Early lead for Enfant Terrible
This morning on the first day of the Adria Ferries ORCi World Championship, things looked extremely promising: partly sunny skies, 14-17 knots of wind from the northwest, just enough to speckle whitecaps on the beautiful azure seas of the Adriatic. Race managers were excited about the day, planning to hold two out of the seven inshore races they intend for the week.
The 110 teams from 15 countries must have also been excited, with boats from both Class A and Class B rushing their first starting attempts into General Recalls, prompting immediate Black Flags on the two subsequent starts in an attempt to control the unruly crowds of over 50 boats on each starting line. But once the Black Flag was raised both classes were sent off successfully on their second starts to their respective 9.7 and 8.0-mile courses. This all looked like the week would be off to a spectacular start.
But two hours later, and fortunately after the finishes of both classes, a thick black cloud rolled off the coast from behind Ancona, bringing with it lightning, rain and a significant wind shift to the south. This left race managers no choice but to postpone racing for a while by sending the fleet into the safety of the harbour at the nearby Marina Dorica. And while after docking crews enjoyed a mid-afternoon coffee, this changed over to beer and pasta at 1600 local time when it became clear this cloud was not moving and it would be impractical to set up another inshore race course in the uncertain conditions.
Nonetheless, the first race was extremely close at the top of Class A, with reigning ORC Class A World Champion Alberto Rossi and his TP52 Enfant Terrible team earning the first victory of the week. But this was by an extremely close margin - a mere 4 seconds in corrected time - over Piero Paniccia's canting-keeled Cookson 50 Calypso. And the margin to third place was even less - only 1 second - to Giorgio Martin's TP52 Aniene, followed in turn 12 seconds back by Marco Serafini's TP52 Hurakan.
The positive result for Rossi is impressive, given that he had his boat delivered from the boatyard only on Thursday, after having made some recent rig and sail changes.
"We are still learning this boat and its modes," said Rossi. "And we hope by the end of the week we will be sailing at full potential."
In contrast, the winner of the first race in Class B did so in more convincing style, with Giuseppe Giuffre's M37 and reigning ORC European Class B champion Low Noise trailing UkaUka Racing's Comet 38S by a few boatlengths, but defeating them in corrected time by 51 seconds to take the first Class B victory. But just as in Class A, there was less than three minutes in corrected time from 1st to 10th place, with some positions determined by as little as five seconds.
Racing will continue here in Ancona tomorrow, with the long and short offshore races scheduled to start tomorrow morning and end about 24 hours later on Wednesday, although the intended course will not be announced until this evening. The format is to have a scoring gate positioned in the long course so that finish times can be taken for this short segment while the teams are en route to complete the course for the long race. Both short and long race are worth equal points (1.0, same as an inshore race), but the long offshore race cannot be discarded from a team's overall scores.