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Conditions Favoring The Small At Rolex Capri Sailing Week

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  • Conditions Favoring The Small At Rolex Capri Sailing Week

    For day two of inshore racing for the maxi boats at Rolex Capri Sailing Week it was extremely hard to decide one’s wardrobe; both sails and clothes. The day started with an unfamiliar chilly 20 knot offshore northeasterly that kicked up a lumpy sea just off Capri’s Marina Grande. Then the wind shut down completely. It then re-established, the day finishing with the sun out, the overdue summer finally reaching Capri.

    The conditions made for some unusual results. After a start in mid-Gulf of Napoli and a weather mark positioned deep into the bay beyond Sorrento, the next mark took the maxis to the ‘Victor’ mark in off the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula. The course was then supposed to continue on past the famous Faraglioni rocks on a clockwise lap of Capri finishing back off Marina Grande. However the breeze shut-down firmly at Victor where the race committee was forced to finish the racer-cruiser and cruiser-race divisions, leaving the racer maxis to wallow before completing the course.

    At one point Sir Peter Ogden’s 77ft long Jethou, yesterday’s winner had performed a ‘horizon job’, leading around Victor and well on her way to the Faraglioni before the wind shut down. Sadly for her the wind when it returned, did so from astern and Alex Schaerer’s Caol Ila R, on which Francesco de Angelis is calling tactics, did a great job catching up going inshore. This tactic was also applied to great effect by Jim Swartz’s maxZ86 Vesper and Peter Dubens’ Frers 60 Spectre along the south side of the island, until the wind vanished again causing another restart off Capri’s western shore. Given the repeated catch-ups it was little surprise the race favoured the small boats under IRC corrected time with Roberto Lacorte’s multiple Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup winning Mills Vismara 62 SuperNikka claiming the top spot today ahead of Spectre.

    “The weather is a bit topsy turvy at present,” explained Dutch navigator, Wouter Verbraak, part of the Spectre’s afterguard alongside double Olympic 470 silver medallist Nick Rogers. “The northeasterly was due to a small low pressure system. The course here is always challenging – there are big hills that are almost mountains, certainly for a Dutchman! You have to go through their lees and all the different breezes. At the second mark [Victor] there was neither one breeze nor another and there was a big compression.” There were moments during the race when boats were more or less sailing alongside each other on different tacks…

    SuperNikka got ahead of Spectre by going slightly offshore off Capri’s western, her time correcting out to 2 minute 30 ahead, and almost 24 minutes ahead of fourth placed Caol Ila R. The coastal race coming with a 1.25x weighting, Lacorte’s silver streak now leads the Maxi Racer division by two points.

    On the shortened course for the Maxi Racer-Cruisers it was the turn of the Swan 601 Lorina 1895 to come out on top. “It was a great day because after the start we were not in a good position and for one hour we were a long way behind,” admitted her owner Jean-Pierre Barjon. “Then coming back [along the Sorrento coast] we took a good strategy and arrived at [Victor at] the same time as the biggest boats. So it was perfect for us! I congratulate the race committee!” During their shortened race Barjon said the most wind they saw was 23 knots, the least just three.

    Lorina 1895 now leads the Racer-Cruiser division ahead of International Maxi Association President Benoît de Froidmont and his Wally 60 Wallyño.

    While women are sadly few and far between in the Maxi fleet, improving the statistics here greatly is Spirit of Europe, the Swan 601 campaign set up by Cristiana Monina and the boat’s skipper Claudia Addezio whose crew comprise 16 women. Among them are American two time Volvo Ocean Race sailor and Olympian Sally Barkow and Italian former 49erFX European and World champion Giulia Conti. The campaign is supported by Rossana; a luxury brand of Italian kitchens.

    “We did a couple of days training in Argentario before coming here and another here but we are lucky to have Sally Barlow and Francesca Clapcich with us,” said Conti. “We are not really fast yet, but we are still learning The loads on this boat are a lot more than we’re used to!” Conti who calls tactics on board admitted not making the best calls today arriving in the wind hole at Victor too far offshore. Also: “It is the first time for all of us sailing here in Capri.”

    While in the Racer Cruiser division the small boats prevailed, among the Cruiser-Racers it was the larger boats. Riccardo de Michele's immaculate H20 showed some of the same form that won her her class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup last year with straight bullets. His Vallicelli 78 corrected out under IRC 13 minutes ahead of Vicente Garcia Torres’ Swan 80 Plis Play.

    However overall Plis Play is leading: “Initially we thought we’d done worse because all the small boats caught us up,” said Plis Play’s boat captain Jose Luis. Plis Play’s crew includes many of Spain’s top sailors including tactician Laureano Wizner and multiple Volvo Ocean Race bowman Antonio Cuervas-Mons. “We decided to go close to the shore: Another boat was 50m away on starboard and stopped and we were 30m from the shore and found a small current. We had all the sails flapping, but we were still moving!”

    Organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia, Yacht Club Italiano and Yacht Club Capri, in co-operation with the International Maxi Association, racing for the maxis at Rolex Capri Sailing Week continues tomorrow.

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  • #2
    Rolex Capri Sailing Week Concludes In Classic Fashion

    Rolex Capri Sailing Week concluded in ultra-close fashion in the racer division today. Alex Schaerer’s modified Maxi72 Caol Ila R knocked Sir Peter Odgen’s dominant Jethou off the top spot on the overall podium after she secured a second place in today’s race as Jethou came home fourth.

