The opening races of the Velamare Cup series for 18 foot Skiffs have had to be postponed 24 hours from Sunday afternoon until Monday, due to an administrative problem.
Twelve of the competing boats arrived as scheduled on Saturday morning in three massive trucks from Cascais in Portugal, where the first round of the European Grand Prix series took place a couple of weeks ago, but could not be unloaded until the paperwork was completely in order.
The dismayed crews had to watch in horror as the trucks turned round and left without any information as to when they might return. However, the wait turned out to be shorter than was originally feared, and the problem was resolved by the middle of Sunday afternoon, allowing the fleet to reach its total of 24 boats from 10 nations.
Competiton for the Velamare Cup will be intense, with three former winners of the JJ Giltinan World Trophy taking part. Australian Trevor BARNABAS, who has won the Giltinan on no less than five occasions, will be competing in an 18 footer for the penultimate time, as he has vowed to make his final appearance in San Francisco later this year. Trevor has the unique distinction of being the only skipper in the 66 year history of the Giltinan to have won the trophy twice in a single year, having succeeded in Sydney one January and then here in Sardinia a few months later.
Another strong Australian team which has enjoyed success at world level is skippered by John Winning, who showed the way round the course in the practice race which replaced Sunday's scheduled races.
Californian Howard HAMLIN, who has lifted the Giltinan Trophy twice in the past three years, will be competing on this occasion with a crew consisting of top sailors from Australia and Great Britain. The current holder of the Giltinan, Rob GREENHALGH, is not here because his boat had failed to reach Great Britain from Australia in time to be loaded in the container, but there are rumours that RMW Marine might yet arrive here by road and ferry even at this late stage.
The venue is superb, being based at the original of Velamare's growing number of sailing schools, and the event promises to be truly oustanding now that the initial problem has been resolved. Racing is scheduled to continue until Saturday.