The first edition of the Clube Naval de Cascais Invitational Cup took place from September 29th to October 1st. The inaugural edition featured eight teams from five clubs from 5 different countries. The race was contested in the J/70 class with the boats provided by the organization and the format was that of a league, where all teams did a first initial qualification called Round Robin followed by semi-finals and the final.
On the first day of the championship, with the first race scheduled for 1pm, the Race Committee was forced to postpone the debut of the Invitational Cup for two hours due to the lack of minimum wind conditions. After 3pm the 8 teams managed to complete half of the qualification the Round Robin, with the wind of 8 knots having gradually changed direction from southwest to northwest. At the end of the first day, the Clube Naval de Cascais team captained by J/70 European Champion Vasco Serpa, with Diogo Machado Pinto, Pedro Costa Alemão and Tomás Barreto led the overall after an almost perfect day.
Vasco Serpa commented “We started very well, we won the first three races and in the fourth race we had a problem at the start that pushed us to last in that flight. We managed to recover well and finished the race in third, very close to the second.”
Was second the team from the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club (GKSS), from Sweden, led by Per Croner and assisted by Henrique Brites, Francisco Pinheiro de Melo, Luis Pinheiro and Manuel Macedo. The podium was closed with the Turkish team, representing the Turkish Offshore Racing Club, made up of Alp Doguoglu, Paulo Manso, Gonçalo Lopes and Bernardo Plantier.
On the second day of the race, the expected weather conditions would be quite similar to those of the previous day, which consequently meant that the organization’s intention was only to complete the qualification round due again to the late start of the races on that day. The 8 crews completed the Round Robin with winds of 9 to 13 knots from the northwest.
After the Round Robin ended, the top three places in the overall remained unchanged, with Vasco Serpa’s team, from Clube Naval de Cascais, winning 5 of the 7 races. The European champion’s team, by winning the Round Robin, automatically qualified for the final stage and also received the bonus of a victory for that stage. The Swedish team from Per Croner’s Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club also remained in second place and also qualified directly for the final stage. The team from the Turkish Offshore Racing Club of Alp Dogluoglu finished the qualifying phase in third place and was the first team to have to compete in a new qualifying phase to access the final phase of the Clube Naval de Cascais Invitational Cup.
Alp Doguoglu commented at the end of the second day: “It’s a pleasure to be here in Cascais, the qualifying rounds increased the tension with the intensity of the wind. This wasn’t my first time in Cascais and it certainly won’t be the last!.”
On the third and last day of the championship, two semi-finals were scheduled with six teams looking for the last two places in the final phase as well as the championship final. In the first batch of the final phase, the Turkish team from Alp Dogluoglu completed their qualification for the final phase by winning the first regatta, they did not want to prolong the semi-final as they already had the bonus of a Round Robin victory for having finished in third position. After the first group closed, the wind conditions deteriorated and the race committee postponed the start of the qualifying phase of the second group for an hour waiting for the conditions to improve. With the bare minimum conditions to sail, the last three teams competed for last place in the final phase. Martin Estlander’s team, from Nyländska Jaktklubben from Finland, with Lourenço Mateus, Sebastião Ramirez and Gonçalo Castro Nunes, did the same as the Turkish team by winning the first regatta of the semi-final and as it also had a victory in the qualifying phase for having finished in fourth place he also qualified for the final phase.
For the final phase, the four teams, representing Clube Naval de Cascais, by Vasco Serpa, Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, by Per Croner, Turkish Offshore Racing Club, by Alp Dogluoglu and Nyländska Jaktklubben, by Martin Estlander, found a race area with magnificent conditions with a wind of 8 knots from the Northwest with the beach and the iconic Santa Marta lighthouse as a backdrop. It took two races for Vasco Serpa, Diogo Machado Pinto, Pedro Costa Alemão and Diogo Pereira to win the final phase with two consecutive bullets. Martin Estlander’s Finnish team ended in second, with Lourenço Mateus, Sebastião Ramirez and Gonçalo Castro Nunes with two second places in the final races. The lowest place on the podium went to Per Croner with Henrique Brites, Luis Pinheiros, Manuel Macedo and Francisco Pinheiro de Melo.
Vasco Serpa later at the awards ceremony stated: “The day went well for us, as we won the round robin we don’t need to compete in the semi-finals. In the final phase the team performed very well and we won the first two races”
The Invitational Cup is an event organized by the Clube Naval de Cascais where the Club invites all its corresponding clubs and International Council of Yacht Clubs members. The second edition of the Clube Naval de Cascais Invitational Cup will take place from the 4th to the 6th of October 2024. In the first edition, the Club also had 3 junior teams invited from its Race Teams, which were led by Olympic sailors Carolina João and Santiago Sampaio.
The championship had the support of Cascais Municipality, Visit Cascais , Cascais Marina, Cerveja Sagres and Vista Alegre. The gold certificate was also awarded in the clean regattas program of Sailors for the Sea – Portugal and the winners were awarded with Clarins products.