Good day for Nerone

Good day for Nerone

Action packed

Wind, rocks, men overboard and protests at the Rolex Settimana delle Bocche in Sardinia

Friday September 16th 2005, Author: Key Partners, Location: United Kingdom
Thursday was another beautiful day of sailing in Sardinia for the 33 international crews competing in the 27th edition of the Rolex Settimana delle Bocche, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. By 9am - with most of the crews enjoying steaming "cappuccini" and freshly baked "brioche" (the Italian version of a croissants) in the Piazza Azzurra overlooking the boats - the famous Nortwesterly breeze locally known as Maestrale was already blowing at 15 knots. For the second day running, the Race Committee was able to complete three windward/leeward races for the Farr 40 and Swan 45 fleets, while the six IMS yachts sailed a 29-mile course - from Porto Cervo up the channel of La Maddalena, around the Barrettinelli rocks and the Monaci rocks, and all the way back, this time outside the channel, to a short sprint-like windward leg and the finish off Porto Cervo.

With six races sailed - and a maximum total of nine races in the series - Mascalzone Latino from Italy is leading in the Farr 40 fleet, Italian entry DSK Comifin heads the Swan 45 Class and Synergy from Russia leads the IMS fleet. However, at the time of writing, nine protests have been filed and still need to be discussed, therefore the overall scorings might are still in doubt.

In a steady breeze of 15-20 knots, today the One Design fleet provided plenty of action, with a few boats over the line early at the starts, a general recall and some jam-packed mark roundings, plenty of protest flags and penalty turns.

Among the Farr 40 fleet, pre-race favourite and current title-holder Nerone of Italians Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori - winners of this regatta for the past three years running - recovered well from yesterday's shaky start. With multiple World Champion and former Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, American Chris Larson, calling the tactics, Nerone was able to secure a second, a first and an eleventh in today's races. "Today we had a much better day than yesterday," commented Massimo Mezzaroma, "especially in the first two races. In the third race, we miscalculated our entry at the first windward mark and had to execute a penalty turn, which cost us at least four or five places. However, we finished the day with a total of 14 points, which means an average of 4 points per race, and in such a highly competitive fleet this is an excellent result. Yesterday we were a bit rusty - we are non professional sailors and we just needed to get back in the game."

America's Cup syndicate head Vincenzo Onorato sailed, too, three outstanding races with his Farr 40 Mascalzone Latino, earning two firsts and a sixth. With accomplished British sailor Adrian Stead calling the tactics, Mascalzone Latino won the first race of the day with an impressive lead over Nerone, while America's Cup veteran Tommaso Chieffi, tactician on Alessandro Barnaba's Fiamma, finished third. Lang Walker's Kokomo from Australia was caught early over the line, together with French entry Twins 2. In the second race of the day for the Farr 40 fleet, the first mark rounding provided plenty of action, with a number of boats forcing their way into the incoming fleet on starboard. Nerone dominated the whole way, Opus One took second place and Twins 2 finished third. Mascalzone Latino dominated again in the third race of the day, and Opus One earned another second, sailing again very consistently, ahead of Giovanni Maspero's Joe Fly from Italy.

But the rock star of the day was without any doubt Marco Salvi's Vertigo in the Swan 45 fleet, who scored three straight victories. With three America's Cup sailors onboard - Francesco Bruni from Italy at the tactics, Thomas Burnham from the US trimming the main and Ian Budgen from the UK trimming the jib and spinnaker - Vertigo executed perfect starts and showed some excellent speed. "We are obviously delighted with today's results," commented a smiling Francesco Bruni. "All the crew did an excellent job and I must congratulate Marco (Salvi), our owner, for helming like a pro. He steered the boat at its best performance, better than anybody else in the fleet. We had some great starts, always at the Committee Boat end of the line, away from the rest of the fleet. This tactic enabled us to sail into lane of clear air where we were able to go at full speed. Our one only mistake of the day occurred in the second start when we were around 10 seconds late on the line, having underestimated the strength of the tide, which was quite significant".

The first race for the Swan 45 division provided plenty of excitement, with a general recall at the start and a heart-pounding first mark rounding, where Mintaka had to execute a penalty turn for not giving way to one of his rivals. Vertigo took an early lead and was able to stay ahead throughout the race. Vittorio Codecasa's Jeroboam from Italy, with America's Cup helmsman Lorenzo Bressani calling the tactics, finished second, followed by Francesco Martino's T Too. Vertigo dominated also in the second race of the day for the Swan 45s, skillfully fighting its way back from a fourth at the first rounding and showing off its America's Cup competence with a perfect neck-to-neck match in the last leg of the race with Carlo Perrone's Atlantica Racing, who finished second, followed by T Too. Third start of the day for the Swan 45s - Vertigo once again took the best spot and was able to lead throughout the course, ahead of Lanfranco Cirillo's Star Trading, with America's Cup veteran Tiziano Nava as tactician, and Leonardo Ferragamo's Cuordileone with former America's Cup helmsman Andy Beadsworth calling the tactics, both boats representing Italy. During this race, the crew on Atlantica Racing had to rescue a sailor who had fallen overboard from French entry Ay Ay Ay and they are requesting redress.

Among the IMS fleet, Antonio Roncone's and Massimo Guardigli's Andromeda from Italy took line honours and finished fifth on handicap, while Russian entry Synergy was able to clinch the victory on corrected time. Andromeda risked too much in the tricky waters around the La Maddalena archipelago - the boat hit a rock and one man was lost overboard. The crew immediately dropped the sails and was able to recover their fellow crewmember promptly, and luckily no one was hurt. "Today's race was sailed in great conditions, with plenty of breeze", commented Michele Vaccari, helmsman on Andromeda. "Unfortunately we didn't perform too well, as we hit a rock near La Maddalena and lost a man overboard. The boat seems pretty solid, though! We didn't sustain any critical damage and decided to carry on sailing. Tomorrow we will be back on track."

Since 1972, the Rolex Settimana delle Bocche has been organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV) and the Unione Vela Altura Italiana (UVAI). The event, which runs through September 17th, incorporates the Mediterranean One Design Championship and involves two of the most prominent One Design Classes: the Farr 40 and Swan 45. In addition, there is a handicap division for IMS rated boats in the band between GPH 550 and GPH 610. Seven nations are represented - Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Russia.

Provisional standings (protests pending)

Farr 40
1. MASCALZONE LATINO Vincenzo Onorato ITA, 1/4/2/1/6/1/15.0
2. OPUS ONE Wolfgang Stolz GER, 3/2/4/10/2/2/23.0
3. JOE FLY Giovanni Maspero ITA, 4/6/6/8/7/3/34.0

Swan 45
1. DSK COMIFIN Danilo Salsi ITA, 1/4/3/4/4/7/23.0
2. VERTIGO Marco Salvi ITA, 10/1/DNS (11)/1/1/1/25.0
3. MINTAKA Stefano Polti ITA, 4/3/1/7/6/4/25.0

1. SYNERGY Gateways Overseas Ltd RUS, 4/1/5.0
2. TIMERIESCI Luca Lualdi ITA, 2/3/5.0
3. ANDROMEDA Antonio Roncone ITA, 1/5/6.0Robin Patterson's Katanga

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