2013 marks the first edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean, held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s new clubhouse in the sailing paradise of the British Virgin Islands. The event is organized by Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, who have established close ties through organizing the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia since the early 1980s.
A full fleet of Swan yachts, an alluring playground and four days of intense racing: all hallmarks of the upcoming Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. Commencing today, Monday 11 March, the event will be held over the next 5 days at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s recently launched base on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Swan yachts ranging from 12.98 metres (42 foot) to 30.20m (100 ft) and representing countries including Belgium, Italy, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States make up the entry list. Competing Swans will be divided into two groups: Class A (Maxi), measuring upwards of 18.29m/60-ft; and, Class B, reserved for yachts measuring less than 18.29m.
Registration took place today, followed by the opening reception on the spectacular terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Competition on the water starts tomorrow, Tuesday 12 March, and the round Virgin Gorda race is scheduled for Wednesday 13 March. Ideal sailing conditions are forecast.
A range of Swans will grace the event: from historic Sparkman & Stephens models including Hokusai (FIN), Lianda (BEL) and Swan Lake (USA) through to more modern designs from German Frers including the Swan 90 Freya (USA) which is also taking part and was the 2,000th yacht to be built by Nautor in Finland.
Other Class A entries include Varsovie, the largest competing yacht, the Swan 80 Selene and Stark Raving Mad a Swan 601, whose crew has enjoyed a successful last twelve months. In Class B, the week’s smallest entrant – the Club Swan 42 Arethusa (USA) – is using the waters of the Caribbean to continue preparations for September’s New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.
Crews will need to marry sharp tactics and cohesive teamwork to prevail in a fleet renowned for sportsmanship and graceful sailing. The week’s standout performers will be rewarded at the final prizegiving, on Friday 15 March, where the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy will be presented.
The eagerly anticipated event marks a continuation of the long-standing relationship between Nautor’s Swan, Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which commenced in 1984 with the first edition of the now biennial Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.
After the opening day of round 3 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Kiel, Germany, it is clear that at the halfway stage of the 2010 circuit there are three or four teams in contention at the top of the leaderboard, but what is not so clear is which team will come out on top after a day of mixed results.
At the first round in Sète (France) the pre-season favourites, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Yann Guichard, displayed their winning form. However, in the challenging tidal and windier conditions at Cowes (UK) it was the ‘young guns’ on The Wave, Muscat who secured victory. After today’s five races here in Kiel it is Mike Golding’s all-British team who have flourished, finishing the opening day at the top of the leaderboard: “It was a gentle lead into the series, nothing like last year! We started a bit shaky but got better and better as the day went on. At each event we have progressed and got better so it is a great confidence boost. There are a lot of races still to come but we have our eyes set on the top spot if we can,” said Golding. The team’s results to date back-up the words – a fourth place at Sète and a second place in Cowes – now the team clearly have their at the very top of the podium. A year ago things could not have been more different for the team that wallowed in the bottom half of the leaderboard and a dramatic capsize at the 2009 Kiel event dented their confidence even further. A new team with Olympian Tornado duo of Leigh McMillan on the helm and Will Howden trimming, Jonathan Taylor on bow and Golding as skipper is paying huge dividends. The question is whether they can keep it together to keep their rivals at bay with three days of racing remaining.
Today’s conditions started off in a light 5-6 knots of breeze from the north-east that increased by a couple of knots mid-afternoon, which demanded slick crew work and good boat speed. The start line was a crowded affair with the nine boats, including two German ‘wild card’ teams, and everyone looking for a clean start to gain the all-important advantage. Paul Campbell-James and his team on The Wave, Muscat scored the first bullet of the day ahead of Red Bull Extreme Sailing and Wirsol Team Germany, who were clearly delighted with a third place in the first race. Then it was Yann Guichard’s turn on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild as the winds increased to 8 knots and a few hulls started to fly. The racing was close, seconds rather than minutes separating the boats at the finish line. Guichard’s team were in the overall lead going into the final race of the day but a disastrous 7th place relegated them to third place behind Oman Sail Masirah. Loick Peyron’s Oman Sail Masirah scored a 4th, 2nd, 6th, 1st and 3rd: “A great first day for us,” said Peyron. “Really happy to have Freddy Carr back in the team. The wind was light as expected and that makes the start really important, especially in these really short and sharp races. We are second after day one, only 3 points behind Ecover and we are ready to pounce!”
