesine and Campeone with a finish off Fraglia Vela. But the usually reliable ‘Peler‘ only built to around 12 knots before shutting down by midday.
Two kite boarders from Australia, Torvar Mirsky and Jordan Girdis shot out into an early lead followed by the Moths and a variety of multihulls and prototypes.
“In the first 10 seconds we were higher and faster by 50 meters and then you never look back.” claimed kite rider Jordan.
There were light patches all over the Lake and it became a tactical battle to stay in the best breeze. The lead Kites split sides of the Lake and rolled the dice, resulting in lead changes a few times but the long downwind leg resulted in Western Australian, Torvar Mirsky just beating his Australian rival by a few seconds to finish in just under an hour.
Torvar Mirsky describes the scene:
“Jordan and I got away from the Moths and cats upwind and did about three quarters of the course in about 20 minutes but then the wind was dying and we spent the next 25 minutes trading places as to who had wind or not and battling to make it through the finish line.”
“Fortunately the Kites were able to finish before the wind died and Jordan and I had a photo finish which was quite a fitting way for us to end this regatta.”
“I have had a lot of fun here, this Foiling Week concept is great, the venue is great, the organization is spot on so we have had such a pleasant time here.”
Jordan sums up his second place:
“There is no doubt that Lake Garda is the best destination in the world for sailing and today has shown that again. It was a tricky course with lots of shifts and patches with not quite enough wind. But after 22 miles Torvar and I finished almost at the same time.
“Usually our races are around 12 minutes long, so you don’t have a lot of chance to pick shifts on a lake. It was quite cool because we were crossing to the sides of the lake and meeting in the middle so it was fun to see who got the best shifts.
“I think this is one of the best locations in the world for kiting because its consistent wind from two different directions a day. The race management, facilities and organization on the shore are excellent. We love it here.”
The Moths had their own class fight for line honours. Swiss sailor David Holenweg lead the Moth fleet from Limone to Campeone but found a hole to park up. British sailor David Hivey recovered from a bad start to pick through patches of breeze to snatch the lead. Meanwhile Rory Fitzpatrick (IRE) found a hole on the downwind leg from Malcesine allowing David Hivey to get clear.
David Hivey explains:
“It was a difficult race, I had a terrible start, I didn’t start until a minute after the gun. But it was really light with lots of holes so all the other boats showed me where the wind was and every time they dropped off the foils I stayed in the band of pressure in the middle.”
“I caught up and had a battle with Rory but then lost the wind and reached up and down the lake but finally I found a pressure band and grabbed the lead to hold to the finish. As a venue it is amazing and I’d recommend it to everybody.”
In the battle between the Flying Phantoms, Francois Gabart and Bryan Mettraux were first to finish.
Francois describes his race:
“It was quite good at the start we raced in 12-14 knots but at the end the breeze died, it was quite difficult because the wind was unstable and when we were in first place it’s hard to keep control of the others but we managed to keep in some pressure to the end. We managed to keep the kite on the first downwind when the Flying Phantoms behind were with less wind and no kites. We have had a lot of fun, it’s a great place, perfect conditions for us with flat water and good winds most of the time.”
Will Sunnucks (GBR) was the first prototype sailing White Bear, a multihull using an M20 hull. White Bear is a foiling project that is part of the Vampire Project.
First Kite overall: AUS 3 Torvar Mirsky
First Moth overall: GBR 4115 David Hivey
First Multihull overall: FRA 7 Francois Gabart/Bryan Mettraux
First Prototype overall: GBR1 Vampire – Will Sunnucks