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12 June 2007, 10:15 am
Edimetra Steals The Show
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Giraglia Rolex Cup 2007
Portofino, Italy

It is Bob OATLEY's (AUS) 79th birthday, and he could not have celebrated better than he did on the water on Monday during the second inshore race of the 2007 Giraglia Rolex Cup. Taking first place in both real and corrected time, the Australians move into the top three below Favonius and Magic Carpet, who have the overall rank of first and second respectively after two days of inshore races.
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In the much disputed IMS Class Group A, Atalanta II lost her first place position to Edimetra VI, who came in seventh in the second race and who is now leading the overall ranking. The lack of wind on the course made navigation difficult for the leaders of Group B. By 17:00 the results were still unknown, but Citta' di Genova, Betta Splendens and Calima came in first, second and third respectively in the second race and the overall rankings saw Calima in first, Betta Splendens in second, and Lima Golf 3 in third.

Competitors and photographers alike were expecting a beautiful day in Saint-Tropez after Sunday's weather prediction of stable wind in the area between the islands of Hyères and Cape Camarat. However, the race committee once again announced delays for the morning's start, which finally for the Super Maxis and the IMS Class A after a few moments of hesitation. The first race mark faced the port of Saint-Tropez, a unique set-up which allowed for direct speed comparisons between the maxis and which could not have made the tourists any happier.

Speedy Return

A speedy return for Magic Carpet Squared, who welcomed Maud FONTENOY (FRA) on board, put Lindsay Owen JONES' (GBR) Wally in third place after the day's race and second place overall in the IRC class. Alfa Romeo had a poor start and had to sail perfectly in order to join back up with the leaders of the pack, finally finishing second on the day for a fourth place overall ranking. Wild Oats almost lost their comfortable advantage when they had a mishap involving a tangled spinnaker, but the quick reaction time of the crew enabled the team to limit the damages. Finishing the race was nothing more than a formality for the Australian boat, and at the end of 32.5 mile course, Wild Oats had a first in both real and corrected time, a perfect gift for her owner OATLEY, who is celebrating his 79th birthday. The day's results pushed Wild Oats from fifth place into third overall. Today's races will be the essential factor for determining the overall inshore race winners as the first and fifth place boats are separated by a mere four points.

In the IMS Class Group A, the top three finishers were all French, two First 40.7s and an A-40, followed by the Italian fleet. Atalanta II lost a lot of ground in a short amount of time, while Edimetra VI managed to come in seventh in the second race, boosting their overall ranking to the top position in the class.

Gabriele BENUSSI (ITA), tactician on board Atalanta II commented on the day's race and Atalanta II's sudden falling in the ranks, 'It was a 32.5 nautical mile costal race that was quite technical. We tacked a lot in the first part and we did quite well. According to the calculation of our navigator we were still leading the ranking. In the second part we stabilized with Edimetra's position, which is our first competitor as she is pretty similar in terms of boat characteristics and crew. Unfortunately, entering the bay of Saint-Tropez there was a completely lack of wind. All the boats behind us came in with more wind so we suddenly found ourselves packed in the fleet and as we are the biggest boat in the group we got penalized in corrected time. Basically we lost most of our advantage in less than one mile and that one mile was also the last of the race. We were a little bit disappointed but there is still once race left and the ranking sees us sticking close to Edimetra so we think we can still make it.'

Intense Preparations

As the start of the Giraglia Rolex Cup looms close, teams are preparing in every way they can. 'To prepare for the Giraglia we are trying not to get too tired as we know it's a very demanding race and there will be slight wind conditions,' said BENUSSI. 'We will turn over on board according to a fixed schedule to guarantee that all the crew will have the chance to rest and always be fresh. It is a very long race so we need to have fresh and reactive persons on board at the right time.'

Pietro D'ALI (ITA), tactician on board Edimetra, was very positive about the day's results, 'Today was a great racing day. We had an excellent start and we worked so well in the last part of the race in the lack of wind. Fortunately we caught the right breeze and were able to get over Atalanta. Atalanta was unlucky as they suffered more from the lack of wind in the last part of the race than we did. We first tried to get the breeze positioning in the centre of the gulf but then there was a slight increase in the breeze close to the coast so that we closed up to the wind direction and exploited it until the arrival. In the last part it shifted again to the opposite side of the bay but we had practically arrived at the finish line already which allowed us to reduce our gap with Atalanta on the corrected time.'

Unfortunately for Group B, the once strong wind died out after a couple of hours. The provisional leaders of the class find themselves in a delicate situation as the conditions put their top positions in jeopardy. By 17:00 the final results were still unknown but it is certain that many surprises await as anyone could move into the top positions.

On 12 June, the participants should find themselves face to face with conditions similar to Monday's with light winds in the afternoon.

Regatta News (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Atalanta II, second overall after two inshore races, rounds mark ahead Alfa Romeo:© Kurt Arrigo/Rolex
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