The Audi Sailing Team Germany, formed to specifically train for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, clearly relished their first Extreme Sailing Series experience: “This is simply incredible!” said Oliver Schwall, Team Leader. “We filed our entry into this event on such a short call last week. And now we are here racing and seem to be quite competitive. The team worked all night the last days to make this happen and the boys onboard did a nice job today. The light wind for the first day played into our hands because we still need to learn a lot how to handle these ‘firing’ machines. The Extreme Sailing Series is a great platform for our sport and we thank the organizers and the host city for their support. The next racing days with the wind forecasted to increase again promised to be super!”
Oman Sail Masirah has won the iShares Cup 2009, but it came down to the last leg of the last race on the last day of the last regatta at the iShares Cup Almeria in Spain, with Gitana Extreme-LCF Rothschild pushing Oman Sail Masirah right to the very last minute with a superb final performance. Pete Cumming and his crew held their nerve despite the strong comeback of Yann Guichard and the Gitana Extreme crew who took 2nd overall with Loick Peyron’s Oman Sail Renaissance completing the 2009 podium. Tens of thousands of spectators, the biggest stadium audience of the year, packed the port of Almeria to witness the heart-stopping tension of the final race of the season. No hull flying today, but heart stopping it still was!
Masirah completed a six-month trail of glory with a double victory in Almeria as thousands watched. All crew members put in a performance which overshadowed all efforts from other teams to not only take the victory in the Almeria leg of the iShares Cup but the title of 2009 iShares Cup champions!
Renaissance also battled hard until the last minute to take an admirable fourth overall in the Almeria leg ensuring a double Oman victory as they took third place in the 2009 iShares Cup series.
The culmination of six venues and 118 races all boiled down to the last race on the last day of the last venue as ten boats all lined up, but only three were in contention for the 2009 iShares Cup title. The electricity in the air from the 40,000 spectators, including Her Excellency Dr. Rajiha Bint Abdulameer Bin Ali, Oman’s Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Eng. Sultan Hamdoon al Harthi, Head of Muscat Municipality and the Municipal Council as well as His Excellency Oman’s Ambassador to Spain was flowing as the start gun went for the first race. Masirah got off to a near-perfect start and led all the way and maintained their lead throughout the day. In the final race Masirah had a marginal lead, but not enough to rest on their laurels. In the last race Masirah wisely opted to keep the only other contender for the top podium position at this stage, Gitana Extreme-Groupe LCF Rothschild, in their sights to ensure their overall win.
As the finishing horn was sounded for Masirah’s finish a huge cheer went up from the crowded waterfront as the new heroes were given a standing ovation and applause.
Renaissance sailed on the edge all day to score an equally credible third overall to bookmark the podium with the proud colours of the Oman flag. To have not one, but two teams, on the podium in such a high profile international event is testament to the support in Oman given to the teams and the aspirations of reigniting the maritime heritage of Oman. Her Excellency Dr, Rajiha Bint Abdulameer Bin Ali, was incredibly proud of both teams, “I am so proud to have been able to watch Oman Sail’s Masirah winning the series in front of thousands of spectators in Spain. I dedicate this victory to the wise leadership of His Majesty and his vision in bringing this project into fruition. I want to thank all the team in Oman sail and in particular the team on Masirah for reaching first place – it was not an easy victory. I didn’t realise how difficult this was until I came to Spain and watch Oman racing myself. My congratulations to the team.” His Excellency Eng. Sultan Hamdoon al Harthi was just as impressed by the victory that unfolded in front of him, “It is a matter of pride for Oman that Masirah and Renaissance dominated the iShares Cup, not just in Spain but also the entire series. To win first and third overall is a result of unprecedented performance.”
Two Omani trainees have supported the teams during the summer, both of whom will now be sailing for Oman Sail in the next series themselves. Masirah team member Khamis Al Anbouri summed up the mood of the team “Winning the iShares Cup is just one of Oman Sail’s steps in encouraging young Omanis to start sailing and showing them the hard work required to achieve success. I am very proud to be part of this team and I look forward to competing now in the next series as a full crewmember. I would also like to thank my wife for all her support and encouragement as I strive to become the very best and to make Oman a household name. Congratulations also to Ahmad Al Harthy for his result this weekend- a truly proud weekend for Oman!”
Oman Sail Masirah has won the iShares Cup 2009, but it came down to the last leg of the last race on the last day of the last regatta at the iShares Cup Almeria in Spain, with Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild pushing Oman Sail Masirah right to the very last minute with a superb final performance.
