52 fleet falls victim to Capri calms
The coastal race for the Barclays 52 Super Series at Rolex Capri Sailing Week had to be abandoned before the fleet had reached the first turning mark this afternoon when the light breeze shut down and left the crews all but becalmed.
The leaders, Tony Langley’s Gladiator and Jim Swartz’s Vesper were ghosting gently towards the windward mark off the rocky Faraglioni pinnacles at Capri’s southeast corner - when the race committee announced their decision, based as much on the fact that there was no wind at all for their return into the Bay of Naples.
Vesper, with Gavin Brady calling tactics, had made the best start off the pin end of the line and were looking good early on as the leaders tacked upwind in the gentle southeasterly breeze. She was first to run out of the breeze, close in under the spectacular cliffs, which allowed Gladiator to pass.
After erring slightly to the west on the beat – in fact only a very small distance to windward - Azzurra, Paprec and B2 became separated from the fleet in a different breeze. At one point they were under gennakers pointing in the same direction.
The decision received general approval all levels of the fleet.
Vesper’s tactician Gavin Brady reported: “You come to Capri then you have to expect this, just like if you go to San Francisco you have to be ready for lots of tide and lots of wind. If you come here to Capri you just have to be ready for it, to be work through these light spots. We were ready for this three months ago when our owner Jim Swartz said he wanted to come here. We did not feel too bad when the race got banged off. You win some you lose some.
“We were joking at the start of the day that whoever was leading at the last mark would likely be last across the finish. We were not holding our breath.”
Racing returns to windward-leewards Friday and Saturday.