Looking on the Bright Side

May 21, 2009

Farr 40 Fleet sailing off Capri.

There may be few better places in the world to watch yacht racing, than from the Villa Jovis on the eastern point of Capri. Admittedly, it is some time since its owner moved out and the villa is in disrepair but, given Emperor Tiberius' reputation for summarily dispatching unwanted guests from the cliff top into the cobalt waters below, it may be for the best. There was some summary dispatching on the racecourse too as Rolex Capri Sailing Week 2009 moved into its second day.

Peter Reggio, the principal race officer, kept the fleet ashore for two hours to allow a westerly breeze to fill in. Racing eventually got underway at 1400, with the wind blowing at around 6/7 knots. The Farr 40s got in two races, and the executioners were TWT (ITA) in the first and Mascalzone Latino (ITA) in the second. Mascalzone leads TWT by one point overnight. The remaining fleets raced only once and top-trumps heading into day three are Atlantica Racing (ITA), which has a two-point lead following its bullet; Kora 4 (ITA) still leads the Swan 42s, with a reduced margin of two-points after a uncharacteristic slip; in the Comet 41 class Athanor (ITA) continued her winning ways and holds a five-point cushion, and, in the Comet 45s Fral 2 (ITA) came second and leads by one-point.

In the first race for the Farr 40s, TWT got a good start chose the correct side of the race-track and rounded the windward mark with a slender lead over the chasing pack. Watching the fleet head downwind from on high, one had the impression of a naval action about to commence. The Farr 40s, line astern with the spinnakers flying and led by TWT, carved straight through the middle of the Comet fleet as it headed up wind. The seemingly disciplined manoeuvre came to an abrupt end halfway down the leg as those behind Rodolfi peeled off in search of better lanes of wind. Just before the leeward gate, TWT stuck in two quick gybes as though shifting position on an uncomfortable saddle, the reason for which became apparent as they lined themselves up perfectly on the starboard side of the gate.

In that moment, those heading for the port hand mark looked to have achieved an advantage over TWT, at least two appearing to rounding before her. This impression was short-lived. As TWT tacked back towards the centre of the course she had a clear lead again and extended even over the shortened upwind leg. Downwind no one threatened her lead and she cruised over the line ahead of Carlo Alberini and Calvi Network (ITA). In fourth place came Helmut Jahn and Flash Gordon (USA), with Bill Hardesty calling tactics. The American crew struggled for consistency yesterday with a 4, 10 scoreline. And, despite this bright start to the day the second race today also brought more disappointment, with a twelfth place.

Hardesty explained the predicament, "we seemed to have a good first race again. Yesterday we had a fourth in the first and a bad race in the second one, and we followed suit today as well. It has a bit to do with getting off the start line clean. It's a fairly one-sided racetrack, so if you do not get a good start you end up going the wrong way because you have no choice and it is tough to climb back"

All crews in the Farr 40 fleet have their eyes on the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds scheduled for the end of June, and are looking for the positives even when the results make that difficult, as Hardesty continues, " we're generally pleased with the way things are going. We've had the same team for three.four years, so when things get tight we're usually able to boat handle quite well. Helmut (Jahn) is driving well, on top of the crew doing well. We're learning how to start the boat again, learning our limitations. We are experimenting and being a little bit more aggressive at times, which might be a problem, but that is how you learn."

Farr 40 racing is always tight and no more so than in the lead-up to the world championship. There is little Onboard action on NERONE preparing to hoist the spinnaker.room for error, and as TWT discovered yesterday if you do get it wrong it is hard to recover. Mascalzone had a hiccough today in the first race finishing sixth. And, whilst normal service was resumed with a first place in the second race by Vincenzo Onorato, with TWT avoiding copying Flash Gordon by getting it right in the first and second, this contest is far from over. Calvi Network and Carlo Alberini were another to have a good day, scoring a third in the second race "it was very nice, very consistent. We were able to optimize the boat speed with an immediate result, so we feel competitive, eager to finish in the top group together with Mascalzone Latino and TWT."

Alberini's secret to success is the crew, "we keep the humour, also in moments we are struggling on the race course. We still make jokes. We try to stay concentrated, light-hearted, still eager to win. This is a very good training for the forthcoming Worlds in June in Porto Cervo. We know that there will not always be 40 knots of Mistral, which means sailing in light winds is really practicing."

With Fral 2 and Athanor maintaining their progress with good results in the Comet classes, and Atlantica Racing doing the same in the Swan 45s, the one surprise of the day was Kora 4 finishing second behind Cuordileone in the Swan 42s. Enrico Scerni and crew made it easy for Leonardo Ferragamo by starting too early. But leading from the front in shifty winds is not so straightforward as Chieffi was quick to point out,"we had the best start of the week so far and we actually had the best start of the fleet. We wanted to go left and went for the pin end of the line. The other two top boats in our class had a premature start, so we were able to concentrate on going fast. It was tricky though, we started with almost ten knots and it dropped many times below six, with big holes of no air."

So, halfway through the regatta and only one boat looking comfortable - if a five-point lead could be described as such. Plenty of racing to come, and if it proves impossible to find another first century Roman imperial palace from which to view proceedings tomorrow is certain to be another enjoyable day for crews and spectators.

Racing at Rolex Capri Sailing Week 2009 continues tomorrow, Friday, with the first gun scheduled for 1200 CEST.

Today's plate of the day is actually a drink: freshly squeezed lemon juice courtesy of Cantine Due Calipsi. Has anything ever tasted so good after an uphill hike in the midday sun?

Farr 40

  • MASCALZONE LATINO Vincenzo Onorato ITA, 2-1-6-1.-10.00
  • TWT Marco Rodolfi ITA, 1-7-1-2-11.00
  • CALVI NETWORK Carlo Alberini ITA, 3-9-2-3-17.00


  • ATLANTICA RACING Carlo Perrone ITA, 1-4-1-6.00
  • BLUE NIGHTS Tea Ekengreen-Sauren FIN, 2-3-3-8.00
  • EARLY BIRD Hendrik Brandis ITA, 3-2-4-9.00


  • KORA 4 Enrico Scerni ITA, 1-1-2-4.00
  • CUORDILEONE Leonardo Ferragamo ITA, 1-3-3-7.00
  • KUUJJUAQ Ludovic de Saint Jean ITA, 3-2-4-9.00


  • FRAL 2 Alessandro Nespega ITA, 3-1-2-6.00
  • ONE NOIDINOTTE Saverio Bifulco ITA, 1-3-3-7.00
  • BROSWAY LIBERTINE Marco Paolucci ITA, 4-5-1-10.00


  • ATHANOR Massimo Russo ITA, 1-1-1-3.00
  • PEDRO PROIETTILE Enrico Cardone 2-3-3-8.00
  • ZOOM Quatrini-Guiducci ITA, 3-2-4-9.00

The Rolex Capri Sailing Week, organized by the Yacht Club Capri, runs from 19 to 23 May.

For more information about the Rolex Capri Sailing Week including entry lists and media accreditation please visitt www.yccapri.com

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