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17 September 2001, 11:11 am
Principessa Wins
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Centomiglia
Gargnano, Lake Garda

351 boats from nearly twenty different countries took part in the 51st holding of the world famous Centomiglia
Principessa won the 51th Centomiglia del Garda after a long, nerve-breaking match race with Garda Azzurra

It was only just a few metres away from the finishing line that the winner of the 51th edition of the Centomiglia del Garda was decided. After 8 hours, 11 minutes of intense and nerve-breaking sailing "Principessa", owned by the Austrian Joschi Entner and skippered by the former Star class World Champion Roberto Benamati (ITA), crossed the line less than a minute before "Garda Azzurra", with local hero Oscar Tonoli at the helm and Luna Rossa's Pietro D'Alì as tactician. It was a real, continuous match race between the two "Classe Libera" (Open maxi skiffs of the Garda Lake) on the whole course covering the entire area of the lake.

The third boat to cross the finishing line was the Hungarian "Pleasure", followed by German "Telebox" and by the Swiss crew of "Carondimonio".

The main part of the fleet arrived at ther finish in Bogliaco well into the night and the last ones even at the first lights of day.

The first half of the race was dominated by "Garda Azzurra" at the first mark facing Torbole as well as at the southern mark of Desenzano. Only in the last part of the race was "Principessa" able to overcome her competitor, thus achieving her second, consecutive win. "Principessa" is a 42 feet Open boat designed by Bruce Farr and built only last year by Patucelli, with a 20 metres carbon mast. Extremely light, the boat weighs less than 1 ton, with a 12 men crew, acting a a real "human ballast" on the outstanding terraces.

The winners of the three groups composing the fleet were:
Group 1 - Libera - Principessa - Joschi Entner (AUT)
Group 2 - Classic Libera - Liberté - Laci Munka (AUT)
Group 3 - J Infinity - Streamline - Jan Hamester (GER)

The "Beppe Croce Trophy" to the first cruising boat was given to Lisa, the Vallicelli designed 42 footer skippered by Claudio Tonoli.

The "Comunità del Garda Trophy", for the most numerous class (Asso 99 One Design) was awarded to Simo, skippered by the European class champion Luca Valerio, who led the 45 boats fleet from the start to the finish. The last boat to cross the line was the J24 Pinki at 06.25 in the morning, thus winning the "Circolo Vela Gargnano Trophy".

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