Photos: Maria Muina - SailingShots

ORC Worlds underway

TP52s and GP42s lead the charge in Barcelona

Monday June 29th 2015, Author: Dobbs Davis, Location: Spain

A long and hot two-hour delay today was worth the wait in the first day of racing at the 2015 ORC World Championship, hosted by Real Club Nautico de Barcelona. Under the hot sun a pleasant seabreeze filled in the late afternoon to produce close competitive racing on the two windward-leeward courses set today, with the margins between the top places measured in seconds of corrected time.

Teams from five nations - Spain, Italy, Latvia, Estonia and Switzerland - are in the top-three standings in all three classes after two races, with the leaders in Classes B and C tied in points. 98 teams from 22 nations are assembled here for racing.

After the long delay and with the thermal wind gradually filling in enough to race, a 8.6 mile two-lap course was set for Class A. In this race the TP52s led the way around the track, but it was those who found a big left shift in the breeze who prevailed.

Jean Jacques Chaubard's GP 42 Team Vision Future from Switzerland, skippered by Mikael Mergui, was among them, winning the race by a massive 1:43 in corrected time. The margins between the next two places were much closer - 16 seconds - with Andrea Masi's Italian Swan 45 Random Research Ulika ahead of another Swan 45 - Rafael Carbonell's Rats on Fire from Spain, skippered by Manuel Doreste.

But in Race 2 the breeze built even further, up to 16 knots, which allowed the TPs and GPs to start to fly and dominate the top of the results in this race. 2013 Class A World Champion Marco Serafini racing his TP 52 Xio from Italy burst free of the pack to be first to finish on the water and also in corrected time by 1:12 over the reigning World Champion, Alberto Rossi and his TP 52 team from Italy on Enfant Terrible Minoan Lines. Second across the finish and 24 seconds back in corrected time was Kevin Whitcraft's TP 52 THA72 from Thailand.

On the strength of a 3-2 scoreline, Rossi is leading the class results now by one point over Xio, with Team Vision Future another point back in third.

"The first race today was really tricky," said Thommaso Chieffi, tactician on Xio. "We got tangled up with a group on the right side of the course, when the left came in really well for the boats on that side. I think the first race of every day will be tricky like this, because in the unsettled wind the smaller boats have an advantage from building wind but also being able to tack more quickly on the shifts.

"The race committee did a great job of spacing us with the other class so there were no problems, and the courses were really good. But anything can happen at these regattas, they are tough."

Class B today showed outstandingly close racing, with the class leaders tied on 6 points each after two races. Jose Maria Meseguer's Swan 42 Pez de Abril from Spain won the first race by a convincing 34 seconds on a 6.25-mile course in Race 1, defeating the legendary Spanish offshore champion Pedro Campos racing his Swan 42 Movistar, with another 22 seconds added in corrected time.

But the two were not so high in the standings in Race 2, which was won by Flavio Trusendi's IMX 45 Giumat +2 from Italy, helmed by Francesco Cruiciani. His margin of victory on the longer 7.44-mile course sailed in a little more wind - about 11 knots - was only 23 seconds over Bern Kammerlander's XP-44 Koyama skippered by Inaki Castener, who in turn was only another 6 seconds ahead of Vadim Lakimenko's XP-44 Amber Miles from Latvia in third, with Movistar and Pez de Abril in 4th and 5th place, respectively.

In the standings, Campos and Meseguer are tied in points, with Lakimeno in third.

In the first race of Class C it was the reigning World Champion from Italy, Giuseppe Giuffre's Low Noise team, who in racing their new Italia 9.98F called Low Noise 2 rode in on a building breeze to win the race, but by only 15 seconds in corrected time over Lluis Blanchar's Vrolijk 37 Comet@ from Spain on the short 4.7-mile course. And by only another 2 seconds in corrected time Comet@ finished ahead of Alberto Moro's X-37 Solventis from Spain.

In the more breezy Race 2, the 2013 ORC European Class C champion Sugar 2, a NM38 raced by Ott Kikkas from Estonia and skippered by Sandro Montefusco, won the race by 49 seconds in corrected time over Solventis, with the 2012 and 2013 Class C ORC World Champion Vincenzo de Blasio in third by a mere 16 seconds on the 5.5-mile course.

The standings in Class C are also tied on points, with Low Noise 2 sharing five points with Solventis, and a 7-point gap back to Sugar 2.

The forecast for tomorrow looks more favorable for on-time racing, so race managers are planning for two more windward-leeward races.

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