The Country Cup
Today we’re talking about the Country Cup: Andrea Camin sports and regattas director of Fraglia Vela Riva is gonna tell us how this idea was born and Alex Demurtas, athlete of Fraglia Vela Riva and winner in 2019, is gonna tell us his experience at this regatta.
Andrea Camin: “In 2014 I was both vice-president and sports director of Fraglia Vela Riva and, thinking about the future pianification of regattas that our club could have organized, this crazy idea came into my mind. The idea of renewing the way the most important regatta of the Optimist class, after the World Championship, was done.
I wanted that the Lake Garda Meeting Optimist was even more distinguished from other regattas and wasn’t “only” the regatta with the greatest number of one-class participants.
I thought we should have used the opportunity of having athletes representing countries all over the world.
This thoughts got me into thinking of the idea of organizing, the day before the start of the Meeting Optimist, a regatta with only one participant per country and that it is decided directly from the National Optimist Class.
The regatta also involves non-competing athletes. It takes place close to the lakeside to let other athletes be able to see it and to support the contestant of their country, even though this is easier said than done.
It took one year to be able to plan the first Country Cup in which Fausto and Marcello Meringolo, who was the technical director, (it’s theirs the idea of the bibs with the flag of the country of the sailor and of the route) helped me to improve and achieve what is now called from many “the mini-Olympic”, since it’s similar to the sailing Olympic participation.
A thank you goes to Alberto Bertolini, who was the deputy mayor, that representing the municipality of Riva Del Garda, after seeing the project, encouraged the realization of this regatta and gifted us the cup.
The first edition of the Country Cup has been organized in 2015 when the XXXIII Meeting took place, twenty-three were participants athletes and was won from Denmark.”
Now, Alex, tell us how it went last year.
“I need to start saying that I was very proud I have been chosen between so many italian athletes to be the one competing in this regatta, in which I had the honour to represent my country.
That day I was very calm (I even went to school!), since the year before I saw it and my teammate Mattia Cesana participated, but I was also focused and ready to give my best.
I think I had an advantage since I knew very well the race course, right in front of my club, a place where the wind is very unstable and so it is pretty hard not making any mistake at some point of the regatta.
I already knew the regatta had very short races and it would have been hard regain once you were behind; in addition there were only 3 races without the chance to take the worst one off, there were no space for mistakes.
Mistake that, indeed, many of my opponents made at the beginning of the first race: many sailors started out of the short start line. In order to don’t make the same mistake I started at the extreme side of the line, even if a little in disadvantage compared to the others that were in the best part. This first race has been crucial for me, I went through it without taking any risks, I regained positions and closed in 13th position. “All considered, not bad” I thought, even because the bests racers (and the ones considered to be possible winners like Richard Schulteis) couldn’t have won the regatta since they were too disadvantaged from the disqualification in this first race.
Obviously, being good sailors, they didn’t do the same mistake in the second race, but so did I and after a great start I took home a second place working on my advantage and marking my opponents.
In the last race, I was competing to win the regatta against the German, Caspar Ilgenstein and the Finnish, Henrik Puolakka, but weirdly I wasn’t nervous at all: I started in the center of the line (in order to not risk too much) next to my two opponents and I left them behind after a great first bowline, closing the race second and winning the regatta.
I think this regatta was unique. Differently from usual, we raced in front of a crowd and this has been very exiting and emotional for me. On top of that, being an arbitrated race, it’s more technical and difficult because you are constantly under control of the judges and there is a possibility of relaying more on the rules.
I would really love to have this experience again.”