Saturday, 29 May 2010

Rolex Capri Sailing Week: Close Battle in Tricky Conditions

LIBERTINE, owner: FRANCO MARCO, class: COMET 45. Image copyright ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi.

by Emanuela di Mundo

On the penultimate day of Rolex Capri Sailing Week there was tension on the dock. Virtually all of the classes are very much in the balance. The competitors sailed out to the race area in a fresh southeasterly breeze of 15 knots gusting up to 18 knots. A squall just before the start had crews scrambling to change headsails in the building breeze. Two windward-leeward races were scheduled for all classes and held in the strait between Capri and the mainland, nicknamed Piccola Boca.

In the Mini-Maxi Class, Andres Soriano’s Mills 68 Alegre has a perfect score so far but there is no discard at Rolex Capri Sailing Week which is probably why the opted for a conservative start for the first race of the day. All of the Mini-Maxi fleet opted to head for the mainland shore, to gain a lift from the breeze accelerating across the land, and despite their late start, Alegre powered through to make the top mark by some distance. Peter Ogden’s Reichel Pugh 60 Jethou was sporting a new revolutionary sail material 3Di and after reaching at speed to the offset mark. Jethou hoisted their spinnaker and sped off at 18 knots. They were surfing faster than the wind, the asymmetric sail producing apparent wind like a turbo charger.

Practice makes perfect and Alexander Scharer’s debuting his Marten 67, Caol Ila executed a text book heavy airs gybe shortly after the first mark. The gigantic spinnaker was expertly maneuvered with great precision. Caol Ila and Aegir continued to have a close quarters battle, the competitiveness of their duel spurred them both on. Caol Ila crossed the finish line just in front of Aegir. But after time correction, Brian Benjamin helming Aegir had his best result of the regatta, claiming second place for Race One.

Brian Benjamin was a happy man dockside: “I am really pleased with our result in our first race, the crew worked really well and it makes all the difference. We did have an issue on a gybe but the recovery was so good that we hardly lost any momentum.”

Aegir has been starting extremely well, as crew boss Guy Barron explains; “We have been getting off the line really well and navigator Peter Selby and tactician Andy Beadsworth have been working well with Brian at crucial times. We do have to be a little cautious with Aegir as she is a genuine cruiser racier and does not have the systems of the high-performance Mini-Maxis. That will be different when Brian launches his new boat, the Rogers 82, later this year.”

Andres Soriano’s Alegre has a perfect score line with one race to go and is assured of the Mini-Maxi Class title at Rolex Capri Sailing Week.

Vincenzo Addessi’s Mylius Fra Diavolo had another succesfull day and look well placed to win the class, however Luciano Gandini’s Twin Soul 5 and Vincenzo de Blasio’s Pithecusa are in a tight battle for second place.

It looks as if it will go to the wire in the one design X-41 Class. Pasquale Orofino’s Raffica and Gianclaudio Bassetti’s WB Five have had a real battle and the winner will not be decided until the last race.

In the Comet Class, Alessandro Nespega is having an excellent regatta. This is his fifth Rolex Capri Sailing Week and Fral 2 is looking to retain her class title from last year. In the first race of the day, the top three boats all finished within one minute of each other.

Max Procopio, team manager for FRAL 2 has been coming to Capri for 25 years. “Tonight’s Rolex party will be fantastic, Canzone del Mare is a magical place, truly amazing. Capri is not just a wonderful place to sail it is also a wonderful place just to visit and the party to night will be very special.”

JETHOU, Sir Peter Ogden's mini maxi. Image copyright Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi.

La Canzone del Mare embodies the essence of Capri. It is a famous location in Greek mythology for Ulysses, also known as a hero of the Trojan war. As Ulysses passed Capri on his journey home he asked his men to tie him to the mast of his boat and put wax in his ears so he would not be lured by the sirens, three beauties that lured sailors with their splendor and song. So enraged were the Sirens when they saw Ulysses that they turned themselves into three giant stones which still remain in the bay, collectively known as Faraglioni.

With the romantic Faraglioni as a backdrop, waterside terraces and traditional, elegant interiors, La Canzone del Mare is an enchanting venue. Under a carpet of stars and the sound of the sea, tonight’s party should be an unforgettable occasion for the honoured guests of Rolex including all of the owners and crew participating at Rolex Capri Sailing Week.

Provisional Standings
Place, Boat Name, Owner, Nation, R's-Points

Mini Maxi
1. ALEGRE Andres Soriano GBR, 1-1-1-1-1-1-6.00
2. JETHOU Sir Peter Ogden GBR, 2-2-2-2-3-2-13.00
3. AEGIR Brian Benjamin GBR, 3-3-3-3(RDG)-2-3-17.00

1. FRAL 2 Alessandro Nespega ITA, 1-2-1-1-2-3-2-12.00
2. LIBERTINE Marco Franco ITA, 2-4-2-3-1-1-1-14.00
3. I.NOVA I.Nova Sailing Team ITA, 4-1-6-2-3-4-4-24.00

1. RAFFICA Pasquale Orofino ITA, 3-1-1-2-4-1-1-5-18.00
2. WB FIVE Gianclaudio Bassetti ITA, 1-2-3-3-1-2-2-4-18.00
3. MALAFEMMENA Giovanni Arturo di Lorenzo ITA, 2-3-2-4-2-7-4-1-25.00

1. FRA DIAVOLO Vincenzo Addessi ITA, 1-2-1-2-2-1-1-10.00
2. PITHECUSA Vincenzo De Blasio ITA, 3-1-3-3-3-3-2-18.00
3. TWIN SOUL 5, Luciano Gandini ITA, 4-3-2-1-4-2-4-20.00

Rolex Capri Sailing Week