Big conditions for coastal race
With stormy weather featuring rain squalls of over 25 knots, huge waves, and even a waterspout in the course area, the 51 entries from 11 nations had a wet and wild start today at the 2014 ORC European Championship being held with the Trofeo SM La Reina at the Real Club Nautico Valencia (RCNV). Today's race counts 1.2 points towards the overall championship series scores, and inshore racing will start tomorrow and be held daily through until Sunday, 6 July.
The strong northeasterly wind and waves took their toll on the fleet, with 8 boats dropping out for various problems, such as broken sails, gear, and some minor injuries.
One Class A boat - Paolo Semararo's brand-new carbon NEO 400 Fermax - broke a lifeline on the first leg of the race, sending two crew into the water on the windward side. Fortunately the team circled back quickly to pick up their swimming crew within just minutes of the accident and carry on with their race.
Escaping major damage today and the first boat around the entire 63-mile course was Giuseppe Parodi's TP 52 Hurakan, helmed by Marco Serafini with tactics called by Tommaso Chieffi. This Italian team is the reigning ORC Class A World Champion, having won in last year's Adria Ferries ORC Worlds held in Ancona, Italy, but at the midpoint of today's race they were laying in only 10th place in corrected time in Class A, due to the strange weather here in Valencia today.
"It was really strong winds and big seas at the start and in the first two [windward-leeward] laps of the course," said Chieffi. "We broke our 1.5 spinnaker on the last run of [that part of] the course, but we did not lose that much before we headed south. This was quite fast at first, but when approaching the turning mark, the sun came out and the wind dropped to nothing, which was really hard work in those big seas. Then the slower boats caught up to us bringing wind them."
Further proof of this inversion of the corrected times was the fact that the slowest boat in the fleet - Jose Cabelleros's Dehler 29 Cabelleros - was leading Class B at the course midpoint. Cabelleros is one of eight all-amateur teams who are in contention for the Corinthian Trophy to be awarded in each class, and coincidently is also based in Gandia near the mid-course mark.
Heading back to Valencia the wind picked up again as the fleet came back into the rough weather near the port, but not quite enough to keep the fast boats from saving their time. Provisional results indicate Bernard Kammerlander's British XP-44 Koyama, skippered by Inaki Castener, is the winner of Class A, and in second was the midcourse leader, Natalia Brailoiu's Romanian Swan 42 Natalia, and in third Carlos Reboll's Spanish First 45DK Flyer 2.
And in Class B Czech Milan Hajek's Beneteau 40.7 Three Sisters was first to cross the finish line at RCNV, with more finishers on the horizon.
Giving the exhausted crews a break, racing resumes later tomorrow with the start of the first inshore race at 15:30 local time.
Real Club Náutico de Valencia wants to thank Conservas Cuca, Mazda, Heineken, Coca Cola, Plymouth, Café Candelas, NH Ciudad de Valencia, Holiday Inn, Zas Sailing, Navaltec, Varadero Valencia, Surgival and Ascensión Latorre for their contributions in the celebration of this event.