The Rolex IMS World Championship, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, officially got under way yesterday in the Bay of Naples with the start of the offshore race.
Day One's races on Monday were called off by the Race Committee due to a lack of wind. Yesterday however, with a north-easterly breeze (or, in Italian, "grecale"), the race started on schedule in 8-9 knots of wind, with the start divided into two groups. The day's "long" race course was trimmed to around 80 nautical miles due to an anticipated drop in wind velocity.
The 66 entries had an 18-mile beat to a buoy off the city of Naples, then a 16-mile leg to the island of Procida and around, 16 miles back to a mark off Marina Grande (Capri), back up to Procida and then the return to the finish off Capri.
As expected, the wind dropped shortly after the start, and the boats were finding it slow going. The two leading boats, the sole American entry, Talisman, and the Italian boat X-Prozac, the largest boats in the fleet at 58 feet and 56 feet respectively, rounded the mark off Capri (for the first time) in the early evening. The race leaders are expected to finish before midnight with the rest of the fleet arriving back in Capri through tomorrow morning, Wednesday, May 19.
A total of ten nations are being represented at this year's World Championship. Brand-new designs from Botin & Carkeek, respected interpreters of the IMS rule, are also adding to the excitement. Marco BIRCH'S Talisman with Terry HUTCHINSON at the helm, Memo Memulini flying the Uruguayan flag, X-Prozac, Meridiana Italtel with Vasco VASCOTTO, and Raiffeisen CM with Lorenzo BRESSANI at the wheel, are challenging the predominance of Bruce Farr designs. Many of these new boats arrived in Capri, the first event of the IMS season, just a few weeks after their launch.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.