Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Great Cup : Under Starters Orders

Great Cup PRO Stefan Puxkandl. Image copyright Christophe Launay/Great Cup

by Great Cup media

It's a beautiful morning on Lake Traunsee for the opening day of the GC32 Austria Cup, with a light northeasterly wind building at Gmunden at the northern end of the lake.

In order to get the best breeze this morning, PRO Stefan Puxkandl is sending the three GC32s down to Ebensee at the southern end of the lake 12km away, where he expects the thermal wind to build to 10-15 knot northeasterly by the time racing starts at 11.30-12.00 local time (09.30-10.00 UTC).

“During the day in the afternoon it might even get up to 15-20 knots of wind if the system really works out,” says Puxkandl.

To recap there are six teams taking part at the GC32 Austria Cup, but there are only three boats. The six teams are divided into three national teams with two crews from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. National teams never race each other and so a round robin, where all of the teams get to race every other, is completed after six races.

According to Puxkandl the aim is to get one ‘round robin’ completed down at Ebensee and if the wind fills in adequately further up the lake, then they may move the race course north towards the Allianz Traunsee Week hub of Gmunden at the northern end of the lake.

The courses today will be simple windward-leewards with a traditional committee boat and pin start line, a single windward mark and a leeward gate (the starboard end looking upwind being the pin from the start), and twice around this.

Yesterday Puxkandl and his race team carried out some experiments to determine the optimum length of the course in an attempt to reduce race durations to 15-20 minutes. He reckons that this will require the course to be just 0.4 miles. Even if the wind builds, he reckons that the length of a leg will still be no more than 0.5 miles.

With this in mind, to complete a round robin Puxkandl expects will take two to three hours.

“It is very exciting for me to try a new race format like this,” the ex-Olympic Star sailor enthuses. “It will be very spectacular sailing especially if we come into town [Gmunden] because there is a lot of action and the boats are pre-designed for something like this, because they accelerate like mad and they are only on one tack for less than a minute before they have to manoeuvre.”

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