Peninsula Petroleum claims coastal race
From Virgin Gorda’s North Sound, the fleet hoisted kites and set off out into the Caribbean Sea, before rounding Guana Island with a long beat back to the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. After 28nm of racing where the lead changed on a number of occasions, Peninsula Petroleum took the winners gun in 3 hours 16 minutes, less than one minute ahead of second placed Synergy Russian Sailing Team.
Team Nika took the early lead, leading the fleet out of Virgin Gorda’s North Sound. An early split saw Peninsula Petroleum, Synergy and Lunajets Aleph Racing gybe over to hug the Virgin Gorda shore line, as Nika led the rest of the fleet, which had opted to stay out to sea. The Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge crew was forced to make an early spinnaker peel, after ripping their boat's kite on a passing schooners' mast, pushing them to the back of the fleet.
As the fleet passed Cockroach Island, a right shift favoured the trio inshore, causing them to extend their lead over the rest of the fleet. Reaching North Bay Bluff, the fleet dropped kites for a two sail reach down to Monkey Point, the southernmost tip of Guana Island. Peninsula Petroleum was able re-hoisted its kite first with Synergy chasing hard and Aleph in third.
Synergy was next to pounce. With co-owner Leonid Lebedev at the helm, the Russians passed Peninsula Petroleum on the run up the west side of Guana Island. Tactician Ed Baird explained their strategy: “We had really worked hard to understand this course and were confident with the decision for an early gybe on the run and it worked out nicely. Our research also told us to drop our spinnaker on the right hand side of the boat, so when we rounded the southern side of the island we were all set up on to hoist and unfortunately for them Peninsula dropped their kite on the left, which allowed us to get ahead.”
A close fetch back to Mosquito Rock saw the Russian team go low and fast. It didn’t pay as both lead boats had to tack for the Rock before re-entering the Sound. As they rounded Mosquito Rock, Peninsula Petroleum had a five boatlength lead and continued to extend away as they headed to the finish line off the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.
Tactician Vasco Vascotto was thrilled with the day's racing: “This is one of the best places you can do a coastal race. There are islands and channels that can change the racing very quickly. We are very happy with the day, the boat has been sailing nicely, the guys are doing and excellent job. We are really just enjoying the conditions and because of this the results follow. But obviously we need to keep the pressure off because we are Latin, and Latin people are very passionate, so we need to keep focused.”
Synergy held off the French, Aleph Racing, to take second. Team Aqua, with owner Chris Bake back on the helm today, closed up on the lead trio, but could only manage fourth place. Bombarda Racing finished fifth, enough to keep them in touch with Peninsula Petroleum at the top of the leaderboard.
Racing continues at the RC44 Virgin Gorda Cup through until Sunday.
|1||Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team (GBR 1)||2||6||1||3||1||13|
|2||Bombarda Racing (ITA42)||1||3||3||6||5||18|
|3||Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS 13)||6||2||6||4||2||20|
|4||Team Aqua (GBR 2041)||9||4||5||2||4||24|
|5||Artemis Racing (SWE44)||4||8||7||1||6||26|
|6||Aleph Racing (FRA17)||5||5||8||5||3||26|
|7||GAZPROM Youth Sailing Challenge (RUS7)||8||1||4||8||9||30|
|8||Team Nika (RUS 10)||3||7||9||7||7||33|
|9||Katusha (RUS 007)||7||9||2||9||8||35|