Holiday in the Adriatic

Result for Miranda Merron in the Cinquecento per Due
Having taken part in the Route du Rhum and the Volvo Ocean Race last year, Miranda Merron last week showed that her experience has paid off when she finished second in the slightly lower profile Italian classic, the Cinquecento per Due coming fifth overall under IRC in a fleet of 24 and first in her class. In its 29th year, this 500 mile race around the Adriatic has the most flexible of formats. You can race it doublehanded or fully crewed and even have a choice of courses - either 500 miles or 200 miles. Merron and her team mate, local sailor Alessandra Boatto who had previously sailed the 200 mile two handed version of the race, were sailing a Finot/Conq designed Giro 34, a mini Open 60 affair with a wingmast, shrouds, forestays and no runners. This is the one design boat used for the Round Italy race, the Giro Vela. Starting in Porto Santa Margerita near Trieste (and not the one near Genoa) close to the Slovenian border, the course for the 500 Gold fleet took them south past the Istrian peninsula round the Croatian island of Sansego, across the Adriatic to the Tremiti Islands, back to Sansego before returning to the start. Sailing down the Adriatic can provide mix fortunes in terms of breeze. There is the local bora, a northeasterly which can decimate everything in its path and during the race four years ago the crews experienced 70 knot winds. For Merron and Boatto there was no such excitement. A good sea breeze was on hand for the start on Sunday 8 June. The wind died the first night off the Istrian peninsula causing the fleet to regroup but it kicked in again the following day. "The breeze came up at Sansego and we had a