The blu26 class sets the sails in Montenegro - 06/07 Mai 2016

After an intense training camp at Lake Garda in April, the blu26 class kicked off its fleet racing season 2016 last weekend in Montenegro – a unique sailing destination. In a tough fight to the last breath, consisting of 19 races, the final classification saw team Hazel in the first place, local team Angelo Rosso as second, and team Blu ZuZu third. Sportsmanship and hard work prevailed in all teams, as is usual for the class.

A first for the class

For the first time the blu26 class moved from the lake into the sea, with the most diverse mix ever of teams taking part, including a total of seven from the host Montenegro, and from Russia, Germany and Switzerland. The eight available team spots for this year’s first blu26 fleet race were assigned in no time! From the eight, seven teams were positioned. The fleet race battle style, comprising the crews competing against each other in groups of four, promised two exciting days - for sailors as well as for spectators. The fast-paced, umpired fleet race with rapid team rotations and immediate jury decisions, is testing even for the toughest sailors. The racing mode includes qualification rounds and final rounds, stretching the thrill until the very final course.

A warm welcome

Upon arrival, the blu26 class was warmly welcomed by the Porto Montenegro Yacht Club (PMYC) team, headed with high professionality by Tony Browne and Jenny Puttock. Not only the sailors, but also their companions were generously invited for welcome drinks at the exquisite PMYC base. The raising of glasses and the detailed skipper briefing was topped by the ‘blu26 Passion Talk’, where Christian ‘Blumi’ Scherrer revealed the development of his initial vision into the perfect competition boat, and how the blu26 became an official Swiss sailing class in 2015.

A close battle – Hazel wins and the strong local team Angelo Rosso gets a ticket to St. Moritz

Blue skies, agreeable temperatures and constant medium wind conditions offered perfect circumstances for the teams to compete against each other during nine classifying races on the first day in the beautiful Boka Bay. Cracking situations saw all teams following a sportsman’s line: no objections to jury decisions were raised and all penalties executed instantly. On the second day, seven races - forceful but fair - in light to medium wind conditions confirmed the three qualified teams: the local team led by skipper Milos Radonjic and the Swiss teams led by skippers Ferdinand Huser and Michael Kloetzli were to enter the finals. Three intense and extremely close final races, where tactics, experience and consistency in key maneuvers played an important role, determined the fleet race winner team Hazel of Michael Kloetzli, from the Zurich Yacht Club in Switzerland. Teams (and spectators) had the benefit of refreshing between races onboard a splendid super yacht, which allowed a perfect view over the course and a close partaking. 

“It was lovely to see the fleet race competing well, witness unity between the teams and the progress over the two racing days”, perceived Jenny. ‘Blumi’ appreciated the cordial hospitality and organization by the PMYC, the imposing scenery and the sailing experience overall, merging into a great pleasure to be part of this special fleet race weekend. For Tony, the blu26 racing days united in smiles, competition and appreciation. Because in sailing it is also about gathering friends and creating memorable moments.

The ceremonious price-giving took place in the PMYC. The top three teams, in first place team Hazel, in second place team Angelo Rosso and in third place team blu ZuZu, received a nice trophy, while a framed crew snapshot was given to all teams. The team Angelo Rosso won free-entry and will participate in the International Swiss Championship in St. Moritz which is the highlight of the blu26 season. The evening faded out around a sumptuous BBQ.

A unique sailing destination

The Mediterranean Gulf of Kotor surrounded by mountains sets a stunning sailing spot where the local katabatic wind, called Bura, blows strongly – exactly what the blu26 class is looking for! Back at the shore, the nicely preserved medieval city of Kotor, listed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, indulges with stunning views from the harbor over the city and the mountains in the back.

A privileged base

Porto Montenegro is an appealing marina in Tivat, located in the Boka Bay nearby Kotor.  The Marina Director, Tony Browne, led the comprehensive marina conception and its development, which included the blu26 fleet at its genesis. Jenny Puttock, Manager of the PMYC Sailing Squadron, and a passionate sailor herself explains: “Our young club needed boats that suit varied sailing aspirations. Not only for training purposes and social sailing, but also to actively participate in fleet and match racing. The blu26 boats fit these needs perfectly. Moreover, they are ideally shaped for the typical local wind conditions.”

It was a great sailing weekend and the blu26 class will certainly be back at Porto Montenegro.

Pictures (Photos by Dalibor Sevaljevic)

Results

Hits: 1991