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20 May 2004, 09:36 am
Talisman (USA) and Meridiana - Italtel (ITA) 1 - 2 Overall at the Rolex IMS Worlds Offshore Race
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Talisman © CarloBorlenghi/ROLEX

Rolex IMS World Championships

The US entry, Marco BIRCH'S Talisman (Terry HUTCHINSON, helmsman) crossed the finish line of the IMS Worlds Offshore race at 11pm (local time May 18) on Tuesday.
But it would take until the rest of the 66-boat fleet straggled in through the pre-dawn hours to confirm their win overall and in the "non-corinthian" division of the regatta. Italtel - Meridiana with Vasco Vascotto at the helm was 2nd, followed by Gabrielle BENUSSI on X-Prozac.

The 80-mile Offshore Race was scored as two separate races: the first the triangle Capri-Naples-Procida-Capri, the second as an overall race including the additional two legs: Capri-Procida-Capri. For the first "race", Italtel was 1st, Talisman 2nd, and Twin Soul (Paolo Cian, skipper) 3rd; and for the overall race Talisman was 1st, X-Prozac 2nd, and Italtel 3rd.

In the Corinthian division, 1st, 2nd, 3rd were: Tsunami (Alberto Bolzan, skipper), Cherokee (Matteo SAVELLI, skipper), and Naos (Pietro FIAMMENGHI, skipper).

At the race start, the wind was 8-10 knots from the northeast, but as the fleet headed up the first beat, the breeze dropped. For the frontrunners, the westerly sea breeze filled in late in the afternoon at up to 20 knots, though by the last leg to the finish, it was dying yet again. For the smaller boats in the fleet the breeze was elusive, and at times they were completely becalmed -- the last boat finished around 10:00am (local time).

For Talisman, the boat was in the right place at the right time, though helmsman Terry HUTCHINSON said, "We were lucky in some ways, but Peter (Isler, navigator) and ADRIAN (Stead, tactician) did an awesome job keeping us in the pressure". The red boat (X-Prozac) is pretty fast, but we stretched on them all the time." Talisman was launched just last month and the crew have trained for only four hours prior to the start of the regatta. "Our biggest strength is our crew - owner/skipper Marco BIRCH put together a great group of professionals."

The Rolex IMS Offshore World Championships, are organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, in collaboration with the Yacht Club Capri. Rolex SA is title sponsor of the event. A total of ten nations are being represented at this year's World Championship. The IMS World Championships - now in their sixth edition - are a testing ground for both new designs and proven past performers.
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