In having earned an amazing score line that included four firsts and only one race less than second place among 66 entries, Giuseppe Giuffre's modified M37 Low Noise from Italy has won the 2014 ORC World Championship in Class C. This is Low Noise's third World Championship crown, having also won in 2009 in Brindisi, Italy and in 2011 in Cres, Croatia.
Giuffre's team included helmsman Duccio Colombi, tactician Lorenzo Bodini, and Giulia Spinelli, Benedetto Coviello, Alesandro Siviero, Maurizio Loberto, Donatella Ferretti, and Paolo Mandina, who had to leave for an emergency at home today but was replaced by a spare crew borrowed from Hans-Peter Schmidt's German GP42 Silva Neo.
Today's blue skies and warm temperatures brought in a perfect seven - eleven knot easterly seabreeze for the penultimate day of competition. After a two-hour delay this morning to wait for this wind to fill, the conditions became stable in direction enough for race managers to start their sequences at about 14:00 local time for the day's first two-lap windward-leeward course.
Enfant Terrible earns two firsts today - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
In Class A everyone behaved at the starts of the 7.2 and 9.6-mile courses with no recalls, so with flawless crew work, perfect pace and clear air, Alberto Rossi's Italian TP 52 Enfant Terrible won both races, their third and fourth in the series. Wind conditions were variable at six - eight knots in the first race, and more steady at eight - eleven knots in the second race.
With seven races now completed, Enfant Terrible's discard of 21 points in the first offshore race dropped their total down to nearly half. This has closed the gap considerably with the series leader, Claus Landmark's Norwegian Landmark 43 Santa, who sailed their discard today by earning an 11th place after having mark rounding problems in the second race.
Silva Neo, ex-Airis, at leeward gate - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
So, with only a few points between them, the battle tomorrow for the Class A championship crown will be interesting, given that the forecast includes for the first time in the event wind velocities exceeding 20 knots, conditions where TP 52's will plane downwind while Landmark 43's will not. The two are well clear of Silva Neo in third place, who also stands to enjoy tomorrow's planning conditions. It may be interesting to note that this same boat under its former name, Airis, was the Bronze medal winner in the 2012 ORC Worlds in Helsinki.
In the Class B course area there was a little more wind pressure being closer to the shore, so racing started a few minutes earlier on a similar 6.2-mile twice-around course. By winning this race, Albert Schweizer's Leu from Germany had their best race yet, getting around the track and saving her time on the rest of Class B Gold, and even defeating the fastest boat in the Class, Peter de Ridder's Dutch Swan 45 Checkmate, by only 21 seconds.
Forte off to strong start in Class B - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
But with a discard now applied for this class and Jaak Jogi's Forte earning fourth in this race and a first in the second race, the Estonian X-41 has taken a comfortable, but not insurmountable, lead of 17.50 points over fellow Estonian Eero Pank's Salona 38 Reval Café. Also in contention only 0.5 points back is Milan Hajek's Czech team on his First 40.7 Three Sisters, while another seven boats are only within the next 10 points and lie in wait ready to ambush the podium in tomorrow's final race.
Reval Cafe on first run of today's first race - Pavel Nesvadba/Ranchi
In the fight for the remaining Silver and Bronze medals in Class C, Patrik Forsgren's modified Beneteau 36.7 Team Pro4U from Sweden is in the lead, but by only 3.5 points over a fellow Swede, Martin Nilsson's Salona 37 Vencom. But Michael Mollman's X-37 Hansen is a mere 0.5 points behind, with Aivar Tuulberg's Estonian Arcona 340 Katarina II not far away with a 7.5 point deficit.
Since the conditions are predicted to be breezy tomorrow, anything could happen to upset the current standings in all but the Class C crown. The first Warning signal is scheduled for 10:55 tomorrow for the final race of the event, with awards to follow racing at 17:00.
Low Noise leading the pack downwind in Class C. - ORC Media
For more information about the 2014 ORC World Championship, visit the event website