Italian match race
Showing the rewards of careful planning, preparation and execution at a sailing venue over 3,000km from home, two Italian teams have won their classes at the Audi ORCi Offshore World Championship. This is the fourth time that there has been an all-Italian sweep atthe World Championships.
In Class A, Alberto Rossi and his Farr 40 Enfant Terrible took the lead in day two of the event and never looked back, thereby repeating their 2011 win in Cres, Croatia last year, and becoming the first-ever repeat Offshore World Champion.
"It was a difficult series, but we are really pleased," said Rossi. "The team sailed very well through some tough conditions, but in the end it was our consistency that was important."
Enfant Terrible tactician Tommaso Chieffi also credited the boat's size and speed within this fleet, saying "We were in a nice niche, being between the really fast boats and the slower boats, so we could mostly sail our own race. This was good for us in the offshore races, where the smaller boats were mostly favored over the bigger fast boats." The team scored 2-1 in this event's two short offshore races.
In fact, the next three boats in the results from Class A were newer, faster designs: the Silver medal winners on Blixt Pro Sailing from Sweden and the 4th-place Wolfpack Trucknor team from Norway were both racing TP52s, and the Bronze medal winners on Roberto Monti's team of Italians on Airis were racing on Monti's Felci-designed GP42.
The top all-amateur team in Class A was 6th-placed Amserv, Juss Ojala's Estonian GS 42, who won the Corinthian Prize for this class.
In Class B it was not only speed but clever tactics that won the Class B championship title for Vincenzo de Blasio's Italian team on his NM 38S Scugnizza, with a dramatic finish decided within seconds in corrected time. In a dying and shifty offshore breeze of 6-11 knots in strength, Scugnizza got entangled with another team at the start, missed the first shift, and found themselves deep in the pack at the first top mark.
However, the team from Napoli remained focused and dug back to get within striking range of the leaders by the second top mark, gybed early, caught the same shift that vaulted them back into contention on the beat, and ran to an astounding 4:00 minute win.
But they needed to put boats between them and the series leader Lenco, Erik Van Vuuren's Dutch Salona 37, to take the overall win. Lenco had the early lead in the race, and seemed to be on their way on the last run to the championship title, but chose to not gybe to cover their rivals, thereby missing the shift. Mats Victorin's Swedish X-332 Sport Boxer slipped into second, 26 seconds ahead of Lenco on corrected time, and set up a tie in points between Scugnizza and Lenco.
Because the two had equal number of first places (three), the tie-break went back to how many second places each team had, and Scugnizza's three to Lenco's one was good enough to take the title.
Third,Patrik Forsgren's Swedish First 36.7 Team Arken Zoo, was also the top all-amateur crew in Class B, and won theCorinthian Prize for that class.
"This was a fantastic championship, a completely suitable test of mixed wind conditions and a large international fleet," said ORC representative Don Genitempo. "We congratulate the winners, and thank all the competitors, the organizers and sponsors for a great week here in Helsinki."
Next year's ORCi World Championship will be held over 21-29 June in Ancona, Italy.
Sponsors for the Audi ORCi World Championship 2012 include Audi, Hi Q, North Sails, John Nurminen Marine, Lemonsoft, the City of Helsinki Sport Department, and Salona Yachts.