Musto Skiff


Venue : Dongo

Doubts blown away

Arriving at Dongo in front of the Marvelia Skiffsailing Club on Friday 7th of September first familiar thing to notice has been a long silver VW-Caddy with Swiss origin that looked familiar.

Around 2pm, clear sky, bright sun, and thermal breeze just seemed to slowly kick in. Second thing to notice: two MUSTO Skiffs ready to sail on the slip and just a few minutes later I shaked hands with Nicolas ready for launching. The night before has been too short and disruptive for myself, but my tiredness was just swept away and replaced by anticipation of a nice afternoon sail once I would have set up my MUSTO.

Also my doubts were just blown away caused 17 hours before when packing the MUSTO on to the trailer after a few stressful working days. The reason has been a maybe typical scenario: finally packed and ready to head off: I noticed that both backlights lefthand-side (of my trailer as well as of my car) were out of function.

Since it has been 7pm with sunset soon to come and heavy rain in the forecast, I thought that neither traversing the alps by night in very poor visibility (heavy rain, potentially fog/low clouds) with broken lights, nor fixing the problem in the dark in heavy rain is a good option. So decision was made – will try to find some food, then have a sleep in my 4.20m-long ‘campervan’, and fixing the problem next morning.

Friday: relaxing afternoon practice-sail With a few others on the water already since an hour, at 3.30 pm I finally could go out for a practice-sail as well. Once out of the lull directly at the club the thermal breeze approved being relatively mild but steady, just strong enough for stretching high in the trapeze on all courses – easy sailing conditions, perfect for the day … life is good (sometimes). Somewhere between Dongo and Dervio I met Roger, Pierre-Ives, Martin and Nicolas, and we could compare for boat speed upwind and downwind in these conditions. While the SUI-guys went ashore after this round, Martin and me headed upwind another time for another round – but half way to Dervio Martin gave indication that we should return to the harbor since the wind may drop very quickly very soon. Martin was right – the wind dropped, but we just were lucky enough to have a mild breeze back to Dongo.

Weather as ordered for all three days

The follow days just can be summarized as: nice location, perfect weather, tight racing in excellent sailing conditions, cordial club atmosphere, tasty food, good drinks and good spirit.

Day 1:

Sweltering in the sun at noon while preparing the boats for the races: with indication for southerly wind to start soon, the race committee sent us out in the lull a bit behind schedule. An hour later during first round of the first race the wind still hesitated a bit but more and more increased during second lap. Now the following three races where just in perfect conditions. I wouldn’t be able say how much knots of wind we had but certainly enough for a >90kg to hang low and stretch legs and have good speed. For myself, one of the most exciting parts has been leading in race 2 from mark 1 for almost all the race. Wow! Well - very shortly before rounding last mark and reaching for the finishing-line Nicolas just tactically and technically gybed much more efficiently leaving me in second finally - L. But hej J - being second in one race could make me happy whatever mess  potentially would happen in all races to come after.

Unfortunate for: with Bruno’s mast piercing Michael’s sail during race 2, Michael was forced cease in race 2 but managed to be back for race 4 with changed mainsail. Personally I collected a first strikeout with race 4. It had been excellent with finishing 3rd – but a pity that I had been marked as early starter without clearing. Well - a first strikeout.

The day ended with a nice evening dinner at the club. Club-stuff, -members, -youth  and MustoSkiff-sailors intermingled and we had a funny celebration with good food prepared by the club own kitchen.

Day 2:

Almost same game. Since we had four races first day – the notice of race fixed the number of races to three per day for days 2 & 3. Sweltering in the lull at the club at noon again, we were sent out a little bit later than the day before. On the race-course on average almost similar conditions as day 1, but a bit less steady, first race a little bit lighter. Increased activity on the lake made another difference since it also applied for the race course. It has been Sunday – so potentially more people had time going out for a sail or surf. So sometimes kite-surfers were very unfortunately bathing there kite close to upwind-mark as well as the downwind mark. Me, I piled up most of the mess of the day in race 5 by wrongly estimating keelboats under spinnakers crossing my ‘ideal’ downwind paths. In the first downwind I overestimated the boat speed of keelboat such that I finally could not get around them on their windward side but took (too) late decision to gybe away – I capsized. Damn! I think I dropped from 4th down to 7th when rounding leeward mark. Wind slightly increasing for the second upwind leg and I just got the trim right and could recover back to 4th. However – during the second downwind I underestimated the boat speed of another keel-racer and I again messed up the forced gybe with a capsize – dropping back to 7th again, damn! Races 6+7 were both close battles between Dominique, Pierre-Ives and me for striving for position 3. With Marc and Martin just close behind but finally fighting for position 6. Outstanding Nicolas did outcompete Roger for all races on this day.

Resume of Day 2 for myself: better keep away from keelboats early and far as possible :-) In the evening all MUSTO-sailors, -relatives and -friends joined for a big table in a pizzeria. I think everybody had a good time. Dominique proved being the hungriest sailor of the evening!

Day 3: 

Although it finally would turn out that the overall standings would remain unchanged during last day – all competitors fought either as contender or defender (or both). So racing stayed tight and fun until the 9th or 10th race. While Nicolas defended being overall first with end of race 9, Roger then safe in second. I still had the chance for tossing Dominique off the podium, or loosing 4th against Pierre-Ives in the very last race. l had my moments, but Dominique managed to defend his third position. Yet luckily I did not mess up and defended mine against Pierre-Ives. Not to forget: Martin and Marc were also in the game and especially Marc had very good races. With 5th in race 8+9 he was about to end 6th in last race which would have made him 6th overall changing place with Martin in the very last second. But with a capsize during last bits of the last downwind leg close to the finish he finally didn’t. Also Bruno and Michael - just a bit behind the fleet – never gave up, fought and finished all races of day 3 and certainly gained a lot from participation!

In summary: good competition until the very end.

Certainly I am planning being back next year at Dongo.

Gilbert, GER 427

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