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Barros and Coutts' team holds RC44 lead

by Bernard Schopfer on 11 Oct 2008
Friuli Venezia Giulia RC44 Cup. Copyright: Guilain Grenier / RC 44 RC44 Class Association © http://www.rc44.com

The sailors involved in the Friuli Venezia Giulia RC44 Cup finally had the opportunity to sail superb races today. Held in up to 25 knots of wind, the races confirmed Patrick de Barros and Russell Coutts’ leadership.

The famous northerly 'Bora' wind was finally back in Trieste today, allowing four stunning races to be completed. The wind blew up to 25 knots during the first regatta of the day, decreasing gradually over the afternoon to become a 'Boretta', (the real Bora blows up to 50 knots + and is feared by the locals). After three days of very light wind, it was a relief for all the sailors and everyone enjoyed surfing at high speeds.

The first race of the day was also the windiest. Artemis, with Sarah Roberts-Thomson at the helm and Dean Barker calling the shots, was the first to reach the top mark and start surfing downwind. At the other end of the pack, Ceeref and Banco Espirito Santo were slowly catching up after a bad start. All boats swapped positions throughout the race, Ceeref making it to the top of the fleet before tearing their spinnaker and letting Chris Bake’s Team Aqua win the race ahead of Artemis and Cro-A-Sail. Later on in the day, Ceeref would blow two more spinnakers before discovering a pair of scissors sticking out in the wrong place…

Race two confirmed Chris Bake’s great form. However, Armando Giulietti’s Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano proved to be un-beatable, sailing faster and better than its opponents to win the race with probably the biggest margin ever seen in an RC 44 regatta. Team Aqua finished second, ahead of Cro-A-Sail, on great form.

The wind started dropping for the third race. Determined to make it to the favoured right hand side of the course, Giulietti chose to start on port tack below the rest of the fleet. Going from zero to hero, Hiroshi tacked in the first shift to take the lead and sail away once again, beating Ceeref and Banco Espirito Santo on the arrival line.

Number one jibs were back on all boats for the last regatta of the day, allowing BMW ORACLE Racing – unhappy until then – to control the entire regatta and win its first race with Peter de Ridder at the helm. Very regular throughout the day, Patrick de Barros’ Banco Espirito Santo finished second ahead of Ceeref.

De Barros leads the provisional ranking ahead of Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano and Team Aqua. Tomorrow is the last racing day of the Friuli Venezia Giulia RC 44 Cup. The RC 44’s will sail the DHL long distance regatta, on a course similar to the Barcolana regatta. Most RC 44’s will the compete in the Barcolana on Sunday, against an extraordinary fleet of up to 1500 boats.

Igor Lah, owner, Ceeref: 'We sailed very well but we were just terribly unlucky: we were breaking one spinnaker after the other; I was wondering if someone wanted to tell me something about the stock market… Then we discovered a pair of scissors.'

Patrick de Barros, owner, Team Banco Espirito Santo: 'It was a very difficult day; the wind was very shifty, and difficult to predict. We had to sail back on the starting line twice for premature starts. Luckily, Russell called all the shots right and we managed to get back well in the races.'

Chris Bake, owner, Team Aqua: 'We are very pleased to see that we are back in the game. Our team work was great and helped a lot. Generally speaking, I feel more at ease in the stronger breeze.'

Maciej Navrocki, owner, Team Organika: 'We had a very good day and I am very happy. I really feel that we have improved a lot. We now sail with both Philippe Presti and Mateusz Kusznierewicz. Mateusz is in charge of the tactics and he can fully concentrate on this whereas before he spent a lot of time helping me. Philippe also helps with the tactics and trims the main sail. Our team is much more efficient this way.'

Armando Giulietti, Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano: 'Our speed is very good and our tactics was excellent today. Our tactician is Lorenzo Bressani, from Trieste, who is a Melges 24 World Champion. He is 36 years old and on Sunday he will compete in the Barcolana regatta for the thirtieth time in his life!'

Provisional results after one race - (Ranking, name of team, helmsman, results, points)

1) Team Banco Espirito Santo, Patrick de Barros, 1, 4, 4, 3, 2 – 14 points
2) Team Hiroshi – Città di Milano, Armando Giulietti, 3, 5, 1, 1, 7 – 17 points
3) Team Aqua, Chris Bake, 7, 1, 2, 5, 4 – 19 points
4) BMW ORACLE Racing, Peter de Ridder, 2, 6, 8, 8, 1 – 25 points
5) Artemis, Sarah Roberts-Thomson, 4, 2, 7, 6, 6 – 25 points
6) Ceeref, Igor Lah, 5, 7, 9, 2, 3 – 26 points
7) Organika, Maciej Navrocki, 6, 9, 5, 4, 5 – 29 points
8) Cro-A-Sail, Miroslav Reljanovic, 10, 3, 3, 7, 8 – 31 points
9) ITA 7, Peter Heerema, 10, 8, 6, 9, 9 – 42 points

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