Sunday, 7 March 2010

Team Azzurra Completes Omega Match Racing Regatta

by Jill Campbell

The Italian sailing team Azzurra from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, skippered by Francesco Bruni with Tommaso Chieffi calling tactics, today finished racing at the Omega Auckland Match Racing Regatta. The team completed two Round Robins with six wins but was unable to qualify in the top four who advanced to the Semifinals and Finals (Ben Ainslie, Torvar Mirsky, Adam Minoprio & Dean Barker).

Due to the extremely shifty and light conditions only two matches of RR2 flight 7 were completed today. At 12.30pm the Race Committee hoisted the AP flag and called off the remaining matches of the Round Robins. The top four teams from RR 1 & 2 enjoyed an hour of rest ashore, waiting for the new afternoon breeze to fill in before going out into the Semis and Finals.

Bruni and his fellow team members Tommaso Chieffi, Ben Durham (main), Tom Burnham (pit), Pierluigi De Felice (trimmer) and Matteo Auguadro (bow), faced off an impressive line-up of top international match racing skippers, who included:

Adam Minoprio (NZL - BlackMatch Racing)
Torvar Mirsky (AUS - Mirsky Racing Team)
Sebastien Col (FRA - ALL4ONE)
Ben Ainslie (GBR - TEAMORIGIN)
Francesco Bruni (ITA - Azzurra Sailing Team)
Bertrand Pace (FRA)
Magnus Holmberg (SWE)
Dean Barker (NZL - Emirates Team New Zealand)
Chris Dickson (NZL - Dickson Racing Team)
Karol Jablonski (POL)

Bruni was able to defeat Col, Dickson, Mirsky and Pace in RR1 and Dickson and Jablonski in RR 2. This event has been a great opportunity for team Azzurra to test their legs at sea in the Waitemata Harbour and regain confidence with the tricky and challenging conditions for which this gulf is renowned.

Bruni, although slightly frustrated with the weather pattern over the last two days, is satisfied with the outcome of the regatta and is happy to have had the opportunity to train against such heavy duty rivals before the upcoming Louis Vuitton Trophy.

“We are a bit disappointed with the last two days of racing due to the unfavorable weather conditions. On our first day we enjoyed some fantastic sailing and the past two days have been kind of a letdown,” commented Bruni. “Overall, though, this has been great training for us and we were really happy to compete in the event. We were hoping in a slightly better result, but we knew from the start that this was going to be more of a testing and training opportunity for us in view of the Louis Vuitton Trophy. Tomorrow and Monday we will be training on the big boats [the 2007-generation America’s Cup boats provided by the organizers] and on Tuesday we look forward to starting racing again.”

The Louis Vuitton Trophy is scheduled to run in Auckland from 9th to 21st March 2010. Azzurra will try to defend its 2:0 victory of the previous Louis Vuitton Trophy event held in Nice last November against the local favourites Emirates Team New Zealand.

About Azzurra

Azzurra takes its name from the first Italian challenger to the America’s Cup which was launched by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in 1983. Azzurra finished third in the challenger series in Newport, RI, USA. The YCCS acted as Challenger of Record for the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle, Australia. Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the YCCS and President of the current Azzurra consortium was also at the head of the Azzurra challenge in 1983.

The new team Azzurra, launched in October 2009, arose from the collaboration between the YCCS and Giovannni Maspero; the team is led by skipper and helmsman Francesco Bruni, supported by tactician Tommaso Chieffi.

Francesco Bruni has taken part in two America's Cups and three Olympic Games. Tommaso Chieffi is also one of the best Italian racing yachtsmen, with four America’s Cup and one Olympic Games to his credit. The rest of the crew is made up by match race, America’s Cup and one-design sailors.


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