Team Omega into the lead
The five RC 44s involved in the Malcesine Cup had an early start today, leaving dock at 6:30 AM in order to benefit from the strong breeze and the beautiful morning light.
After lunch a long distance race, sailed in eight knots of southerly sea-breeze took place. Despite a less than average start, Russell Coutts' Team Omega managed to fight its way back to the top of the fleet, making the best of the shifts alongside the shore.
The downwind leg towards the castle of Malcesine and the stunning little harbour of Fraglia Vela di Malcesine proved to be decisive. Indeed, the leaders engaged a gybing dual that turned out in Team Omega's favour, Coutts's team finishing the race a few seconds ahead of Chris Bake's Team Aqua. Miroslav Reljanovic's Cro-A-Sail, who had led the fleet for a while, didn't manage to equal the pace of the leaders and had no other option than to see them pass by. Cro-A-sail finished third, ahead of Magia Carbon Affairs and Antigua Ekipa 44, only to find out that they were disqualified because of a premature start.
A couple of shorter fleet races took place later on in the afternoon. Once again, the management of the wind shifts alongside the coast proved to be crucial, and Team Aqua made the best of it. Coming out of a very tricky situation during the first beat, Chris Bake and his team dominated most of the race, finishing ahead of Team Omega and Cro-A-Sail.
The same scenario prevailed in the next race (the seventh fleet race), Team Aqua taking an early lead and extending it throughout the race. Back on great form, and benefiting from a good speed, Miroslav Reljanovic's Cro-A-Sail seriously challenged Team Omega until a bad spinnaker hoist cost them the second place.
With only two points between the two leaders, everything remains open before the last racing day. Two fleet races are scheduled tomorrow, as a conclusion of the 2007 Malcesine Cup.
Fleet racing: Provisional results after six races (no discard):
1) Team Omega (1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 2) 10 points
2) Team Aqua (3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1) 12 points
3) Cro-A-Sail (2, 3, 3, 3, OCS, 3, 3) 22 points
4) Magia Carbon Affairs (5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 4, 4) 28 points
5) Antigua Ekipa 44 (4, 5, 5, DNF, 4, 5, 5) 33 points