On the limit
A short delay before the start saw the 37-boat fleet make final preparations for what was going to be a physical race on a new race track area that many of the entries had not sailed before. Due to shoal water on one side and the physical extremities of the landlocked bay a course of only 1.9 miles could be set. The fleet seemed more interested in the right hand side of the course, due to the shelter offered from the current by the Southern tip of Caprera Island. The same piece of land also meant a tack back on to starboard below the final weather mark layline, meaning the beat was indeed complex.
The favoured right hand side meant plenty of congestion at the committee boat end and overall leader Nerone misjudged the approach and were blocked out to weather of the line at the gun, eventually crossing the startline in last position. Initially the left hand side looked favoured but half way up the leg when those that had chosen the right side started to feel the benefits of the tidal shelter starting last proved to be far from fatal, with Nerone moving swiftly through the fleet and back into contention. And indeed at the top mark those that were still unconvinced about the wind driven current had a sharp lesson as they saw what looked like a good layline call to the mark fall short by the time they reached the turn.
Several boats in the cluster approaching the mark missed the buoy and finding no way out had to bare away and gybe around for another attempt to find the true layline, only to be confronted with a wall of starboard tack boats ultimately requiring a second go around and the loss of 20 places.
Jim Richardson, owner of Barking Mad, has consistently been a leader at the first mark right through this regatta and today he rounded the top mark in the lead again. Next back was Crocodile Rock and Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi. The run was nothing other than fast with flat water and strong gusts propelling the fleet straight downwind. Gybing was an adventure for many, but the strong gusts were the real danger, boats that weren't already planing when the gusts hit loaded up and many broached out one way or the other. The trick was to anticipate their arrival, make sure the boat was planing fast so that the gust just meant another few knots added to the already mid-teens boat speed.
Boathandling was key today and the leaders showed how easy it is to pull away from the pack of boats that weren't so foot sure with the various manoeuvres required. By the first leeward gate Tony DeMulder's Victric VII had passed Alinghi and then opted for the starboard hand leeward mark leaving Barking Mad and Crocodile Rock to head for the right hand side of the course for the second weather leg. By now the top ten had broken away from the following pack, the consensus still being to work the right hand side of the course, exploiting the shifts on the way.
By the last weather mark, and with the wind building all the time, Crocodile Rock and Barking Mad were effectively overlapped, with Barking Mad to weather. Jim Richardson's dark blue hull with a bit more speed on the spreader leg, rolled up beside the leader who then luffed to keep the agressor behind. Victric VII, just behind, used the opportunity to drive in to leeward and hoist the spinnaker before the others. The three way race for
the lead lasted all the way down the high speed run, the boats reaching speeds of 18 knots at times in the puffs. Calling the moment for the final gybe was going to be key and once again boathandling would decide the outcome. By the finish Crocodile Rock had escaped from Barking Mad's clutches and was now concentrating on keeping the British boat Victric VII behind who by now had moved up to second.
Other consistent teams on the water today included Michael Illbruck's Nela who with today's fourth place moves into third overall. The most consistent boat to date is Nerone, who goes into the final day with an eight-point buffer on the second placed boat Barking Mad. The Race Committee's decision to abandon hopes of further competition on Friday instigated an amendment to the race instructions which will allow three races to be held tomorrow, Saturday, the first of which will start at 10:30. The forecast is once again for fresh winds although they should moderate in the late afternoon.
Alinghi helm and owner Ernesto Bertarelli gave his comments on the racing: "A lot of fun today, we were really reaching the limits of what you can do in a Farr 40. The adrenalin was really pumping downwind. We had an average start, but we sailed amazingly well up the first beat. When we rounded in third place I couldn¹t believe it. Russell (Coutts) as ever had a great first beat. We also seemed to have pretty good speed today.
