The regatta took place in Venice over the weekend of May 11, 12, & 13th. 20 teams participated. LISOT was represented by Marlena, Declan, Antoine, Deirdra and Matt. The competition was fierce and 8 great teams participated and the regatta was leveled as Berlin with exception from last year that had a world championship standard due to the late worlds. Every meeting was short and always started with - This might be your last chance to win a big team racing regatta. By winning LISOT made US optimist history by being the first team to win or place better then 3rd in an international event. A clear sign that the US optimist sailing is on rise.
The first day was sailed in great breeze, 9 races were completed. We ended with 8-1 after beating Italy's world team and a loss against a regional Italian team. Best sailor of the day was Marlena - she had great boat speed for the day. The loss felt a bit unnecessary due to the unlucky start where we as usual had a boat over. The win against Italy showed world class, we had 2 boats over and where still able to turn race around!!
The second day we sailed great....after the starts...we lost every start. We made 4 unbelievable comebacks and Matt saved the day in the last two races after a great pass-back on the downwind. In the last race Matt caught the third placed sailor against Serbia and forced him to 7th. The loss against team 4 is not much to talk about.We were behind in the start, passed them on the downwind. At the downwind mark two of our sailors spun and since the last leg was one tack due to shifted wind it was nothing to do. Coming out with 7-2 record LISOT won the round robin and we would sailed against team 4 in the semi-final since they placed 4 after winning a tie against Lazio.
Last day started with a meeting, we agreed upon to skip the tailing and just do individual starts due to the lack of success in the pre-start against the better teams. The wind had changed and it was a very light breeze. We raced against Team FOR. We won with a 1,2,3 and made it look easy after we rounded the downwind mark in a winning comb. The final against Italy was tough and strange. We lost the first race heavily after missing the start -again or in this case the Italians did it better then we did. Most of our sailors started at the pin and the Italians just pulled away after the start. Around the upwind mark they were 1,2,3 and 4. There 4 slowed our sailors down and efficiently killed the race. In the second race the opposite happened. Deirdra held them off at the upwind mark and our sailors finished 1,2 and 3. The only thing to add is that they were very close to pass our 3 around the downwind mark, due to better downwind speed. The sailors have also learned how to cover on
the last leg in a very efficient way and if we are slightly a head or behind, we never lost a final leg. Last race went back and forth the whole race around in a great way, after loosing around the downwind mark it looked dark, or say impossible. The italians were 1,2,4,6 just 1/3 from the finish when we finally got hold on 2 of their sailors. Antoine and Matt sat on one poor Italian on the right side and Declan held the second one on the left allowing our 4th to close in. At the finish they all came in at the same time. We were still loosing but the margin was down to nothing. At the finish line one Italian got nailed on port and it was a total mess. One whistle was heard and a red flag flew. Who could it be? No one goes back!! After around 3 minutes an Italian boat went back to the jury boat!! The Italian was penalized for rule 42 but in my opinion they broke several rules at the finish line.
Many time no calls are made but in this regatta the overall standard of the judges were extremely high, in every race 4-5 sailors got penalized and I did not see many mistakes (our sailors will have a different opinion).
That we won the regatta was a great achievement that we all have worked extremely hard for in many years. Beating the Italians in Italy is always tough. Next LISOT must look toward team racing nationals and get a second shot for Berlin. See you soon.
Extra thanks to Peter Wilson for great input. - Staffan