Scandinavia scoops Pro-Vee title

The 1000hp monohull, Attacking Vikings, took overall honours in the final round of the European Pro-Vee championships at Portsmouth on September 28.

The 1000hp monohull, Attacking Vikings, jointly crewed by Sweden and Norway in the form of Per Oscarsson and Rune Hogevoll, took overall honours in the final round of the European Pro-Vee championships at Portsmouth on September 28.

The event marked the finale of the eight-race series, which began in Arendal, Norway, in June. It was a contest dominated throughout by Scandinavian boats and crews but the penultimate round held at Portsmouth two days earlier proved the most controversial.

Marks off the Southsea seafront were still being laid when the race was due to start. When the event eventually got under way the course layout proved confusing: the leading pack even heading out to sea in the opposite direction to race instructions.

The event was eventually aborted without championship points being allocated. This was not well received by some crews particularly by Italians Mario Invernizzi and Giovanni Carpitella aboard Ceramica Panarie. After their dramatic retirement at Cowes four weeks earlier when their boat performed a 360-degree barrel roll after setting a new record for circumnavigating the Isle of Wight, they needed to win both Portsmouth rounds to feature in the title. Feeling they no longer had any chance, the pair withdrew completely and headed back to Italy.

The final round was more successful despite starting almost an hour late and a complicated course requiring many confusing course markers.

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Although sea conditions were relatively calm the race soon became one of attrition. The opening lead was taken by Spirit of Arendal, driven by Per Carsten Michaelson and Bjorn Magnussen, who previously topped the championship standings by a mere three points over fellow Scandinavians Per-Carsten Michaelson and Rune Hogevoll in Attacking Vikings.

Second at this stage lay the British entered Cougar-Eurocall driven by Miles Jennings and Neil Holmes, but their challenge expired on the second lap with steering failure.

Retirements came quick and fast. The one remaining British entry, Tony Dowley and Chris Peeters’ Thunderbird, went soon after with mechanical problems. Tom Risoy and Rune Midtstol also pulled out with a smashed engine cowling on Thunder while the sole RIB in the line-up, the Norwegian Hog Vee entered by Tommy Stenstrud and Glen Ostby, was another to suffer mechanical gremlins. Attacking Vikings had meanwhile moved past Spirit of Arendal on lap four before establishing a firm lead.

By the end of the fifth lap only two boats remained in the contest with Attacking Vikings firmly in command. She led the next four laps to eventually collect the 2003 Pro-Vee crown with Spirit of Arendal coming home over 30 seconds astern.


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