18s Garda bound

Peter Barton Previews the fourth round of the European Grand Prix at Lake Garda

Wednesday August 10th 2005, Author: Peter Barton, Location: United Kingdom
21 18 foot Skiffs from every corner of Europe are set to descend on Lake Garda for the fourth round of the 2005 European Grand Prix making this the second largest Skiff gathering in the World this year following the JJ Worlds in Sydney in February.

The 21 teams represent no less than 10 nations across Europe and Oz demonstrating the truly International competition in Europe currently.

The biggest entry comes from Germany with five teams headed by Werner Gieser of Pure Atmosphere looking to defend his Garda title from last year. Werner practices the central European school of thought by using one rig with two suits of sails, rather than two complete rigs. This largely unfavoured set up powered him to success in 2004 when in the dying wind of the double scoring long distance race he had the extra horsepower to reach the front by the time the fat lady sang after the rest of the fleet had cautiously selected their baby rigs. Could be a different story in a full Garda ‘Ora’ froth up.

Italy has the second largest entry with local boys Velemareskiff keen to shine under the cliffs that create the ‘Amphitheatre of Campione’. RSG the red Skiff from Naples are surely the keenest players on the Euro Tour this year but yet to find their form.

The Danes travel from the far north with two boats including last years Eurocup champion Flemming Clausen and crew in GP Covers. Slowly getting their new boat up to pace this year these are ones to watch, especially in the fresh breeze.

A sole UK team ventures across the channel in the form of Peter Barton and Martin Borrett’s Barron & Smithers with Musto Skiff hot shot Ian Turnbull plying his trade up front. Going from strength to strength this season after a win at Travemunde, Germany and second in the Sardinia European Championships. Can they go one further and achieve back to back European victories in the sailing mecca of Europe?

Then there are the Swiss. Neutral in war but when it comes to 18’s this Nation has an awesome armoury. The B18's now prohibited outside mainland Europe (were there is a ‘Murray’ design one design rule) are still permitted on the European tour. Resembling a 18 foot 49er these sharp nosed ‘weapons’ have the lethal potency to produce the goods in the right conditions, and provided they keep their bow up, watch out for Exel

Other Nations include strong entries from Hungary, Nederlands, Austria, France and Australia. Tight start lines, close tacking 18’s under the cliffs, fresh breezes, wild reaches, bikini loaded beaches, long distance races, sun, and all washed down with copious quantities of Italian cuisine. Who will be Skiff champion of Garda in 2005?

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