Almeria’s usually strong winds never materialized, with light winds adding to the nerves of the 10 teams challenging for the Andulician final event of this benchmark season for the Extreme 40 Sailing Series.
Tens of thousands of spectators, the biggest stadium audience of the year, packed the port of Almeria to witness the heart-stopping tension of the double points final race of the season. No hull flying today, heart stopping it still was!
iShares Cup Almeria:
1. Oman Sail Masirah 132 points
2. Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 129 points
3. Groupama Extreme 112 points
4. Oman Sail Renaissance 96 points
5. LUNA 96 points
6. Team iShares 83 points
7. Holmatro 82 points
8. BT 79 points
9. Rumbo Almeria 73 points
10. Ecover 89 points
iShares Cup 2009 overall:
1. Oman Sail Masirah 53 points
2. Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild 52 points
3. Oman Sail Renaissance 42 points
4. Groupama Extreme 41 points
5. Team iShares 27 points
6. BT 26 points
7. LUNA 26 points
8. Holmatro 24 points
9. Ecover 10 points
The best breeze of the day filled in for the final three races today producing some extreme racing – close calls, collisions, penalties and a nail-biting, final double-points race – entertaining the 10,000 strong crowd lining the IJ-Haven. There were seven different race winners in this penultimate event, that was more about tactics than boat handling. Gitana Extreme sailed brilliantly under pressure to win the penultimate iShares Cup Amsterdam event ahead of Oman Sail Renaissance, whilst Groupama fought back to win the final race and fill the last spot on the podium in third. Overall series leaders, Oman Sail Masirah, put their day 1 disaster behind them, finishing 5th in Amsterdam to retain their overall lead, ahead of Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild and Oman Sail Renaissance, going into the final iShares Cup event in Almeria only two weeks away…
The nine-boat Extreme 40 fleet saved the best till last at the iShares Cup Amsterdam event today to produce a thrilling three-lap finale that had the 10,000-strong crowd of spectators cheering the boats home all the way. The penultimate round of the six-stage European iShares Cup series, held on the confined IJ-Haven canal in Amsterdam, saw predominantly light airs but finally this afternoon, a good 8 knot breeze filled in to see the 40-foot catamarans lifting their hulls. It was perfect catamaran sailing – the excitement levels going into fifth gear for both sailors and spectators. As the breeze increased the size of the IJ-Haven racecourse seemed to decrease! The boats accelerating faster round the tiny racecourse and, not surprisingly, a number of collisions ensued.
For Oman Sail Masirah skipper, Pete Cumming, the team did the job they needed to do to keep the overall series lead, despite the unsettling experience of being seriously holed on the first day:
“That was a good day for us, we won the first and the fourth race and had average results in the three others. We have been up and down during the all events but I have to say that it’s hard to keep positive and motivated after the big crash we had on Friday. Our shore team did an amazing job to fix the boat. Tonight we are on equal points with Gitana in the overall series which keeps the pressure on for the last event in Almeria. The conditions will be very different to here, more like Cowes or Kiel and it’s what we like. It’s going to be a fantastic battle for the overall iShares Cup!”
The stage was set for the showdown between Gitana Extreme skipper, Yann Guichard, and Oman Sail Renaissance supremo, Loick Peyron, with Guichard coming out on top. “Since the first start today we were in the game and we sailed well despite the pressure of those last races. Once again, our teamwork was key to our success. That final race was under a lot of pressure, we knew that we could not let Loïck put more than two boats between us, and we finished right behind him! It was an ideal scenario, and we’re really happy with that new victory. As we foresaw, everything will unfold in Almeria. We really wanted to win in Amsterdam not to regret anything, and to fight for victory, The top three boats are now one point apart, and the fight between Masirah, Renaissance and ourselves will be amazing. I also wanted to congratulate the Oman Sail Masirah team, who came back strong despite their incident.”
Erik Maris’ crew on LUNA showed flashes of brilliance during round 5 scoring a race win and a second place that left them in 7th place; whilst Nick Moloney’s BT team struggled with boat speed and had to settle for 8th. Britain’s Mike Golding, who is gaining confidence in this extremely aggressive class, thrilled his supporters with a second place in the final race – Fraser Brown leaping to his feet rousing the crowd to cheer more! It was a great finish for this team who had such a traumatic time in round 4 in Kiel suffering an aggressive capsize that left their regular crew Bruno Dubois with a serious head injury.
