On day four of the 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre, light wind conditions prevailed in spite of the fleet delivering some of the tightest and most tactical racing until now, which brought a number of amends to the race committee. Jochen Schuemann's All4One clinched back-to-back wins in today's two races, thus climbing to the top spot in the IRC1 overall classification after seven races.
Ran holds to the lead although Shockwave and Stig were today's two winners in as many races, and Alegre also remains leader among the Soto 40, with an increased advantage of seven points upon Iberdrola.
The wind pattern of around 15 knots from the Southwest-West that prevailed the three past days switched to a Southerly-Southwesterly light breeze of around six knots at the beginning of races today, gradually picking up and reaching 12 to 14 knots in the early afternoon. Demanding conditions and very tactical racing in a very decisive day in which discards came into effect in the X-35 and J-80 divisions.
Wind was best on the left hand side of the course today as the first IRC 0 start was launched. Ran didn't perform at her best in today's first race and finished third, and could only improve by one point in race two where she was second, but the Swedish boat holds to a six point lead over second classified Shockwave of George Sakellaris, which was first in the first race, and third in the second.
Italian Stig finished on a higher note with a second and first finishes, but the JV 72 footer owned by Alessandro Rombelli's two DNF's yesterday is too heavy a load and she is still fourth classified in the overall scoring board. 'Highland Fling' was forced to abandon in the first race after her spinnaker tore, and didn't start the second.
Racing in IRC 1 was marked by a tete a tete between All4One and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team which finally fell on the French-German side. The TP52 skippered by Jochen Schumann clinched back-to-back wins dominating both races from beginning to end, what made them real and corrected time winners. The light breeze didn't benefit Azzurra Sailing Team, and things got worse for the Italo-Argentinean team as they had to take a penalty turn after a port-starboard situation. All4One climbs to the top spot, Guillermo Parada's Audi Azzurra lies second, and Tony Langley's Gladiator gets closer just two points behind the Italo-Argentineans.
It was a gun-to-gun win for Alegre today in the first race of the Soto 40 division, thanks to her good speed, but also benefited by some unlucky episodes for the rest of the fleet, which had to deal with very tactical conditions. The boat owned by Andrés Soriano finished sixth in the second race, which could have favoured second classified Iberdrola, but Agustin Zulueta's 40 footer's two blunders today, 5-5, leave them seven points behind Alegre. Bigamist was one of the best teams on the water today, snatching a second place and a victory, which lifts them to the fourth position in the overall scoring board.
No changes in the RI 1 classification, where Swanderfull of José Caldeira and Chuny Bermúdez remains leader, with a seven point advantage over Hendrik Brandis Earlybird. The battle between the two favoured Rats on Fire of Rafael Carbonell, which cut down distances by 1,5 points, and will be able to discard their blunder in the second race tomorrow. The two times Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre champion is third, and fifteen points behind lies Grupo Clínico Luis Senís. In RI2 consistent Power Plate of Olympic sailor Gustavo Martínez Doreste is first, followed by Movistar of Pedro Campos.
Discards came into effect today in the J-80 and X-35 division after their eighth race.The J-80 division sees Carlos Martinez's Mapfre increase her lead thanks to her rival's Nextel's over the line in the first race and a fourth place in the second, whereas Martinez was second and first. The victory in the first race went to Nilfisk of José María van der Ploeg, but the boat skippered by the Olympic sailor could only finished seventh in the second. Nextel lies second in the overall classification, followed by Nilfisk, which is twenty points clear of fourth classified.
In X-35 yesterday's leader Hotelplan – Spirit of Nerina could only manage an eleventh and an eighth place in today's two races. First is now Margherita – Jsteam de Roberto Mazzucato thanks to a first and a second, whereas Finnish Samuli Liesti'sAudi Ultra lie in second.
Tomorrow two more windward-leeward races shall be launched, and discards will come into effect for divisions racing in compensated time.
by Eva Dallo
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7:13 PM Thu 19 Jul 2012GMT
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