A WEEK OF GRACE
Vesuvius loomed large on the horizon for the first time this week, but not for the first time the wind failed to play ball. In fact, it took the ball away today and apart from teasing the Race Committee with some zephyrs, it never materialised into anything good enough to hold a race. Peter Reggio blew the final whistle on Rolex Capri Sailing Week 2009 just before the stipulated cut-off point. Overnight leaders instantly became overall winners.
Vincenzo Onorato and Mascalzone Latino (ITA) took the laurels in the Farr 40 class, an especially pleasing result since these are virtually his home waters. Carlo Perrone and Atlantica Racing (ITA) proved themselves on beat with Capri time, winning here for second time in the Swan 45 class. Alessandro Nespega and Fral 2 (ITA) put the lid on a disappointing event last year to take victory in the Comet 45 class. Massimo Russo and Athanor (ITA) were runaway winners in the Comet 41 class, and, Leonardo Ferragamo and Cuordileone (ITA) left Capri top of the class in Club Swan 42s.
A clean sweep for the Italians, but it could have been different. In all but the Comet classes the competition has been truly international, something Massimo Massaccesi, President of the Yacht Club Capri is quick to point out. “This is the tenth anniversary of the founding of our club. To see such a well prepared, competitive and international fleet has been a real pleasure. This event is significant for Capri and is recognised as an important one in the Mediterranean calendar,” commented Massaccesi.
As for the winners, without exception all were deeply satisfied with the week's proceedings and paid tribute to the race management's handling of the trying conditions.
“When you win it is always a good week,” said a smiling Onorato. “I'm happy because, I was born in Naples so Capri is more or less my home and it is beautiful to win here. It was not easy, but it was very Capri. But it is also fascinating to sail in light winds and difficult sailing conditions. It is impossible not to be happy when you are in such a wonderful place like Capri.” With the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in a month's time Onorato will be pleased to have a preparatory win already under his belt in this highly competitive class, but he recognises the difference between sailing in Capri and Porto Cervo, “as a sailing event this is certainly preparation, but you have to consider that probably in Sardinia we will have very different conditions.” Onorato is also swift to emphasise that he is by no means a certainty for what would be his fourth world title, “it will be no more or less difficult to win in June than at any other time. You have to fight to win and it is very difficult, but that is the most interesting thing in this class. The Farr 40 is the most competitive in the world. Everybody can win.”
Carlo Perrone and Atlantica Racing did not have it all their own way this week, and Charisma's (NED) storming performance yesterday would have put them on notice of a serious challenge had a race transpired today. As it is, Perrone leaves Capri with the win in the Swan 45 class and a Rolex Submariner as his reward. “We're delighted because this was the first racing of this year, so we've started well,”remarks Perrone. Atlantica Racing is also preparing for its class world championship scheduled for the end of August in Argentario. Perrone puts this good start to the campaign down to keeping many of the same crew from previous years, “one of the key issues in our success was managing to keep the same sailing team for this year, including Lorenzo Bodini [Olympian in the Tornado] as tactician. We did not do much training this winter!”
“We're happy with Capri, we won here two years ago. The level of the Swan 45 class is getting higher and higher. It is always more difficult. All the boats here, especially the foreign boats, were very, very competitive,”concludes Perrone.
In the Comet 45 class Alessandro Nespega and Fral 2 were never worse than third in the five race series and took three bullets. Nespega was understandably thrilled with a win here to follow up his win at the Comet Cup in April, “this is my fourth time participating at the Rolex Capri Sailing Week and to win is very emotional. This is our third regatta this year and the third win in a row! We have really prepared well for the season - both in tuning-up the boat, but also coordinating the team.”
In complimenting his crew for their efforts, Nespega also acknowledged that the competition had not been easy, “we were confronted with well-prepared teams, like the current ORC world champion Libertine. But I have to give my thanks to the team, who showed that preparing and acting professionally makes the difference. Having well-prepared elements on board are the key for success. Technical know-how is essential, especially in the light wind conditions we have experienced. To have been able to interpret them well gives me a great satisfaction!”