The final round of the 2009 iShares Cup is only two weeks away, taking place in the Andalucian city of Almeria over the 10th-12th October. The finale promises to be best yet – read the story online.
Oman Sail Masirah and Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild are on equal points (43), Masirah in pole position based on winning three of the rounds so far compared to Gitana Extreme’s two victories, but Oman Sail Renaissance are just 1 point behind them and Groupama 10 points behind the leader. And there will be a big fight over the middle-ground with less than 3 points separating BT, Team iShares, Holmatro and LUNA. Don’t miss it!
Today, Groupama won the last race hands down, enabling the skipper from Aix en Provence to regain his smile as he snatched third place behind Yann Guichard and Loïck Peyron, who take first and second place respectively. As was the case in Kiel, the French sailors are at the front of the pack with a French triple in the top spots once again!
If we look in detail at the points separating the top five competitors in the final ranking, it is easy to understand the tension which was palpable throughout the day! With the wind still a little undecided as to whether it was going to fill their sails, today’s five races were rather convoluted to say the least and rather reminiscent of the four race yesterday. Franck Cammas: “One thing for sure after these three days racing in Amsterdam, is that with Groupama 40, we still haven’t worked out how to deal with light conditions. In light wind we’re not so at ease. We aren’t able to follow the others. This was my first participation in the light stuff on such a narrow race zone. We unquestionably need to make progress! The minute the wind kicked in, things went better. In fact on Friday, thanks to the breeze, it was a good day for us!”
The famous quote by competitors that says that “anything can happen in a race prior to crossing the finish line” is something that certainly applies to Franck’s crew this weekend: “With Groupama 40, we won the lottery in the last race. Our rivals weren’t as strong which enabled us to overtake two of them and make it to a podium finish, which certainly wasn’t something we could have envisaged at the end of the previous race!”
The skipper from Aix en Provence clearly already has his mind geared towards the last event of the season: “In Alméria, it’s likely to be windy and it will be a whole different ball game! Roll on Spain!”
Finally, it is important to salute the performance by Yann Guichard and his men, outright winner in this Dutch stage. Bagging three victories of the 17 races contested, Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group climbs to the highest step of the podium and above all is tied on points with Masirah in the general championship ranking.
Suffice to say that the next meeting for the Extremes 40s will take place in Alméria, Spain, on 10th, 11th and 12th October and it is going to have a decisive role in this championship! This sixth event will round off the iShares Cup 2009.
In race 4 of the first day of the iShares Cup Amsterdam, a collision between Oman Sail Masirah and BT on the first windward leg has put Masirah out of action. A port/starboard incident, saw BT trying to duck Masirah but to no avail. Oman Sail Masirah are waiting anxiously for the crane to haul them out. A big blow for Pete Cumming and his crew who are the overall iShares Cup series leader going into this penultimate round, and they will be looking for redress for the races they miss today. In the strongest breeze of the day so far, gusting over 10 knots, there was plenty of action from the start with LUNA, over the line at the start searching to go back made contact with BT, who had been forced to tack on top of them as Holmatro called starboard. On this tight racecourse here in Amsterdam the building breeze makes the racing even more fraught. Race 4 was won by Gitana Extreme with Franck Cammas on Guichard’s heels but this win puts them at the top of the iShares Cup Amsterdam leaderboard, halfway through today’s racing.
Pete Cumming takes up the story: “It was the first beat of race 4 and it was a clear case of port and starboard. BT were coming in on port and we could see from about 10 seconds out they were going to hit us. The wind had got up and we knew as they accelerated, the bows dug in and holed us under the waterline and the crack goes right underneath. The damage is about 2-foot forward of the back beam on the port hull and it compressed the whole side of the boat in – it’s quite a big job to rebuild that. We didn’t have our best races in the first couple today so we’ll get average points from those races – we’ll just have to see how it goes. It’s an unfortunate situation and we’ve ended up sitting on the shore with our boat full of water.”
A total of 8 races were staged today on the tiny IJ-Haven – the racecourse just 750-meters long and 250-meters wide – on the start line you could literally step from one boat to the next and then on to the canal wall! There is only just enough room for the nine-boat fleet to line up and as soon as they cross the line, the boats, just a few feet from the concrete walls, are yelling for water causing a domino effect across the fleet. The conditions were generally light but on a fairly regular basis the breeze built up to over 10 knots making the IJ-Haven become a hazardous place to be, although the crowds loved it! There were plenty of penalties and at least one other collision and probably a few more scrapes and close shaves that were not visible from the shore.
