Sunday, 23 January 2011

RC44: Mascalzone Latino Audi Team wins Key West Race Week 2011

Mascalzone Latino RC44. Supplied image.

by Lorenza Priamo

Key West Racing Week 2011 ended yesterday in the waters of Key West, Florida. The winner was clarified after three races, southern wind varying between 5 and 8 knots.

Mascalzone Latino Audi Team from Italy and its owner Vincenzo Onorato did a great job, winning after ten races Key West Racing Week for the third time. The competition was fierce fight until the final leg of the last regata coming out.

Mascalzone’s crew got four first positions, two seconds, three thirds and one fifth position (their worst outcome) thereby ending the competition as leader of general score-board getting the same number of points as Don Wilson’s Team Aqua with the tactician Cameron Appleton, and one point ahead of ORACLE Racing with the tactician Russell Coutts.

The dramatic situation developed in favour of Mascalzone Latino Audi Team due to their larger number of best outcomes: four first positions for the Italian team versus three ones for the UAE team.

On Friday morning Mascalzone Latino Audi Team was one point behind Team Aqua, holder of the leading position on the score-board, with ORACLE Racing in tie third place.

Yesterday it was all or nothing day; winner takes all: the crew was totally focused, excellent aware – nothing was lacking to achieve another victory in this Class: boat’s speed, crew spirit and teamwork is the key.

In the first of the three races, Mascalzone Latino started on the right foot reaping an excellent leading position controlling the race from start to finish. This result ranked Vincenzo Onorato’s team with the tactician Francesco Bruni from Palermo, Italy, back in the first place of the score-board, with just one point advantage.

However, in the next race, number 9, Mascalzone’s crew had a poor performance, they got trapped between two boats and were forced to tack towards a less favourable racing area. This option costed them the race: all their efforts did not help to regain the lost ground. Their predicament was getting even worse caused by a fishing net letting them loosing speed, thereby making impossible to catch up other boats.

This regatta is won by Team Aqua, taking back the leadership on the score-board, followed by I’s American team and ORACLE Racing (third). Mascalzone Latino ends in fifth position.

The tenth and last race shows real teamwork spirit and true men fight. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team’s starts not in a good shape, their position compels the tactician Francesco Bruni to tack. Mascalzone Latino falls behind the other boats and after a pair of tacks moves to the left hand side of the racing area, the crew is gambling, knowing that there will be no more chances. ORACLE and Team Aqua are sailing on the right hand side and watching each other.

Shortly after having reached one half of the first upwind leg, the boats are approaching to the fatal cross-over point. The distance is large in this moment, and the minutes before the crossing finish line seem lumbering slowly. Moment of truth finally comes: Mascalzone eases ahead of all.

It’s not good enough: in order to win it is necessary to put a boat between Mascalzone and Team Aqua. Unfortunately, leg after leg, while Mascalzone is leading alone ahead of all, Team Aqua regains positions and, in the middle of the second upwind stage is second. Bruni realizes the danger and orders his helmsman to gybe to interfere with the breeze blowing towards Aqua, hoping making it easier for ORACLE to overtake Team Aqua.

The next step is a text book operation: although Aqua was already in layline compelling to tack, letting ORACLE to pass, reaching second place.

Mascalzone Latino Audi Team wins convincingly the race, ahead of ORACLE and Team Aqua.

“It is a great satisfaction, to win against competitors of such calibre – comments Vincenzo Onorato – today it has been difficult, but at the moment of truth we showed our mettle. It happened for the first time while sailing upwind I heard my tactician telling me to gybing instead of tacking. It has been the decisive action to take. Well done boys!”

Crew members on board, beside the Neapolitan owner and Bruni: two trimmers, Andrea Ballico and Matteo Savelli, mainsail trimmer Paul "Flipper" Westlake, the mastman Simone de Mari, the grinder, Iztok Knafelc and the bowman Davide “Manolo” Scarpa.

Final general scoreboard (top 3):

1. Mascalzone Latino, ITA, (Vincenzo Onorato-Francesco Bruni), 3-2-1-1-2-3-3-1-5-1, 22 pts
2. Team Aqua, UAE, (Don Wilson-Cameron Appelton) 1-1-2-3-3-2-2-4-1-3, 22 pts
3. Oracle Racing, USA, (Chris Museler-Russell Coutts), 2-3-3-2-1-1-4-2-3-2, 23 pts

Mascalzone Latino
Key West 2011