Saturday, 29 May 2010

Rolex Capri Sailing Week: Magnifica Capri!

JETHOU and ALEGRE. Image copyright ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi.

by Emanuela di Mundo

Faraglioni is considered to be one of the most natural wonders in all of Italy. Today, the competitors taking part in Rolex Capri Sailing Week were treated to a close encounter with the rock formations that are famous throughout the world. Nicknamed, Stella, Mezzo and Scopolo, the three magnificent limestone stacks mark the location of the first Roman port for Capri. The Capresi consider that passing through the archway under Mezzo brings good luck and many married couples venture there after they have taken their vows.

On day two of Rolex Capri Sailing Week the race committee set a course of about 30 miles for the Mini Maxi fleet. The big boat class was powering through the start line bound at top speed towards Faraglioni, on their way to Ischia. Hiking hard to windward, the crew were coaxing every ounce of speed, to make it to the top mark.

Brian Benjamin’s Maxi Dolphin Aegir got off to a flying start, but the powerful sleek silver hull of Andres Soriano’s Alegre soon took up the running. Alegre was first to round the mark off Faraglioni. Accelerating downwind, the spray was exploding over the bow as they hoisted their gossamer white spinnaker but the race was far from won, as Andres Soriano explains.

Faraglioni, welcomes the competitors. Image copyright ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi.

“That was a tough race today, on the first beat we saw gusts of up to 18 knots and on the first run Jethou could get up on the plane sooner than us, so they were a real handful. Later on we had four big transitions in the wind, and as we were out in front, Alegre was a great indicator of things to come for the competition. We had to keep our heads out of the boat to make the right calls, especially on sail changes. Towards the end, the wind really started to fade and there were windless traps all over the racecourse. We hoisted our bowman, Mark Bartlett, up the mast as a wind seeker and Jethou was closing on us bringing more breeze, but we managed to hold on.”

In the Mylius Class, sailing a 18 nm coastal race, there was a fascinating battle between two of the all carbon fibre development class boats: Luciano Gandini’s Twin Soul 5 and Vincenzo Addessi’s Fra Diavolo were locked in a duel along the coast of Capri. No quarter was given by either as they competed for first place. Approaching Faraglioni, Fra Diavolo was behind but by less than a boat length. As the wind moderated and changed direction approaching the top mark, Fra Diavolo hoisted their Code Zero, in an attempt to pass.

Fra Diavoli’s tactician, Paulo Scutellaro, formerly team manager for the Mascalzone America’s Cup team, explains: “We made a mistake with our Code Zero which allowed Twin Soul 5 to pass us. Racing in the Mylius is very close, the boats are nearly identical which means that we have a good battle on the water. The owner and driver Vincenzo Addessi is a real fighter and we are very happy to be winning for the moment but there is still a lot of racing to be done.”

Vincenzo Addessi is a passionate Neapolitan and named his boat after Michele Pezza, a famous guerrilla leader who resisted the French occupation of Naples during the late 18th century. Pezza was an inspirational leader and Addessi is much the same. He is the Commodore of the Gaeta Yacht Club in Naples, which is twinned with the Yacht Club Capri.

FRAL 2, Alessandro Nespega and the Faraglionis in the background. Image copyright ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi.

In the Comet Class – racing the same course as the Mylius - Alessandro Nespega’s Fral 2 continued their consistent form and after five races lead the class by five points from Marco Franco’s Libertine. The I.Nova Sailing Team from Milan with their boat I.Nova had an excellent day, scoring two podium finishes, to claim third place overnight.

Both, the Comet and the Mylius class sailed an additional windward-leeward race.
The X-41 Class have completed six races – all windward-leeward - and two of the one design boats are on equal points. Pasquale Orofino’s Raffica and Gianclaudio Bassetti’s WB Five. Giovanni Arturo di Lorenzo’s Malafemmena is in third place overall.

Filippo Petrucci, meteorologist for the Italian Air Force, predicts lighter wind for tomorrow, possibly with some additional breeze in the Strait between Capri and the mainland. After two days of excellent sailing conditions and a variety of courses, all classes are expected to be racing tactical windward leeward races tomorrow.

Provisional Standings at end of Day 2
Place, Boat Name, Owner, Nation, R's-Points

Mini Maxi
1. ALEGRE Andres Soriano GBR, 1-1-1-1-4.00
2. JETHOU Sir Peter Ogden GBR, 3-2-2-2-9.00
3. AEGIR Brian Benjamin GBR, 2-3-3-5(DNF)-13.00

1. FRAL 2 Alessandro Nespega ITA, 1-2-1-1-2-7.00
2. LIBERTINE Marco Franco ITA, 2-4-2-3-1-12.00
3. I.NOVA I.Nova Sailing Team ITA, 4-1-6-2-3-16.00

1. RAFFICA Pasquale Orofino ITA, 3-1-1-2-4-1-12.00
2. WB FIVE Gianclaudio Bassetti ITA, 1-2-3-3-1-2-12.00
3. MALAFEMMENA Giovanni Arturo di Lorenzo ITA, 2-3-2-4-2-7-20.00

1. FRA DIAVOLO Vincenzo Addessi ITA, 1-2-1-2-2-8.00
2. PITHECUSA Vincenzo De Blasio ITA, 3-1-3-3-3-13.00
3. TWIN SOUL 5, Luciano Gandini ITA, 4-3-2-1-4-14.00

Rolex Capri Sailing Week