Team iShares skipper, Shirley Robertson, who scored a win in the penultimate race today and lies in 5th place overall: “Many of us remember the first year we came to Amsterdam… it was pretty windy and it brings back all of those memories of all the points around the canal where you had a few moments! You just have to sail slightly differently and be prepared to see things that you might not before – look for opportunities and be a bit punchy!” It was certainly a case of avoiding the wind holes and taking advantage of the gusts, which resulted in many place changes throughout the fleet. Two wins apiece for Oman Sail Renaissance (Loick Peyron)and Gitana Extreme – Groupe LCF Rothschild (Yann Guichard) and individual race wins for Holmatro (Mitch Booth), Groupama (Franck Cammas), iShares (Shirley Robertson) and LUNA (Erik Maris) have kept the points close on the Round 5 leaderboard. Only 2 points separate Loick Peyron from Guichard and Guichard from Cammas, and 1 point between Mitch Booth, Robertson and Maris (see leaderboard for full results).
Forecast is for slightly lighter winds tomorrow which may reduce the ‘incident’ rate but at this crucial stage of the race, no one is giving an inch and that counts here on the IJ-Haven!
Claudio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA) remains in first place overall with three races having been run in the Audi Melges 32 World Championsip 2009, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Pieter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) Bliksem (USA) took a bullet in today’s only race and climbed from yesterday’s third place to sit in second place overall ahead of Stefano di Properzio’s Mataran (ITA). Red (GBR), owned by James Woods, slipped from second overall to fourth after taking sixth place in today’s race. Recchi, who is one of the most experienced Melges 32 owners, also has aboard with him former Melges 24 World Champion Federico Michetti and American two-time Olympic medalist (’84 gold in the FD, ’00 bronze in the 49er) Jonathan McKee (Seattle, Wash.). Victory, however, is by no means assured to any of the current leaders, since there are three more days of racing to go and a possible seven more races to be held with a discard coming into play after race six.
The start of racing today was delayed as the Race Committee headed to the regatta course to see whether this morning’s rain storm would pass over Porto Cervo and allow the games to commence. After recording winds of 15-17 knots accompanied by widely spaced swells coming in from the southeast and wind-driven waves coming in from the northeast, the Committee, headed by Principal Race Officer Peter “Luigi” Reggio deemed that racing would be challenging but secure, and the first warning signal was given at 12.30 p.m.
“It was blowing at around 18 knots at the start; the seas were a bit messy but the conditions were not a problem for this class,” said Reggio on his return to Porto Cervo Marina. “As the race went on, the wind picked up to 25-26 knots and the seas were building. This is an owner-driver class and these conditions are tiring, and we decided that for the safety of all, it was better to send the fleet home. We still have three more days of racing left.”
The windward-leeward course set today was again approximately 7 nautical miles and it was Taselaar, with Australian brothers Jeremy (tactician) and Nathan (the 470 Men’s 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and three-time world champion) Wilmot on board, who led the fleet across the finish line ahead of Team 93 and Mataran. Francesco Martino’s Pilot Italia (ITA) took fourth place ahead of Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (ITA).
Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, Friday 25th September, at 12 midday with a maximum of three races to be held on each race day. According to the forecast, conditions should improve tomorrow with light rain in the morning giving way to sunshine and northerly winds of approximately 14-18 knots.
