Tactical challenges at Garda Grand Slam

Torbole3_045 LOWThe second SB20 European Grand Slam event of the 2014 season was held from 23 to 25 May at Circolo Vela Torbole on Lake Garda, a favourite venue amongst all the crews. Not only was this the club where 110 boats contested the 2010 Worlds, but the fleet will return next year for the 2015 World Championships, from 6 to 10 July 2015.

Twenty-seven boats from Italy, UK, Russia, France Portugal and Germany competed, including champions from not only the SB20 class, but also the Star, J/24 and Melges 24 classes, and Alexia Barrier, who recently came a very credible third in the AG2R Figaro Transatlantic Race.

The Torbole racecourse is always a challenge, and for those with aspirations for next year’s Worlds, it was an important chance to get a feel for the racecourse. Many theories are abound: some say go hard left, some say hard right – very few people – especially after this regatta – will suggest choosing the middle.

Seven races were contested over three days. The first day saw very light airs and, after the race officer got the fleet out for a late start at about 4.30pm, one race was completed and a second abandoned halfway through in a failing breeze. For Day 2, the race officer suggested an 8.30am start in the northerly breeze to make up for the lost races. Many of the great and the good of the class swiftly rejected this idea, and reverted to the usual 1.00pm Garda start time. The classic Ora breeze was in and enabled four great races to be sailed, after which the fleet enjoyed a dinner at the club laid upon by one of the local Italian restaurants. Day 3 was rounded off with two races.

Consistency was key and few teams managed to keep a high score off their cards. In the end the team that came out on top was ‘M Team’ from Russia, sailed by Alexey Murasmkin, Egor Ignatenko and Kirrill Frolov. Despite a little wobble in the middle of their series, they rounded off Day 3 with two wins to emerge as winners by 2 points ahead of the consistent Italian teams of Mario Brenco and Nicolo Bianchi. The British teams, despite some strong showing at times and three race wins, lacked the consistency to challenge.

After another great event, the Grand Slam circuit now moves onto Kiel in July, before a Cowes Week Grand Slam in August and this year’s World Championships in St Petersburg from 8 to 12 September, 2014.


1st RUS 3708 Murasmkin Alexey, Maschio, Frolov Kirill, Ignatenko Egor

2nd ITA 3578 Brenco Carlo Mario, Maschio, C. Fracassoli, N. Dal Ferro, M.Pagani

3rd ITA 3620 Niccolð Bianchi, Maschio, Pietro Negri, Cristian Ferro

4 ITA 3099 Paulin Gian Matteo, Maschio, Mazzotti Michele, Celli Cristina

5 GBR 3044 John Polland, Maschio, Rob Smith, Steve Procter

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