In fashion befitting a championship regatta, the IMS 50 World Championship is headed for a final race battle. The combatants: Pasquale Landolfi's Brava Q8 from Italy and Fernando Leon's CAM from Spain.
To ensure victory, Brava Q8 simply needs to beat or finish within one place of CAM. The 49-footer has the low score of 22.43 points and leads the 51-footer by 2.5 points. "Tomorrow will be a tough race," said Landolfi, the class president. "CAM is unbelievably fast. It's the fastest boat in the fleet."
CAM will need every tenth of that speed to win. It has to finish at least two places ahead of Brava to make up the differential and secure the second annual world championship. "Brava is a good boat and has a good crew," said Leon. "We'll have to sail well and fast and stay in front of them."
The two have traded blows all week and are almost evenly matched. Excluding yesterday's Races 5 and 6, two that Leon said went completely wrong for his crew, CAM leads Brava by just 1 minute and 19 seconds on combined corrected time after 149 miles of racing. Including yesterday's heats, Brava leads by a combined 5 minutes, 14 seconds after 161 miles.
While Brava Q8 and CAM will be focused on each other, they'll have to be careful not to sail each other off the racecourse. If for some reason they do, Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino XI could slip in and steal the title. Onorato and crew lay third overall with 30.25 points, 7.82 points in arrears.
Today started light as yesterday's northeasterly continued to die away. But the "embat" seabreeze filled soon enough to start the first race at the scheduled time of 1:00 pm. Brava Q8 and CAM promptly set about trading blows in the 12-knot southerly.
The two took advantage of a 20-degree shift to the left shortly after the start to take up the top two positions and never look back. CAM defeated Brava by 52 seconds on elapsed time, and 35 seconds on corrected time. For Leon, it was a positive start after yesterday's disappointing 6-8.
"We threw yesterday away. Today was a perfect day, a nice day," said the former Olympic gold medalist, the ebullience back in his demeanor. "We knew we were in the regatta and we sailed our own race."
The second race saw the wind top out at 18 knots with more oscillations than the first, and a six-leg windward/leeward was selected. CAM had a bad start, but Leon said they were in phase with the conditions and were able to fight their way out of the pack.
CAM finished second on elapsed time but was 1 minute and 15 seconds ahead of its rival Brava Q8, which converted to a 44-second corrected-time advantage.
Prior to the start of the regatta, the Brava crew stated that they were disadvantaged in their 3-year-old design. They said that the newer boats were more powerful. The season's results seemed to bear that out as CAM defeated Brava at two of the three previous regattas contested.
Now, they have one race to prove that old can be fast in the IMS 50 Class.
Let the fight begin.
The IMS 50 World Championship is organized by the Club de Mar Mallorca, in agreement with the Real Federacion Espanola de Vela, and under the authority of the Offshore Racing Committee of ISAF and the IMS 50 Class Association.
The event is sponsored Spanish airline company Spanair with Volvo car
corporation and petroleum company Cepsa providing additional sponsorship.
After 8 of 9 Scheduled Races
1. Brava Q8 (Farr 49) Pasquale Landolfi 3-5-1-2-2-3-2-4 -- 22.43 points
2. CAM (Farr 51) Fernando Leon 4-1-2-1-6-8-1-2 -- 24.93
3. Mascalzone Latino (Farr 51) Vincenzo Onorato 9-3-3-4-1-1-5-3 -- 30.25
4. Caixa Galicia (B&C 51) Roberto Bermudez 1-6-7-5-4-4-3-1 -- 33.50
5. Fram XV (Farr 51) H.M. King Harald V of Norway 2-4-4-3-5-7-10-6 -- 42.75
6. Krazy K-Yote Two (Kouyoumdijan 51) Ortwin Kandler 7-2-10-10-3-5-9-5 --
7. Tau Ceramica (Farr 49) Javier Dominguez Banderas 5-9-5-6-10-9-11-8 -- 65.75
8. Castellon Costa Azahar (J/V 51) Santi Lopez Vazquez 8-7-12-9-7-6-4-10 --
9. Rubin XV (J/V 49) Hans Otto Schumann 6-8-8-7-8-11-6-11 -- 68.75
10. Azur de Puig (Farr 49) Marta Mas Borrell 10-10-9-8-11-2-8-9 -- 71.25
11. Sirius V (Farr 50) S.A.R. Felipe de Borbon 11-11-6-12-9-10-7-7 -- 77.50
12. Exposure (J/V 50) Niek Lamm 12-12-11-11-DNC-DNC-12-12 -- 101.50