Friday, September 7, 2012

Heat and Light Air In Porto Cervo Challenge Maxis

Porto Cervo, Italy. 7th September 2012.

A long day characterized by light air and soaring temperatures faced the 34 yachts competing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 today.
Bella Mente Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
At the conclusion of a short coastal course which wound through the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago, Bella Mente's overall lead in the Mini Maxi class - competing for their annual World Championship - was drastically reduced leaving her on equal points with second-placed Ran.
Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Esimit Europa 2 moved to the head of the Racing fleet while Magic Carpet 2 (Wally), Aegir (Racing/Cruising) and Nilaya (Super Maxi) maintain their hold on the top spots in their respective divisions. The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Semralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, concludes tomorrow, Saturday 8th September.
Esimit Europa Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
After a long wait and one race abandoned shortly after the start, the Race Committee of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 managed to send the 34 competing yachts on a coastal course of 13 nautical miles at approximately 3 p.m. CEST today. From the start the fleet headed west towards the coast and the Secca Tre Monti before heading through the strait between Capo Ferro and the Isola delle Bisce islet. The 8 knots of breeze from 330° on the starting line would later fade and force PRO Peter Craig to shorten the course for the Wally and Racing divisions to 12 miles and for the Racing/Cruising and Mini Maxi divisions to 9 miles.
Rán Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
In the Mini Maxi class Rán, winner of the previous two editions of the class World Championship, was back on splendid form and led the fleet from the off to finish well ahead of the other 11 boats in the division. American boat Caol Ila R took second place with Shockwave in third. Caol Ila R now sits in third place overall, 9 points behind leader Bella Mente and second place Rán.
Caol Ila R Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Bella Mente's tactican Dee Smith is not overly worried by today's turn of events: "We were ok at the top mark but Shockwave did well and just got by us at the second mark, we then had a few sail handling problems and we ended up fourth. Ran sailed very well and we always knew it would all come down to the last day, that's what makes it so much fun."
Magic Carpet Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Magic Carpet 2, owned by Lindsay Owen Jones and with veteran US America's Cup sailor Tom Whidden on board, continues to dominate the Wally Class despite today's fifth place, thanks to a discard coming into play. Charles Dunstone's new WallyCento Hamilton claimed her first win of the series but still sits in fourth place overall behind Thomas Bscher's Open Season and J One, owned by Jean Charles Decaux.
Aegir Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Among the Racing yachts Brian Benjamin's Aegir claimed a second bullet today and continues to hold the lead she gained from day one. With just a three-point delta over Altair, however, and a discard coming into play after tomorrow's scheduled Race Five, Benjamin will need to keep his eye on the ball right to the finish. Marco Rodolfi's Swan 90 Berenice Bis is in third place overall.
Nilaya Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
With four consecutive wins, the 34-metre Nilaya, the smallest yacht in the Super Maxi division, is already assured victory in her category. The battle will be on for silver, meanwhile, between the 45-metre Wally Saudade sitting in second place and Peter Harrison's Sojana which each have 23 points.
Valsheda Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Another epic battle will be played out in the Racing division between the grand prix racer Esimit Europa 2 owned by Igor Simcic, currently heading the scorings, and the classic J class yacht Velsheda. The two have been alternating at the top of the overall classification since day one and every decision will count tomorrow as each sit on 8 points. Irvine Laidlaw's 25 metre Highland Fling, with Peter Holmberg calling tactics, lies in third place, also on 8 points after coming second in each of the four races held.
Esimit Europa Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Racing is scheduled to conclude tomorrow, Saturday 8th September, with the first signal at 11.30 a.m. A light northerly breeze is forecast.

Jill Campbell

No comments: