Brits on song

At the Skiff Pro Tour grand prix on Lake Garda

Saturday August 24th 2002, Author: Frank Gauss, Location: Italy

At the second day of the Italian Grand Prix of the 2002 Skiff Pro Tour 70 Sailors were up at 7am to prepare their boats for today's regatta on Lake Garda. At 8.30 the 27 Skiffs crossed the start line in perfect wind conditions. Lots of spectators were fascinated by 18ft and 14ft Skiffs and enjoyed watching the races between the top favourites, some local Italian heroes and some strong contenders from Great Britain.

Leaders Mettler Toledo from Denmark with skipper Michael Hestbek, defended their position well winning two out of the five races. Good starts and sound boat handling was the key to their success. The strong Swiss team on Model with Olympic participant Tom Rüegge on board was not able to catch the Danes, although they did finally win the fifth heat.

The English Team Computacenter with skipper John Bennett also put in a good performance today with very good starts and a third and a first place. A successful premier for the boat in the 2002 Skiff Pro Tour.

The lighter conditions in the afternoon seemed to suit the Italian Team Elcotec. The local heroes took great advantage of their local knowledge and did very well in the flukey conditions thrown up on the famous Italian lake. In the last heat Stefano Lagi and his crew passed Mettler Toledo to take their first win this season. Pablo Soldano on the fellow Italian boat Team Flawless was not able to keep up with the top teams and finished today's regatta in 14th position.

Tomorrow will decide the winner of the Italian Grand Prix and will see if any teams are capable of taking on the might of Mettler Toledo.

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