Friday, 24 June 2011

ORCi World Championship : Shear Terror and Despeinada take the lead

Class A finishes long offshore race in building breeze, but Class B cannot complete long course within time limit and has only the middle race scored thus far for the series

Image copyright Max Ranchi.

by Dobbs Davis

For Class A, the building breeze this afternoon at the very end of the course was a welcome blessing after a long and fitful night of stop and go sailing in the middle and long distance races of the 2011 ORCi World Championship held in Cres, Croatia.
But this late breeze did sweep in the smaller boats in the class to correct over their larger rivals who finished hours before, propelling Riccardo di Bartolomeoʼs B&C-designed GS42R Man, the reigning European champion, into winning the long race, followed by Luca Pierdomenicoʼs Farr 40 MP30+10 6 minutes behind in corrected time, and FYC Slovakiaʼs Judel/Vrolijk 42 Quebramar only another two minutes behind in third.

The new leader in Class A is Cesare Salotti and Pieralberto Settiʼs Farr 40 Shear Terror, whose scores of 5-5-4 for one inshore and two offshore races – with the offshore races scoring 1.5 times – yields a points total of 18.5. Manʼs total is 22.125, and third place is currently held by Roberto Montiʼs Felci-designed GP42 Airis on 33 points.

Tragically, much of Class B raced hard throughout the night and most of the day to complete the 100-mile course, but still could not have their fastest boat get to the finish line within the 36-hour time limit. This means only the first 53.4 miles of the middle distance race could be completed, giving this class only one race on the scoreboard after Mondayʼs general recalls and abandonments left the day without a scored race. This gives three Italian Grand Soleil 40Rʼs the top three places on the leaderboard: Despeinada Sailing Teamʼs Despeinada, skippered by Claudio Sernagiotto, is in the lead on 1.125 points, followed by Francesco Montanariʼs Vahineʼ 5 on 3 points, and Francesco Siculianaʼs reigning ORC European champion Alvarosky in third. At this scoring gate Vahineʼ 5 was only 9 minutes behind Despeinada after 19 hours of racing, but then Alvarosky was over 2 hours behind Vahineʼ 5.

“Unfortunately, because of the course geography, we had no ability to shorten course for Class B,” said event director Zoran Grubisa. “The boats were never going to come together at one point, except at just a few miles from the finish at the bay in Cres, so we had to just hope the wind filled in enough to get them there. Unfortunately the wind remained very irregular on most of the course today, so it just didnʼt happen.”

“This is what it was like all night,” said Vasco Vascotto, tactician on Piero Panicciaʼs Cookson 50 Calipso VI. “There was a streak of wind for you to advance beyond the others, then you would stop. Then the next streak of wind would miss you and bring the others up. It was very difficult sailing, and I think the scoring gate was not necessarily the best test of skill because of this random aspect of the wind. But this is offshore sailing.”

First through the scoring gate, skipper Gabriele Benussi on the TP52 Ariene 1er Classe felt the same, but said on the final leg to the finish they had a spirited gibing duel with Calipso to break the monotony and protect their first-to-finish lead, which they held by only 96 seconds.

Inshore racing will resume tomorrow, with better breeze predicted than for the past three days, and even better Bura conditions predicted for the final two days of racing on Friday and Saturday.

ORCi World Championship