Marco Rodolfi's Swan 80 Berenice Bis (ITA) claimed Leg One of the 2012 Rolex Volcano Race which ran some 100-nautical miles from Gaeta, in southern Italy, to the island of Capri.
Berenice Bis was the fifth boat to cross the finishing line in Capri, arriving at 03:53.04 CEST this morning and in the process ousting two Mini Maxis - Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou (GBR) and Marton Jozsa's Wild Joe (HUN) - on overall handicap. As widely predicted, Claus-Peter Offen's 100-ft Wally Y3K (GER) sealed line honours, finishing the course in 11 hours, 37 minutes and 32 seconds. In a close-run contest, Y3K saw off a strong challenge from Filip Balcaen's Nilaya (BEL), finishing just over three minutes ahead of her nearest rivals.
However, the plaudits belong to surprise winner Berenice. "We had a great race, making very few mistakes, navigating the islands very well, and when there was a change in the wind we were in the right place to take advantage,"
explains Rodolfi. "It is still a surprise because there are many fast and strong boats."
This wind shift during the night enabled the all-Italian crew to close the gap on the boats ahead. Former America's Cup sailor Tiziano Nava is Berenice's tactician and reveals: "The strong winds arrived later than expected but the last stretch to Capri was quite fast as we reached up to 20 knots. We had the sensation of being close to the larger boats and the boats behind were penalised by the drop in wind after our arrival."
Fifteen international crews completed the race. The last arrival was Giulio Simeone's Nelson 67 ISMEF Pep (ITA), finishing at 12:40.13 CEST.
The fleet will berth this evening in Capri. Leg Two of the race is scheduled to commence tomorrow at 11:00 CEST and comprises a 300-nautical mile voyage around the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Conditions for the longer leg are currently looking more cautious than initially forecast, with stronger winds predicted for the rush down to the islands and lighter conditions for the return stretch to Capri.
The overall winner of Leg Two will receive the coveted Rolex Trophy and timepiece during the traditional Rolex party at the iconic La Canzone del Mare, held on Friday 25 May.
How To Follow Event??
The Rolex Volcano Race is organised by the International Maxi Association (IMA) and is open to Maxi yachts (measuring over 18.29 metres/60-ft in length). Further information on the Rolex Volcano Race, including race tracking, may be found at www.internationalmaxiassociation.com