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2017 Riva Cup

Mike Holt and Carl Smit win.

2017 505 Riva Cup

Sunny skies and great breezes made for the perfect playground for 45 5O5’s at the 2017 edition of the Riva Cup and Italian leg of the Euro Cup. Sailed from the Fraglia Vela Riva on the Northern end of Lake Garda an almost indescribably perfect venue, racing took place over 3 days from May 25th to the 27th. Seven countries made up the entry, from Australia, USA and Canada as well as all across Europe. The fleet also consisted of most of the top teams from around the World with many passed World Champions in attendance. The fleet also contained many former Olympic sailors and World and National Champions from other classes.

Day one was raced on the classic Southerly Ora wind, with three races sailed in around 15-20 knots. At the end of the day American team of Howie Hamlin and Jeff Nelson had a narrow lead with a very consistent 6,4,3 score ahead of compatriots Mike Holt and Carl Smit with Germany’s Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kliener chasing them in third. Other notable performances came from Canadian team of Bob Tennabt and Steve Bourdow winning race 1 and Christian Kellner and Martin Schoeler winning race 3.

Day 2 followed with similar but slightly stronger conditions and ‘14/’15 World Champion’s Holt and Smit grabbed hold of the event with a 1,2,1 score line to move into a sizeable lead overall. Hunger and Kleiner had moved up to 2nd with Hamlin and Nelson dropping to 3rd. The second race of the day went to the German team of Jan Phillip Hoffman and Felix Brocjerhoff with some great downwind sailing, powering into the lead sailing down the Eastern shore on the final run.

SO to the final day, Holt and Smit have a sizeable lead but a sloppy race 1 gives them a high score discard so any further slip could be costly and open the door. Which is exactly what they do in race 7. The breeze having not fully established a good Port bias exists, but as everyone knows, you go right in Garda. The fleet is deeply split and spread across the line. As the first beat starts the breeze swings back to the right and boats that started at the starboard end and tack now have a sizable lead over the pin end starters. Hamlin and Nelson lead but lose out at the finish to the German team of Julian Stueckl and Johanness Tellen. With Holt/Smit back in 12th and Hunger/Kleiner in 8th the gap at the top has narrowed. The final race started in strong breeze with the three leading boats starting at the committee boat and tacking onto port as soon as they could. A long drag race to the windward mark then ensued with Holt and Smit showing the speed that had already chalked up 3 wins to have a big lead at the first mark. They were chased all the way around by Stefan Boehm and Gerald Roos but never put under pressure to pull off and emphatic victory. Hamlin and Nelson’s final day 2, 3 was good enough to move them up to second with Hunger and Kleiner having to settle for third.

A fantastic three days of racing with good race management from the host club and I am pretty certain no one came away disappointed by the classic Garda conditions.

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