Definitive win for Victory

A wrap-up report from the inter-America's Cup team match racing at the Jeep Challenge in Puerto Cervo

Monday July 17th 2006, Author: Jill Campbell, Location: Italy
After three days of close-fought match races in Porto Cervo, Sweden’s Victory Challenge triumphed among the four America’s Cup teams participating in the Jeep Challenge 2006, an invitational event organised by DaimlerChrysler Italy in collaboration with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

All three days were characterised by light north to northeasterly breezes ranging from three to seven knots which made the match races aboard the one-design Mumm 30 craft technically demanding. The four competing America’s Cup team were: United Internet Team Germany with Michael Hestbaek at the helm, Victory Challenge with helmsman Sweden’s Mattias Rahm, Desafio Espanol 2007 led by Santiago Lopez Vazquez an the Italian Mascalzone Latino=Capitalia Team, with Vasco Vascotto, past Mumm 30 World Champion, at the helm.

Day one saw the teams complete 10 races. The first match saw the Swedes of Victory Challenge up against the United Internet Team Germany. The Germans, with skipper Michael Hestbaek, finished approximately 30 seconds ahead of Mattias Rahm. Desafio Espanol 2007 and Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team competed in the second match which saw Italy’s Vasco Vascotto take victory over Spaniard Santiago Lopez Vazqueuz.

Racing continued with United Internet Team Germany triumphing again, this time beating Desafio Espagnol 2007 over the finish line by 20 seconds. Victory Challenge meanwhile beat Mascalzone Latino by 25 seconds. In the third and final flight of the first round robin Mascalzone Latino finished just ahead of Team Germany in a hard-fought regatta and Victory Challenge beat Desafio Espanol.

Another two flights were completed which saw a strong United Internet Team Germany beat first Victory Challenge and then Desafio Espanol. The Spaniards lost out again to Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team and in the final race Mascalzone’s Vascotto was pipped to the post by Victory Challenge.

With two races remaining to complete the second round robin Victory Challenge finished the day in the lead on 4 points followed by Mascalzone Latino and United Internet Team Germany, both on 3 points. Spain’s Desafio Espanol finished at the back of the classification on 0 points having failed to win any of their races.

“Racing wasn’t spectacular today due to the conditions,” commented Vasco Vascotto, skipper of Mascalzone Latino, “from a technical point of view it was difficult to interpret the light and shifty winds. We are happy with our results and tomorrow we will have the chance of moving up further.”

Day two started with the final two races of the second round robin: Italy’s Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team romped home 48 seconds ahead of United Internet Team Germany, while Sweden’s Victory Challenge crossed the finish line 14 seconds ahead of Spain’s Desafio Espanol 2007 after an extremely hard fought regatta.

Following the conclusion of the second round robin the pairings for the semi-finals saw Victory Challenge up against Desafio Espanol while Mascalzone Latino competed with United Internet Team Germany.

The Swedes aboard Victory Challenge, helmed by Mattias Rahm had no problems winning both semi-final races. Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team, with Italy’s Vasco Vascotto at the helm, also triumphed in both of their races leaving the Swedes up against the Italians in the final.

“We had light air again today.” Commented Mascalzone Latino skipper and finalist Vasco Vascotto. “We are happy to have reached the final, we analyzed the mistakes we made yesterday and we learned from them.”

“Obviously we are pleased with today’s results,” confirmed Victory Challenge’s skipper Mattias Rahm, “I expect tomorrow to be a tough battle against Vasco who is a World Champion on these boats.”

In Saturday’s final day of match-racing, which could have seen a maximum of five races with the first team to win three matches taking victory, the Swedes of Victory Challenge lived up to their name as they won the first three match races consecutively dominating Vasco Vascotto’s Mascalzone Latino completely.

“They were really good regattas,” said Mattias Rahm, helmsman of Victory Challenge, “ and obviously we’re delighted with the results. The crew has never sailed on a boat of this size before. We knew from the start that Vascotto would be a difficult adversary and we really gave it our all to get by him. What helped us most was the fact we were stronger in the starts. I would like to thank the organizers and I hope we can return next year to defend the title because Sardinia is the most beautiful place I’ve ever sailed in.”

The prizegiving took place during the gala dinner held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and a fleet regatta, won by Mascazone Latino- Capitalia Team was held to following day to officially close the event.

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