The third day of racing at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship off the Costa Smeralda was blessed with bright sunshine, blue skies and a 10 knots northerly gradient breeze, which veered northeast in the afternoon. A significant swell was still evident and changeable conditions developed as the sea breeze filled in during the afternoon.
All classes were set a coastal course of approximately 30 miles, while the Mini Maxis fought out two windward-leeward races.
In the seven boat Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, today was an all-American success story. Alexander Schaerer's Mills 68 Caol Ila won the first race while American George Sakellaris's Reichel Pugh 72 Shockwave claimed the second by just 11 seconds. Shockwave and Caol Ila both posted a third to go with their bullets, to come out lowest scoring boats of the day.
“That was a much better day than yesterday,” said Alexander Schaerer. “It was an interesting race for us, because we have not raced windward-leewards for some time, so yesterday we were trying to get back into short race course mode and our results were not as we would like. But today we got back into the right frame of mind and it is looking more promising for the rest of the week.”
Overall Alegre continues to lead the World Championship going into the second half the week, but her rivals are getting dangerous close with 1.5 points ahead of Robertissima III with perennial powerhouse crew on Ràn 5 a further 0.5 point back in third. Ràn 5 suffered a last place in today's final race when she broke the tip of her rudder.
|1||GBR8728R||ALEGRE||ALEGRE YACHTING LTD||1.5||1||3||4||5||9.5|
|2||GBR7236R||ROBERTISSIMA III||ROBERTO TOMASINI||6||2||1||5||2||11|
|3||SWE 72||RAN 5||NIKLAS ZENNSTROM||4.5||3||2||2||7||11.5|
|4||USA45||BELLA MENTE||HAP FAUTH||3||4||4||7||4||15|
|5||USA60669||CAOL ILA R||OCEAN RACING III||9||7||6||1||3||19|
|7||GBR74R||JETHOU||SIR PETER OGDEN||7.5||5||5||6||6||23.5|
The Wally fleet is seeing some fierce competition as Magic Carpet 3, Y3K and J One continue to overtake and leapfrog each other at the top of the table without a moment's respite. The 2013-launched Wally Cento, Magic Carpet 3, was first in today's coastal race, but currently sits just one point behind J One in the overall classification, on equal points with Y3K.
J One's tactician, Jens Christensen, also had a taxing day: "We got a terrible start, and were last behind the entire fleet so we spent the whole day fighting like mad to climb back up, we had a fantastic race with Tango and Inti but it was a difficult day with lots of wind shifts and sail changes. We are happy with how we did, today was really exciting. Now we are just one point ahead of Magic Carpet and it's going to be very difficult, I think it's very open and any of the top three boats could win."
Although Inoui claimed her first bullet of the series, the overall results in the Supermaxi division remain invaried with Dutch yacht Firefly leading ahead of Marco Vogele's Inoui and Italy's Viriella owned by Vittorio Morretti.
The Russian Swan 60 Bronenosec also took her first victory on corrected time today, however overall it remains the Baltic 78 Lupa of London in first place ahead of the Russian boat and Gerad Logel's Arobas.
No change either in the Maxi division as Sir Irvine Laidlaw's 25m Highland Fling took her third consecutive bullet ahead of the Swan 90 Odin.
The omens look increasingly favourable for the Rainbow crew which completed a race win double today, adding victory in today’s 31 mile coastal race to her windward-leeward triumph yesterday to ease two points ahead of Lionheart in the overall J Class standings.
Rainbow showed very good speed again in the light to moderate breezes, made smart tactical choices and anticipated and dealt smoothly with the key transitions along the familiar course clockwise around Sparga island.
As they usually do when racing on these waters, Rainbow’s taciturn Italian double act Michele Ivaldi and Francesco de Angelis, moved to squash any suggestion that they might have any extra local knowledge from having sailed here so long and so often. But to watch them guide Rainbow around the craggy northeast tip of the Sparga island, within metres of the shore – gaining their leading J an extra 70-80m on her pursuers because they saved an extra tack on the boats behind – kind of refutes their protestations that all their rival afterguards know the La Maddalena archipelago equally as well.
“There are always challenges and it is always different," claimed de Angelis, the Prada Louis Vuitton Cup winning skipper-helm in 2000. "It is never like you can just draw out a map that says ‘tack here’, ‘go here’, everyone else knows it like we do.”
When they made that key move they placed themselves out of reach of the preying Lionheart on what proved to be very much a soldier’s course. There was a short upwind after the start followed by a longer light wind run down to the entrance to the sound but up the outside of the Sparga island there it was a simple two tacks, devoid of options, often just testing boatspeed and sail changing through the interfaces between the different wind zones.
The tactical first beat with the breeze well to the right saw Lionheart make a strong start, but SHE wrongly erred left and struggled around the top mark in fourth. It seemed to make no difference to Ranger that she was late off the line as she very quickly got in phase with the change and to lead around the turn. But Ranger carried on for too long on the starboard gybe towards Caprera Island and ran out of breeze. The Rainbow afterguard saw the wind was dying there, gybed early stayed with the pressure to take the lead. After that she never passed. Lionheart made steady gains, powering past Ranger in the flat water, two sail reaching conditions, but Rainbow ultimately proved untouchable again.
De Angelis recalled: “The first run was important because the wind was shifting and there were calm patches, potholes to avoid, but then after that through the islands there were many holes and shifts and it is easy to get trapped and slowed. It is never easy. We gained at the top of the island and we did not lose when the winds went light, we anticipated that well. After that we kept it all in good shape when there were no more parking lots.
“The boat is going nicely. It is only our second regatta this season so we are really still learning how to sail as a team together. It would be nice if every time here it was the same but it is not.”
And of extending their lead overall he adds: “It is such long way to go in the regatta, day by day is our way. As for the lay day tomorrow….we are waiting to see what we are doing, that’s for the boss to decide.”