by ORC Media
At the ORC European Championships, part of the annual Trofeo SM La Reina, it took four inshore races for several past ORC champions to dig out from their poor showings in the offshore race on Thursday and rise to the top of the leaderboards in both classes at the Real Club Nautico Valencia (RCNV). Today's three races sailed in a perfect building seabreeze allowed teams battle-hardened from winning past championships to post solid results and climb to the top of the rankings.
Class A mark rounding race action
In Class A it looked as though Giuseppe Parodi's Italian TP 52 Hurakan, helmed by Marco Serafini with tactics called by Tommaso Chieffi, would make a clean sweep of wins in the inshore races. This fastest boat in the fleet had been getting great starts and was executing their crew maneuvers flawlessly around the race track. As the breeze built from eight knots in the first race to 12 knots in the second, then to 18 in the final race, the TP 52 just kept getting faster and faster.
Hurakan downwind at speed - 2014 ORC European Championship
But the reigning Class A World Champions were defeated in the last race by another former World Champion, in fact by only 15 seconds in corrected time on the 9.6-mile course. Christian Plump from Germany won the ORC Worlds in waters close to home in Flensburg in 2010, but then switched boats over to his current Swan 45 Elena Nova and over the past year or two has been winning numerous ORC regattas here in Spain.
With a thin 1.4-point lead over yesterday's leader Natalia, a Club Swan 42 owned and helmed by Natalia Brailoiu from Romania, Elena Nova needs to keep winning, because tomorrow's race is the fifth in the inshore series, and therefore triggers a discard in the inshore race scores: assuming these two rivals do no worse than their current scores, Natalia's seventh place in Race 4 would drop, whereas Plump would be dropping only a fifth in Race 3, and thereby jeopardize holding to his current lead, since the offshore Race 1 cannot be discarded.
But there are many permutations, and in a class this competitive it may be difficult for anyone to do any selective match racing to influence the final results.
Movistar en route to another inshore race win - 2014 ORC European Championship
In Class B the situation is different, as here there is a clean sweep of inshore races by Pedro Campos's Synergia 40 Movistar. This ex-champion in the IMS 600, 670, and other classes in fact has over 20 World Championship titles to his name, and looks well on his way to earning a European title as well, albeit with a slim 1.4-point lead over Giuffre Giuseppe's ORC Mediterranean Champion Low Noise, a Matteo Polli-modified M37. Campos and his team executed their starts, windward and leeward legs, and mark roundings to perfection, benefiting from being just a little larger and faster than many of their class rivals and thus enjoying mostly clear air and little traffic.
Racing resumes tomorrow at 1200 local time, with one race planned, but the possibility of a second race if the wind is strong enough to have the fleet back in time for the 6:00 PM prize giving where Her Majesty Queen Sofia will preside over the closing ceremony.