Venice iShares Cup

9 June 2009

Venice was an amazing venue for the first event of the iShares Cup 2009, we were racing with St Marks square in the background and the iShares photographers got a brilliant picture of the boat flying a hull past a Gondola with the churches behind. Ten teams raced in a 300m wide by 800m long course, the teams consisted of one Americas cup outfit (BMW Oracle), two offshore racing multihull campaigns (Groupama and Gitana), two middle east catamaran campaigns from Oman Sail, an owner driven team from France. The sailors came from a wide variety of backgrounds with teams comprised of Olympic medallists and numerous world and national champions.

This season the level of competition at the iShares cup has stepped up since last year. Most of the teams have put in plenty of training time pre-season, and even though the season is only just warming up the standard is already red hot. For the iShares boat we have a new team from last year:

  • Shirley Robertson is the skipper
  • I am doing mainsheet
  • Nick Hutton - trimmer
  • Johnno Macbeth - bow man

This regatta was the first time for the iShares team to race together in a regatta, and it was a steep learning curve in the confines of Venice’s waterways.

The size of the course starting line made it difficult to hold a position next to the other boats as only 8 of the 10 boats could get on the line at the same time. This put a massive priority on getting to the front row of the start line early and then hold position to be able to get off the line clear. The winds were also very light and unstable in direction which meant that the start became even more important and through the course of the weekend we became one of the top teams at holding a position on the starting line. As a consequence of this our results gradually improved and by Sunday we were consistently one of the better teams off the line and this lead to our best race of the weekend a 2nd on the last day.

The next iShares Cup event is in Hyeres at the beginning of July and we start training in a couple of weeks. We will be working hard to make gains on the opposition for the next regatta, which will most likely be completely different with a windy venue in prospect.

For now I am back in the UK and getting all of the organisation together for the next few events in the calendar. I will be in Cowes racing Atomic the Farr45 for the next two weekends, before going out to race the Round Texel regatta in north west Holland during the 2nd week of June.

Many thanks to all of Hugh Styles sponsors, Towergate Mardon, Gill, Holt, Marlow Ropes, Tacktick, NACRA Europe, Sailing Networks.

Hugh Styles
Extreme 40, Olympic Sailor and Coach
Tel +44 7712760524
Skype: hughstyles

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