"I'm not sure this class is any harder than it was two years ago when we won the World Championship. We didn't do a great job at the beginning of the regatta, but now we are getting better. The Farr 40 is the best One Design Class in the world right now, and being consistently strong makes you win regattas."
|Pos.||Sail #||Yacht Name||Owner||Tactician||R1||R 2||R3||R4||R5||R6||R7||Total|
|2||USA50955||BARKING MAD||Jim Richardson||Terry Hutchinson||15||2||14||4||1||3||38.5|
|3||GER931||NELA||Michael Illbruck||John Kostecki||19||16||18||1||2||4||60|
|4||USA52104||BAMBAKOU||John Coumantaros||Chris Larsen||1||7||6||12||8||26||60|
|5||GER40101||MORNING GLORY||Hasso Plattner||Dee Smith||13||20||3||7||3||17||63|
|6||ITA2272||ALINGHI||Ernesto Bertarelli||Russell Coutts||11||12||7||15||13||6||63.5|
|7||GBR7040R||GAME ON||Oswald/Bainbridge||Anthony Haines||11||11||16||8||10||15||71|
|8||AUS1770||SOUTHERN STAR||John Calvert-Jones||Grant Simmer||17||34||9||5||5||5||75|
|9||ITA1161||SEVEN||Alberto Signorini||Tommaso Chieffi||8||10||15||14||24||8||79|
|10||GBR9040R||WARLORD||Philip Tolhurst||Chris Main||10||4||19||22||18||9||82|
|11||GER5055||STRUNTJE LIGHT||Wolfgang Schaefer||Michael Coxon||3||18||11||13||27||11||83|
|12||USA40076||LE RENARD||Steve Phillips||Kevin Hall||4||3||23||22||23||10||85|
|13||USA46999||CROCODILE ROCK||Harris/Geremia||Vince Brun||2||38||31||9||7||1||88|
|14||USA69||WARPATH||Fred/Steve Howe||John Cutler||22||8||1||19||11||32||93|
|15||GBR8888L||KATANGA||Robin Paterson||Ian Walker||18||9||22||10||19||22||100|
|16||GBR5R||VICTRIC 5||Tony De Mulder||Adrian Stead||6||31||12||23||28||2||102|
|17||GRE42||ATALANTI||George Andreadis||Rod Davis||17||15||17||11||14||28||102|
|18||USA46957||GROOVEDERCI||Deneen/John Demourkas||Mark Reynolds||7||30||10||6||21||29||103|
|19||FRA29039||HAGAKURE||Michel Tiberini||Francios Brenac||22||5||28||17||15||19||106|
|20||NOR40||NORWEGIAN STEAM||Eivind Astrup||Herman Horn Johannessen||5||19||13||23||12||35||107|
|21||NED40105||MEAN MACHINE||Peter De Ridder||Stuart Bannatyne||24||38||8||3||9||27||109|
|22||ITA4038||MADINA MILANO||Dario Ferrari||Thierry Peponnet||18||13||12||38||26||20||127|
|23||GBR25R||GBR25||Mark Heeley||Iain Percy||9||6||34||29||29||21||128|
|24||ITA13711||TWT||Marco Rodolfi||Tiziano Nava||12||38||21||24||17||18||130|
|26||JPN5095||SLED||Takashi Okura||Yutaka Takagi||30||24||4||32||25||25||140|
|27||ITA1||BREEZE||Vincenzo Onorato||Flavio Favini||29||25||27||21||20||23||145|
|29||ITA4080||RROSE||Riccardo Bonadeo||Gabriele Benussi||37||32||24||18||16||24||151|
|30||USA40040||ALBABLU||Renato Irrera||Francesco Bruni||31||29||20||33||30||14||157|
|31||USA50051||SARASTRO||JP Delmotte||Marc Bouet||32||14||25||28||32||30||161|
|32||ITA4088||ZZENZERO||Renato Mazzeschi||Michael Ivaldi||25||26||37||34||31||16||169|
|33||FRA9383||FARRFELU||Alain Bompart||Alain Fedensieu||26||28||26||27||33||31||171|
|34||AUS8888||KOKOMO||Lang Walker||Roger Hickman||27||23||30||20||35||38||173|
|35||ITA0091||SHINING SR.||Domenico Cilenti||Mitja Kosmina||33||22||33||26||38||34||186|
|36||GBR8940||FARRFALINA||Rob Goddard||Nick Meadow||34||34||29||30||34||33||194|
|37||AUS69R||CACHARAZO||Marcos Vivian||Nick Haigh||36||35||36||35||38||36||216|
More of Carlo Borlenghi's amazing images on the following pages...