Vasco Vascotto's usual beaming smile tells a story in itself. But the charismatic Italian tactician of Audi Azzurra Sailing Team's entry to this week's Audi TP52 World Championship representing the colours of the host club, the Yacht Club Smeralda, reaffirmed today that there is no more stress than usual, as they seek to win the world title on their boat's home waters.
Their record which speaks for itself - on the podium at four of the season's five regattas - the 'local' team recently finished third overall on the Audi MedCup Circuit but the iconic Azzurra
team was still the only TP52 team to have contested the full season and not won a 2011 Trophy regatta.
"Do I look stressed?"
shrugged Vascotto after today's light winds Audi TP52 World Championship practice race, "Look, that is the answer. Tomorrow we will again have light winds but later in the week we have better conditions for us. All that we can try to do we have tried and so we stay calm and focused and will just have to see how it goes."
Vascotto is undoubtedly on his game, taking second place at the recent Melges 32 World Championships in Palma, but in the benign north westerly breeze which scarcely made seven knots for today's practice race, the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team struggled today with their powerful boat in what are known to be their weakest conditions.
According to current forecasts this fourth edition of the TP52 World Championship looks likely to be a regatta of very different winds - very light for the early races and very strong by Friday and Saturday.
"The big thing is looking to the outlook for the week,"
says Ado Stead (GBR), who guided Quantum Racing to the world title in Valencia last year, "Potentially it will be very breezy Friday-Saturday so people know you have to be in the lead or very close to it in the first couple of days because Day 4 and 5 might not even happen."
Defending champions Quantum Racing
won last year under Terry Hutchinson. Today, with helm Ed Baird (USA) at the controls the recently crowned Audi MedCup Circuit champions won the Practice Race with new Italian navigator Francesco Mongelli as a replacement for Kevin Hall (USA).
In the light winds it was Container
(GER) and Gladiator
(GBR)which were successive leaders on the water. Container
jumped the start gun and were latterly disqualified, but the German team had decided it was more valuable to line up against the fleet rather than re-start.
After a lacklustre finish to their MedCup season, in their quest to improve speed they have brought the vastly experienced, twice Audi MedCup winning Kiwi mainsail trimmer Don Cowie on board.
Tony Langley's Gladiator
(GBR) has two key changes and only lost out on the final run today Chris Larson (USA), recent Melges 32 winning tactician, stepped into the team as tactician and Nacho Postigo (ESP) is a late substitute for injured navigator Graham Sunderland (GBR).
Costa Smeralda has been a happy hunting ground for Niklas Zennstrom's RÁN, winning back to back Mini Maxi world titles with their 72 footer, but this will be an acid test for the team which stood clear of the title scrapping to win last month in Barcelona.
Five days of racing are planned including Thursday's 1.5 points premium coastal race into the beautiful islands to the north.