The close racing in all classes coupled with the bright Neapolitan sunshine, yielded a spectacular scene in front of Capri's Marina Grande as the boats finished this afternoon.
The Long Offshore race awards two points for one course. Race 4's point is awarded for the entire 195-mile course and Race 3's point is awarded for first part of the course that ended at the Marina Grande Capri Gate, after 123 miles.
On clearing the start early Tuesday afternoon the fleet enjoyed a 15-mile reach to an inflatable Rolex buoy in front of Naples before turning West for a 25-mile beat along the cliffs to the corner of the Island of Ischia. From here the course took the fleet a further 35-miles up the coast to a turn mark in front of the town of Gaeta, and a 15-25 knot North West winds made the leg a jib reach for the fleet on the way up. A wind shift to the South West turned the return leg into a headsail reach too.
A left turn at Ischia brought the fleet back across the Gulf of Naples where spinnakers were set for a run to the Race 3 gate in front of Capri. The second point would be attributed after a further 30 mile run to St Maria di Castellabate and a beat back to the same gate. The idea behind the popular concept is to ensure crews are rewarded for their efforts half way through the race should the conditions become light and unpredictable later on, a phenomenon that is often a problem in the Mediterranean.
Charles DUNSTONE's Enigma of London was the first boat to finish just under 20 hours after the start. The big grey Maxi skippered by David BEDFORD sailed the entire race on her own out of sight of the entire fleet and revelled in the fast conditions hitting speeds of 20 knots at times. But it was Alberto LEGHISSA's Telefonica Movistar, skippered by Pedro CAMPOS that won both points for the big boats, elevating herself to first overall in Class Alpha.
The Class Bravo hierarchy remains unchanged. Italtel still leads overall, in spite of hitting a rock 15 miles into the race and loosing the foam bottom of her keel. Arch rival Wind owned by Roberto MAFFINI, finished close enough to the handicapped Italtel to steal victory by the final finish line.
Class Charlie sees the winner of Dimare owned by Cuomo PELUCCHI. Not a very good race for Paul and Shark, but the skipper Beppe ZAOLI is not broken hearted as there are still more races until the very end of the event.
Thursday is a lay-day and the Rolex IMS Offshore World Championship will continue on Friday and Saturday with windward-leeward races.
"I have only eaten three bananas in 36 hours. I feel like a monkey! If I eat offshore, I get sleepy, which is not fast." Pedro CAMPOS, skipper, Rodman 42 Telefonica Movistar, Class Alpha winner and overall leader.