Riva Cup, Lake Garda

04 Jun Riva Cup, Lake Garda

On the final day of the Riva Cup, the race committee had moved the start from 1pm to 11am. Did they know something we didn’t? Don’t you either catch the morning northerly or wait till the Ora? Morning dawned with a 12 knot Southerly at the Fraglia di Vela, Riva and blue skies. By the time we got out to the race track, it was a steady 20 knots…

Riva Cup 2014 - photo © Elena Giolai

It looked like Massey-Hillary had it sewn up with a 6-point lead, but they’d already used their discard. The real battle was for 2nd, between Oli Voss and Andy Fitzgerald, separated by one point, with just the 2 races to go. Julian Pearson had an outside chance with a steady set of 4th in the regatta so far. So, with the unspoken gentlemens’ agreement in place, the whole fleet set off on port into the cliffs. Andy Partington again showed his pace with his new Ovington Bieker 6 narrowly rounding ahead of Massey-Hillary. An early hoist on the reaching leg by “The Voss Dog” or “Vladi-voss-dog”, which no one thought possible saw him massively real in the leaders, just not getting Massey by the gybe mark, who skirted across his bows. meanwhile Andy Partington had pulled out with new boat teething troubles. The places remained unchanged with Julian-Martin and Fitz-Dobson, rounding out the top 4.

With his 4th, Fitz needed a win in the next race to take 2nd, with Voss 4th or lower. As the wind speed crept north of 25 knots, anything was possible and almost did. Voss retired with a broken rudder, leaving Fitz needing the race win. After 2 laps, Massey-Hillary were in first, looking comfortable, when they capsized! The tiller extension slid inside a loose life jacket strap on a tack!

Andy held a 30 boat length lead when Massey-Hillary righted the boat which was cut to 10, when Fitz-Dobson over stood the windward mark. By the end of the top reach, Fitz held a 30 yard lead, leading into run. Throwing caution to the wind, in uncharacteristic wavey conditions, the two duelled flat out down the run, with Archie just clinching the overlap at the finish. (Fitz later admitted that he didn’t fancy luffing, as it would have involved a double gybe later!)

However the best was yet to come. On the long run home, (in distance not in time), the wind topped out at 35 knots. The sleigh ride in was epic. It was reminiscent of “Brad-o’clock” on the Swan River in Perth. The author was grinning from ear-to-ear all evening long.

By Archie Massey

Final results

1stGBR 1520Archie Massey & Harvey HillaryItchenor SC
2ndGER 91Oliver Voss & Eike EhrigKieler YC
3rdGBR 1530Andy FItzgerald & Richard DobsonItchenor SC
4thGBR 1548Julian Pearson & Nick MartinWeston SC
5thGBR 1523Kimball Morrison & Sean StevensItchenor SC
6thGBR 1546Charles Duchesne & Tom BracewellItchenor SC



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