Antonio Orlandi's new Grand Soleil 42R Meridiana-Italtel has Vasco Vascotto helming

Antonio Orlandi's new Grand Soleil 42R Meridiana-Italtel has Vasco Vascotto helming

Offshore race underway

New hardware takes to the waves at the Rolex IMS Offshore World Championship in Capri

Wednesday May 19th 2004, Author: James Boyd, Location: Italy
The Rolex IMS World Championship, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, officially got under way today in the Bay of Naples with the start of the offshore race.

Following the cancellation of the first day of racing due to a lack of wind, today there was 8-9 knots of northeasterly breeze allowing racing to be started on time.

With the start divided into two groups, today's 'long' race course was trimmed to around 80 nautical miles as the wind was forecast to drop.

The 66 entries had an 18 mile beat to a buoy off the city of Naples, then a 16 mile leg to the island of Procida and around, 16 miles back to a mark off Marina Grande, Capri, back up to Procida and then the return to the finish off Capri.

As expected, the wind dropped shortly after the start, and the boats were finding it slow going. The two leading boats, the sole American entry Talisman and the Italian boat X-Prozac, the largest boats in the fleet at 58ft and 56ft respectively, rounded the mark off Capri (for the first time) in the early evening. The race leaders are expected to finish before midnight with the rest of the fleet arriving back in Capri through tomorrow morning, Wednesday, May 19.

A total of ten nations are being represented at this year's World Championship. Brand-new designs from Botin & Carkeek, respected interpreters of the IMS rule, are also adding to the excitement. Marco Birch's Farr 53 Talisman with Terry Hutchinson at the helm, Memo Memulini flying the Uruguayan flag, X-Prozac, Meridiana Italtel with Vasco Vascotto, and Raiffeisen CM with Lorenzo Bressani at the wheel, are challenging the predominance of Bruce Farr designs. Many of these new boats arrived in Capri, the first event of the IMS season, just a few weeks after their launch.

More photos from the start on the following pages...King Harald V of Norway's Farr 50 Fram XV

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