Sailing: Half of the participants had taken the full week option and sailed in the Kornati for a few days before the regatta, a clever move since the ABCup was only going to spend one day in this wonderful archipelago... and unfortunately that was going to be under far from ideal weather conditions.
Wednesday: Final day for the hand-over of the boats. The whole feet converged to the Island of Zut where the wecoming dinner was to take place. A lovely evening sailing to a joyful get together.
Thursday: the 8:00 start was a prerequisite to sail through the Kornati and make it to Sibenik before the night. The fleet motored through the narrow straight between the islands Katina and Dugi Otok. A short race could be sailed immediately after, taking the fleet further south east along the main island of Kornati. IMD , LBS and WU (resp 1st, 2nd and 3rd) left little doubt about who were the big boys. Soon after the finish, a sudden rain storm forced all crews down into the cabins while the skippers were prudently motoring with less than 50m visibility. This very unusual bad weather killed some of the magic of this crossing which would have normally be breathtaking given the wild beauty of this untouched mineral landscape, fortunately an number of us had already enjoyed this over the previous days. The lack of wind required the fleet to motor all its way along the Kornati island and to the east of Zirje. The start of the 2nd race was given around 3pm with a gentle 12 knots afternoon breeze from the North. This took the fleet beating near the quiet shores of Kakan and Kaprije, until the last puff a few miles off the Island of Zlarin where the finish line was (again) crossed first by IMD. Motoring throught the entrance channel of Sibenik was a very nice and impressive conclusion to a long sailing day.
Friday: The fleet set sails at around 12pm for a day of inshore racing. Alen Kustic, the race Manager, succeeded in establishing upwind-downwind courses in the narrow bay just in front of Sibenik. Two races enabled the Austrians of WU to position themselves at the same level as IMD on the podium, with INSEAD teams captained by Marc Le Borgne and Maarten de Vries not far behind. The second half of the day had to take place further inshore and the fleet made its way through the 1 mile long spectacular straight which leads to lake Prokljansko. The sun and blue sky called for a quick swim, immediately followed by 2 races well dominated by LBS (Rob Coterill). At the end of the two first days of racing, 3 crews had each scored 2 wins. Clearly, the onshore games were now gaining some importance...
Saturday: The fleet enjoyed a lazy morning albeit framed by the need to be out of the Sibenik bay by 12:00, ready for the start of a race aimed to take the fleet closer to Biograd, the final destination 25mile in the North West. A good wind and a broad reach leg prompted many strategic debates regarding the choice of the right combination of sails, as each boat had both symetric and asymetric spinnakers. Unsurprisingly, WU, LBS and IMD were the first 3 to cross the finish line near the island of Murter. WU was thus holding a serious option to resume their previous year victory. After 5 miles of motoring and some hesitation due to the wind collapsing, Alen cleverly seized the opportunity of a wind rise at the east end of the Isand of Pasman and launched the last race of the regatta on a course which cleverly ended by a 360° rounding of the small island of Kazarina in front of Biograd. The IMD boys, who had been pushed back from the top step by WU and LBS, didn't miss this opportunity to make it back and did win the last race. INSEAD and ... LBS (the 2nd crew), ranking 2 and 3, stole some precious points to WU and LBS. So, the onshore games were definetely going to tell the end of the story.