09 September 2016
Lionheart By Name and By Nature. All On for a Saturday J Showdown
If there is an element of frustration brewing among the Lionheart crew after being beaten off the start line for the second successive day by Velsheda, fighting long and hard to to get back at their J Class rivals, but ultimately coming second again today, Bouwe Bekking the Lionheart tactician is not letting it show. Instead the team which were so dominant in 2014 will debrief comprehensively this Friday evening and pledge to win Saturday's decider at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.
"We just have to get out and beat them tomorrow." smiles the seasoned seven times round the world racer Bekking. "They sailed a bit better again, won the first cross and then we worked so hard. We got close several times but there was just no getting past them. So, it's all on tomorrow!"
As part of the Super Maxi fleet competing on the penultimate day of the Rolex Maxi Yacht Cup, Velsheda and Lionheart had a close tussle all the way around the course which took the fleet anti-clockwise around the islands of Caprera and La Maddalena and back eastwards down bomb alley to finish at the Golf mark. What looked set to be a glamour race - starting in a welcome 15kts of breeze - evolved into a hard fought match in a wind which had died to just five or six knots when the shortened course was completed.
Velsheda set up perfectly for the start, executing their game plan of starting to windward of Lionheart and were then able to lead at the first cross on an opening windward leg of two miles. From then on it was largely a covering exercise for the leaders.
"To be fair if Lionheart had gotten away today then we would have been chasing them for the day. It was all about the start and the first cross. In fact all three races so far have been leader races, but that is just the way it is." Comments Tom Dodson the tactician on Velsheda who are now 2-1 up in the J match.
"It was a good day for us, very enjoyable. Our crew did a great job and it was a great race. It is very helpful to have a crew some of whom have been with us for 15 years. We are a very solid team. And so when we have not sailed together for a few months you would never know. It all just works smoothly." commented the contented Velsheda Owner.
"I think we probably did 25 or 30 tacks and got close at times. But there it is, it was a rich get richer kind of day. We sailed well and just have to beat them tomorrow. It's all on." concludes Lionheart's Bekking.