Team RTYC at the Gstaad Ski Yachting 2016

11/03/2016

Team RTYC attended the annual Gstaad Ski Yachting competition this year captained by Peter Bonham Christie with Don Cochrane; James and Georgia Bilderbeck, and enthusiastic cheerleading from Mel Hatton and Charlotte Cochrane.
 
On Friday night they arrived with nerves and anticipation, it being nine years since their last contest here. The ski race was scheduled for 2000hrs on a floodlight course at the top of the Eggli lift. The team had one sighting run for the Giant Slalom races, then down for two runs with the closest two times being the winner. There are always a few side bets for the fastest time however! Close by was competition HQ, a lovely old wooden restaurant for the 96 + competitors and their supporters. A great deal of weather was blasting about and the main difficulty was keeping goggles clear long enough to see the tracks in the deep snow carved out by previous competitors. Regular visits back to the warmth and snaps of the hut gained Team RTYC a very creditable 6th place out of the 17 international teams. James Bilderbeck became the proud winner of an enormous, deafening cow bell for most consistent timed runs and Peter managed 3rd fastest overall and won his bets…..Ding Dong! The night concluded with a Swiss supper (cream, meat, cheese, more cream….), an “Umpa" band and a large gentleman in lederhosen playing the saw!

 
 
Saturday morning they ambled through the picture perfect village to the elegantly appointed sportshall for some team practice on the indoor swimming pool. A skippers briefing followed and a sit down buffet for the whole group alongside the pool. Five of the club’s America’s Cup carbon fibre models were available, being swapped over as battery fading caused a few restarts. As the team had acquitted themselves rather well in the skiing their heat started half way through. Don took to the controls with Peter as tactician against the Royal Swedish Yacht Club who had already conquered the last three heats and looked unstoppable.
 
Unfortunately a collision before the start meant a penalty from which Team RTYC never fully recovered. It was all over rather too soon in one race to sudden death!

 
 
That night they attended the GYC Clubhouse for fondue and dancing: A tall building all glass and vaulted wood beams in the grounds of The Palace Hotel, very swish. Speakers and toasting and prizes, and for the first time victory went to one of GYC’s three teams. A dip into the infamous Gringo’s nightclub next door concluded a wonderful weekend of contrasts and friendly competition.
 
Good effort Team RTYC!