Swiss Open Championship – Day 1


LUCIE is in Switzerland sailing on Lake Lucerne this summer. It’s her first time sailing in fresh water and her first time sailing at an altitude of 1,400 feet. It was quite the journey from Newport, R.I. all the way across the Atlantic into northern Europe, and then over the road through Germany and up into the mountains of Switzerland. Once in Brunnen it took two days to put everything together, but LUCIE knows the drill by now. It was incredibly hot without any breeze, but the lake is clear and refreshing.


After arriving in Brunnen, the crew spent two days tuning up and training, putting LUCIE through the paces and getting used to sailing surrounded by steep mountains. This year, there are three boats entered into this event under the burgee of the St. Francis Yacht Club – LUCIE, STING and SCOUNDREL – so on Sunday night all three crews came together, had a great dinner in the town of Brunnen, right by the lake, and we all learned first hand how the storm warnings on the Lake works: once you see orange flashing lights at the shore you are being warned!


So we stood on the terrace with a drink in our hands, watching the flashing lights, but were confused as there was not the slightest breeze and the temperature was in the upper 80s. Could it be a false alarm? Oh no, about 45 minutes later a massive thunderstorm came roaring down the Lake and blew everything in its way over. It was very impressive but at the same time frightening.

The Swiss Open Championship

Monday was another training day before the opening of the Swiss Open Championship. Most of the crew prepped their respective boat in the morning and went out before noon, heading south to the Lake Uri, which is part of Lake Lucerne and holds the most steady breeze, with 10 to 14 knots on average every day. It was another hot day and around 3:30 in the afternoon the storm warning lights onshore came on again. With the experience of the previous evening, all boats headed back to the marina and all the tenders and RIBs did their best to tow as many boats as possible. Once they were at the marina, many went out again to rescue those boats, which hadn’t received a tow yet. About 45 minutes after the first warning, a thunderstorm rolled in, this time coming down from Lake Lucerne and clocking about 53 knots of wind, which immediately created five-foot swells with a steep chop. Some tenders went out anyways to rescue the last boats, even towing one stranded boat off the beach. It was quite an adventure!

On Tuesday, the Swiss Open Championship started to overcast skies, light drizzle and little wind in the morning. We started the day under AP and eventually went to the Gersau Lake (western part of the Lake) where we were put under AP again before getting a race started in very light air. LUCIE got a good start at the pin end of the line and decided to go left and stay there, only to find a great lift in the middle of the lake when approaching the first upwind mark. It was a private lift for LUCIE as all other boats were either left or right on the course. LUCIE rounded the mark as first boat with more than a one-minute lead and started going downwind, pushing along nicely. It all looked so good until the breeze died and the race was cancelled.

The next four hours were a game of AP, flag Lima, moving the fleet back to Lake Uri, going further south and waiting some more. We had one more try to get a race started, but it was cancelled before the classics had a chance to start.

By 4:30 the race committee cancelled all further racing for the day and 30 boats plus tenders went home. LUCIE was still in good spirits, greeted by hot soup and cold beer at the marina and regatta center.

Today, the fleet was only able to get one race in and LUCIE took the win in the Classics Class.

On Friday, the team will kick off the 6MR European Championships. The Swiss Open Championship Race Committee has had all of the boat owners at the Championships agree and sign-off to use the two practice races on Friday as the final two races for the Swiss Open Championships


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