Race Blog 6: GREATSKUA Wins Finisterre Division by Switching Sides

June 22, 2020

Cesar Garcia/GREATSKUA did not start with a plan to win the Finisterre (Cruiser) Division by sailing to the west side of the course. But the Spanish sailor's winning move was to abandon his early strategy and sail his Italia 14.98 at aggressive angles, heading west. The result was a first-to-finish position and a 7 minute, 4 second advantage over Derek Joubert/Maximus in second.

"I think there was a critical moment on Saturday," Garcia said in an email after finishing. "I had been getting east after a not good start, but then the high pressure ahead looked bad for the east route, so I changed completely towards southwest and I rounded the high far enough west to get good speed, but not too much west, which gave me an advantage over bonknhoot [third-place finisher). I also found a better place to attack the boats in the east; although they were ahead at that moment, I had a good windward advantage that finally paid and I could overtake Maximus a few hours before reaching the marks close to Bermuda.

GREAT SKUA's Italia 14.98 is shown poised to cross the finish with Maximus and bonknhoot 1 mile and 1.5 miles behind. GREATSKUA finished at 11:27:56 Bermuda time/ 2:27:56 UTC.

Joubert/Maximus finished at 02:35:00 UTC, followed by Jan van der Puil/bonknhoot, at 02:39:52 UTC. Joubert was sailing only his second race, with Sailonline.org, while the Dutch sailor, van der Puil, is one of the best of Sailonline.org racers (No. 2 ranked). (Watch his pre-race tutorial if you want to study up.)

According to Joubert, "I was just very lucky to have had favourable winds after we emerged from the “doldrums.” I also found using the TWA [true wind angle tool] during anticipated wind shifts to be of great benefit. I was worried about bonknhoot towards the end, and had the race been longer he would have caught me!

"I’m from South Africa and a member at Stilbaai Yacht Club which is on the Vaal Dam. I sail a Dart 18 catamaran, and whenever I sail in a regatta IRL [in real life],  I almost always come stone last. (in fact, it’s a bit of a standing joke at my club) So coming in second for me is something of a miracle!"

In the race chat following the race, Joubert told Garcia: "Well done! Had we been at my home club, I would've bought you a beer tonight."

Garcia responded, "yiiiiihaaaaa, first win after many years, many thanks Maximus, well done you too, thanks for the beer too :-)"

The Finisterre division is sponsored by Italia Yachts/ David Walters Yachts

Results for all classes are available at Sailonline.org's Races tab under the "leaderboard" for the Newport Bermuda Race.

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