Audi Melges 32 World Championship 2009
Melges 32 – Summary Results – as of 09/24/09 at 15:47
Place, Boat Name, Helmsman, Owner, Nation, R1-R2-R3-Points
1. TEAM 93 Claudio Recchi Claudio Recchi, ITA,2,1,2, 5.00
2. BLIKSEM Pieter Taselaar Pieter Taselaar, USA,6,2,1, 9.00
3. MATARAN Stefano Di Properzio Stefano Di Properzio, ITA,7,4,3, 14.00
4. RED Joe Woods Joe Woods, GBR,1,6,11, 18.00
5. MASCALZONE LATINO Vincenzo Onorato Vincenzo Onorato, ITA,12,3,5, 20.00
6. PILOT ITALIA Francesco Martino Francesco Martino, ITA,8,8,4, 20.00
7. ARGO Jason Carroll Jason Carroll, USA,10,10,6, 26.00
8. FANTASTICAAA Lanfranco Cirillo Lanfranco Cirillo, ITA,9,5,13, 27.00
9. BAGUA Andrea Cecchetti Andrea Cecchetti, ITA,5,7,18, 30.00
10. UKA UKA RACING Armando Giulietti L. Santini & A. Marinelli, ITA,4,11,19, 34.00
11. JOE FLY Giovanni Maspero Giovanni Maspero, ITA,3,12,20, 35.00
12. BITIPI Savino Formentini Savino Formentini, MON,11,17,9, 37.00
13. SEI TU 32 Antonello Morina Antonello Morina, ITA,15,14,15, 44.00
14. CALVI NETWORK Carlo Alberini Carlo Alberini, ITA,13,20,14, 47.00
15. MATRIX Luigi Melegari Luigi Amedeo Melegari, ITA,21,13,16, 50.00
16. OPUS ONE Wolfgang Stolz Wolfgang Stolz, GER,20,9,22, 51.00
17. JANAS Pietro Fois Roberto Pardini, ITA,16,30(DSQ),8, 54.00
18. TORPYONE Edoardo Lupi E.Lupi & M.Pessina, ITA,23,21,10, 54.00
19. RUSH DILETTA Mauro Moccheggiani Mauro Moccheggiani, ITA,17,16,23, 56.00
20. TEASING MACHINE Jean Francois Cruette Jean Francois Cruette, FRA,26,24,7,57.00
21. HIGHLIFE Dave Cowell Peter Rogers, GBR,19,26,12, 57.00
22. BRONTOLO Filippo Pacinotti Filippo Pacinotti, ITA,14,15,30(DNF), 59.00
23. TEAM BARBARIANS Fred Kemp Stuart Simpson, GBR,18,19,24, 61.00
24. BLACK MAMBA Martin Knetig Martin Knetig, CZE,27,22,17, 66.00
25. BIG BANG HUBLOT Cesare Curtis Battistella & Curtis, ITA,22,18,26, 66.00
26. SHAKEDOWN Geoffrey Pierini Geoffrey Pierini, USA,24,23,25, 72.00
27. FRA MARTINA Edoardo Pavesio Edoardo & Vanni Pavesio, ITA,25,28,21, 74.00
28. I.NOVA2 Carlo Pesenti Carlo Pesenti, ITA,28,25,28, 81.00
29. LEA Ernesto Faraco Aamalia De Lana, ITA,29,27,27, 83.00
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s sailing season in Porto Cervo is about to close in style with the twelfth and final event of the season being an inaugural ISAF World Championship for one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding one-design classes around. The Audi Melges 32 World Championship 2009 began officially on Sunday 20th September with registrations, measurements and official checks on the 30 participating boats and crews, but the tension will truly rise when racing starts tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd at 12 midday. Racing will continue through Sunday 27th September with a maximum of ten races scheduled.
Although approximately two-thirds of the fleet is Italian, seven other nationalities – Australia, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Monaco and the USA – are also represented. The teams to watch are numerous and no one boat is seen as a favourite for the championship, so competition is sure to be fierce.
Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network (ITA) has performed well this season, winning the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series after four legs in Italian waters. Peter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) U.S. entrant Bliksem showed excellent form in the final two legs of the Sailing Series gaining three bullets and four second-place finishes over 13 races and boasts four-time 470 World Champion Nathan Wilmot of Australia aboard. With three professional sailors allowed on each crew, sailing superstars are not in shorMatrix Cortina t supply. America’s Cup Sailor Ray Davies is calling tactics on Luigi Melegari’s D’Ampezzo (ITA) while Pietro D’Alì, 2007 winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, is sailing on Rush Diletta (ITA) and Adrian Stead is tactician aboard Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (ITA). Onorato is a former World Champion in the Farr 40 and Mumm 30 classes and will be looking to establish a name for himself in the Melges 32 class.
The fleet completed a practice race in light winds of approximately 11 knots and lumpy seas today, but many boats were clearly keeping their tactics under wraps until racing starts in earnest tomorrow. Normally sunny Porto Cervo has been experiencing unsettled and stormy weather over the past few days, and conditions look to remain variable for the first few days of racing. Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio is confident, however, that the YCCS Race Committee will manage to fit in the full quota of 10 races, or close to it.
The first signal is scheduled for 12 midday tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd September, and the forecast predicts east to northeasterly winds of 8 to 10 knots.