    This was so close that initially the Caol Ila R crew felt they had lost. As Schaerer explained: “It was tough because we needed one boat between us and Jethou in order to win. We were hopeful we could get Vesper [Jim Swartz’s winner today under IRC] between us but that didn’t work by 12 seconds. So then we said ‘that’s fine - Jethou did a good job this week – they won.’”

    It was only when the time of Roberto Lacorte’s Mills Vismara 62 SuperNikka was corrected out, that it was found she had slipped into third, beaten by Caol Ila R by just two seconds. After discards were applied, Caol Ila knocked Jethou into second by 0.75 points with SuperNikka (the half-way stage leader) third, just 0.5 further astern after five races.

    “Capri is a place I always love and it is good to come for regattas because it is not a place you go to the beach!” continued Schaerer, refuting the idea that sailing in Capri is typically a light wind affair. “We’ve always had wind here. In the Volcano Race one year we had 55 knots!”

    Similarly this week, light it generally wasn’t, with an outstanding, giant windward-leeward yesterday in 12 knots while today’s race saw the wind gusting up to 20 knots, albeit dying towards the finish.

    Today’s course included a beat of more than an hour’s duration, followed by a run and a partial lap of Capri in moderate winds but oceanic-scale seas, challenging both helmsman and crew.

    Jethou’s Sir Peter Ogden admitted that after a glowing start to the regatta, today hadn’t been their best. “We were quick upwind but we didn’t sail downwind like we’ve done all week. We seemed slow. It’s dampened our optimism a bit.” `

    In the Racer-Cruiser class there was another turn-around with Benoît de Froidmont’s Wally 60 Wallyño claiming today’s race, knocking Jean-Pierre Barjon’s Swan 601 Lorina 1895 into second overall by 1.25 points. Again this was exceedingly close. Today Wallyño beat Luciano Gandini’s Mylius 76 Twin Soul B by just 28 seconds under corrected. Had these positions reversed then Lorina 1895 would have won overall.

    “Going into today we had four boats that were all within two points,” said de Froidmont. “I guess we were hungry after we didn’t do so well yesterday. Today we were leading most of the time and the boat was going doing well even though it was complicated because of the size of the waves. You had to concentrate a lot.”

    Wallyño’s tactician, former Figaro sailor Gérald Véniard added: “We found some speed in this medium-light wind with choppy sea state. It is the first time we have shown good speed in these conditions.”

    Victory here is a solid first step in Wallyño’s campaign to win the IMA’s new Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge.

    De Froidmont is also President of the International Maxi Association (IMA) and in this capacity he observed: “It was an amazing day and it has been an amazing event. I would like to thank the organisers, the yacht clubs, the race committee and jury. When you talk to the owners everyone has been happy this week.”

    Taking place within the Racer-Cruiser class was the Mylius Cup, won by Aldo Parisotto’s Mylius 65 FD Oscar3. “Today was very difficult,” admitted Parisotto, who had former America’s Cup skipper Paolo Cian calling tactics. “It was the first time I have driven the boat in very big waves like that. It was difficult.” Parisotto was also delighted to have finished third in the Racer-Cruiser division. “That’s good because it means we go into the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup a little bit more confident. I love this event. The organisation has been fantastic, helped by Rolex and the IMA and we’ve raced every day.”

    Winning with the largest margin was Vicente Garcia Torres' Swan 80 Plis Play, which beat Riccardo de Michele's Vallicelli 78 H20 by 3.75 points. Over five races, Plis Play, with her Spanish crew including several America’s Cup, TP52 and Volvo Ocean Race heroes, won three, including today.

    “We sailed a really nice upwind against Twin Soul B, but I think because we were heavier we had better speed,” said Plis Play’s boat captain Jose Ruis. “Some waves were more than 3m high and we were a bit worried because our boat is really heavy and falling down the waves we thought we might pop the spinnaker.”

    Overall results at Rolex Capri Sailing Week include last weekend’s coastal race, the Regata dei Tre Golfi. A third place for Rosbeg, following a second to the Swan 651 Lunz Am Meer last weekend was enough to secure the Swan 651 ultimate victory.

    For this race Rosbeg was chartered back to her previous owner Riccardo Pavoncelli, who sailed her with many of his old crew plus present owner Irishman Neil Hogan. For Pavoncelli and his British skipper Andy Greenwood, this was his biggest ever win in the boat. “I am very happy because we haven’t sailed the boat for three years and the boat was in cruising mode,” he enthused. “We did the Tre Golfi because the owner said ‘my son wants to race’ so he lent us the boat.”

    Of the Regata dei Tre Golfi he added: “We made two good calls – one by Andy, going very close to rock off the west end of Capri and the other by me to go south of Capri [outbound]. Those two calls enabled us to catch up a lot.”

    Of Rolex Capri Sailing Week International Maxi Association Secretary General Andrew McIrvine concluded: “This was a very special year as we’ve had both an excellent entry of fine maxi yachts rewarded with unusually helpful weather albeit colder at times than southern England! All three maxi divisions were hotly contested and enjoyed a wide variety of courses around this beautiful ‘fantasy’ island.”

    Rolex Capri Sailing Week is organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia, Yacht Club Italiano and Yacht Club Capri, in co-operation with the International Maxi Association.
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