The most comprehensive win of the week was achieved by Massimo Russo and Athanor in the Comet 41 class. Five races, five bullets. Easy. Russo has thoroughly enjoyed the experience and explained the secret to his success, “I am very happy, because we confirmed our potential. I did a lot of training with this team, composed mainly of Sicilian athletes. The boat speed was fine and there is a harmony in the team.”
In his wildest dreams, Russo had not contemplated such a comprehensive victory, “five wins was unimaginable to me! It was not at all expected. Of course I knew we could do well with this team. Our tactician is Gabriele Bruni, a former Olympic sailor from Palermo, a very special person. Besides being a very good tactician he is also very strong in social skills which ensured we were a crew of friends with a great spirit.” There may also be something in the name of his yacht that helps explain the exceptional performance. An 'athanor' was a furnace used by alchemists. And, in the words of Russo the week he finally “turned lead into gold!”
Leonardo Ferragamo and Cuordileone secured victory in the Club Swan 42 class, beating Kora 4 to the top of the podium for the second time in as many events. Tactician Enrico Chieffi expressed the team's satisfaction with the result, the venue and organisation whilst attributing the result to some good fortune, “it was a very lucky finish for us, which seems somehow unfair [on the fleet]. Peter Reggio did everything possible to get a race in today and he made an understandable decision. Capri's been a great, very well organised regatta in a beautiful venue. We look forward to the Swan fleet coming back again.”
To wrap up, instead of a plate of the day we have a place of the day: La Canzone del Mare, a luxurious bathing establishment located in Marina Piccola boasting stunning views of the Faraglioni and the Siren's Rock, and, the location of last night's Rolex Crew Party. Formerly the site of an old fort, it was transformed by the actress and singer, Gracie Fields, into a magnet for celebrities and the like during Capri's 'golden years'. Fields chose Capri as her home in the 1940s, and lived here until death in 1979. The titles to all press releases this week have been inspired by the titles of some her most famous films and songs.
Rolex Capri Sailing Week 2009 was organised by the Yacht Club Capri.
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2009 will be held in Porto Cervo from 24 - 27 June.
The Rolex Swan 45 World Championship will be held in Argentario from 29 August - 4 September.
Place, Boat Name, Owner, Nation, R's-Points
1. MASCALZONE LATINO Vincenzo Onorato ITA, 2-1-6-1-5-2-17.00
2. NERONE Massimo Mezzaroma ITA, 7-2-3-5-6-3-26.00
3. TWT Marco Rodolfi ITA, 1-7-1-2-9-8-28.00
CLUB SWAN 45
1. ATLANTICA RACING Carlo Perrone ITA, 1-4-1-2-4-12.00
2. CHARISMA Nico Poons NED, 4-1-6-1-1-13.00
3. EARLY BIRD Hendrik Brandis GER, 3-2-4-3-2-14.00
1. CUORDILEONE Leonardo Ferragamo ITA, 2-3-1-2-1-9.00
2. KORA 4 Enrico Scerni ITA, 1-1-5-1-2-10.00
3. KUUJJUAQ Ludovic de Saint Jean FRA, 3-2-3-3-3-14.00
1. FRAL 2 Alessandro Nespega ITA, 3-1-2-1-1-8.00
2. ONE NOIDINOTTE Saverio Bifulco ITA, 1-3-3-3-2-12.00
3. AGORA' Marco Franco ITA, 2-4-4-4-3-17.00
1. ATHANOR Massimo Russo ITA, 1-1-1-1-1-5.00
2. ZOOM Quatrini-Guiducci ITA, 3-2-4-3-2-14.00
3. PEDRO PROIETTILE Enrico Cardone ITA, 2-3-3-4-4-16.00