A week of contrasts

July 13, 2009

Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week 2009.

Anyone who has been in Brazil knows that it is a country of contrasts. The very rich and the poor, the vast under-inhabited countryside and forests, and the the chock-a-block cities such as Sao Paulo. The Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week was not any different. The contrast was not only seen through photographer Carlo Borlenghi's camera lens.

The week began with a starting line packed with 205 boats, a long distance race of 55 nautical miles, 22 knots of wind, sunny skies and 29C degrees of hot Brazilian winter. But, on the last day, barely a ripple of a breeze, not a single mile sailed on the race course, and temperatures that dropped to 17C degrees, which for Ilhabela, located 140 miles north of Sao Paulo, is about as cool as it gets.

It was a week that challenged all the competitors from the S40, ORC International and ORC Club classes at the Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week. Strong, shifty winds, big seas, and challenging currents. The competition included the top sailors in South America, and the most fun you can find in one regatta. If Caribbean regattas are known for the good times on shore and European regattas for the highly competitive level of racing, Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week provides a satisfying mix of the two.

Chief umpire Alfredo Ricci, who is also a jury member for the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, and the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, is now on the International Jury for the Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week. He said, "When I arrived here, I realized this is one of the biggest Rolex events in terms of number of boats; there are 205 boats competing, and I think it is really important to have an event like this on this side of the world. It is really well-organized and the spirit is slightly different from the other events I do in Europe, because here you don't have the race village - instead the whole island is the race village where you talk after racing to each other and enjoy; this is certainly a very, very good event."

The S40 class showed their potential and competitiveness in Brazilian waters while creating a lot of interestLargada para a segunda largada desta terça. in the class. With six races completed, the Argentineans on CUSI 5 and the Brazilian boat Mitsubishi/Gol entered the last day of event even on eight points. With no race run on the last day due to lack of wind, the final standings were decided based on the number of wins, which gave the title to CUSI 5 and skipper Jose Esteves.

With orders for two more boats confirmed and interest high, and with the positive results from Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week, the S40 class is on a successful path. Norberto Alvarez explained the S40 concept, "We wanted to go beyond IMS and, first of all, we wanted something very fun and fast, we wanted to beat another opponent and not a formula. We are expecting ten boats for the Circuito Atlantico Sur Rolex Cup"

This was the weekend for the Massa family with Marcelo Massa winning the ORC International Class on Loyal in the Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week and his nephew Felipe Massa getting his first podium finish this year in the F1 Grand Prix. Marcelo Massa raced with Marco Grael, Volvo Ocean Race winner Torben Grael's son and with André Fonseca, who raced onboard Delta Lloyd for the Volvo Ocean Race.

Torben Grael supports his son " I am really proud of him. Winning such an event and not on the favorite boat, it is something important; he and the crew sailed really well."

For the second consecutive time, Fabio Filippon on Katana II won the ORC Club class at Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week. Katana II was four points ahead of the second placed boat before the last day of the event. With racing abandoned on the last day, Katana II was confirmed the winner.

S40 Results

  • Cusi 5, 1-3-2-1-1-(4), 8 points
  • Mitsubishi/Gol, 2-1-1-(4)-2-2, 8 pts
  • Patagonia, 3-(4)-3-2-3-1, 12 pts

ORC International

  • Loyal, 2-2-3-3-2- (14), 12 points
  • Touchè Super, 1-1-7-2-(8)-3, 14 pts
  • Ventaneiro, 4-3-(10)-4-5-4, 20 pts

ORC Club

  • Katana II, 1-1-1-(6)-1-4, 8 points
  • Catuana Kim, 4-2-2-4-(8)-1, 13 pts
  • Kiron, 8-6-4-3-2-(14), 23 pts