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2 November 2005, 10:32 am
Italian Flair
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America's Cup 2007

As one of three Italian teams, and the last of the three to challenge for the 32nd America's Cup, Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team has had a busy year in 2005, establishing the team, acquiring and modifying boats, and racing in the six Louis Vuitton Acts.
As might be expected when so much activity is piled into such a short time period, its results in the 2005 Louis Vuitton Acts were wildly inconsistent. The team showed flair all season, and had some spectacular finishes. Unfortunately, the 'Latin Rascals' also suffered some setbacks along the way and closed the season in ninth place, much further down the table than they wanted to be. A bright point, Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia was just four points from being in the top half of the standings.

A Strong Start…

The team started the season well; its best Louis Vuitton Act venue was in Valencia, Spain in June where it finished eighth in the match racing. And, much about this team can be summed up by its results on the first day of the fleet races in Valencia - Vincenzo ONORATO's team finished last in the first race before recovering to win the second contest.

'I made a lot of mistakes in the first race and I tried to cancel all the things in my mind from that race to concentrate on the second,' said an understated Vasco VASCOTTO (ITA), the genial skipper of the team. VASCOTTO went on to lead his team to fifth in the fleet racing, its best finish in 2005.

…But A Disappointing Finish

Mascalzone Latino then went on to a good match racing event in Malmö-Skåne, Sweden, finishing seventh and beating strong teams like Victory Challenge (SWE) and K-Challenge (FRA) along the way. It fell back in the shortened fleet racing event in Sweden, and then had its worst results of the year at home in Italy for the Trapani Louis Vuitton Acts, a ninth and tenth - a disappointing way to end the season.

'Being on the bow I have the advantage of crossing the line first, although this week it seems like I'm always in 19th place!' joked Alberto BAROVIER, the bowman for the team after one of many difficult days in Trapani.

Team Building Begins

But this is a team that is looking to the future, not the past. This is the second challenge for team initiator ONORATO and he considers it his first real attempt at the Cup, with a serious budget provided by Capitalia Bank.

'I really think we can win the Cup with this team,' ONORATO said after the season concluded in Trapani. 'It might sound funny to say that now, but we have nearly two years time still to work. It's a long way to go, and we haven't seen any of the new boats yet, so many things can change.'

The team is does not appear to have any glaring deficiencies, although it does not have a wealth of America's Cup experience on board. Skipper VASCOTTO is sailing in his first Cup, whilst Italian helmsman Flavio FAVINI is on his second. This sailing team is strong, if a bit light on top class match racing experience. However the Italians have made strides to rectify that with the summer addition of Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), who is amongst the top 30 skippers in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings. Currently, the team plans to use GRAM-HANSEN as a 'b-boat' helmsman, sparring against the race team of VASCOTTO and FAVINI, and coaching them on their match racing skills.

Certainly Mascalzone Latino - Capitlia Team is under no illusions that there is a lot of work to do before it is ready to challenge the big boys. And for ONORATO, the Acts this year identified where the team has to focus its efforts.

'It's better to know today where our weaknesses are while we still have time to fix the problems,' ONORATO says. 'We had too many structural problems with new equipment, so we need to test more. But the way it works is when you test everything is fine. When you race, that's when it breaks.'

ONORATO is however content with his team and the way it performed on the water, 'I'm very happy with our team. That's where we improved the most. In the beginning in Valencia and then in Malmö-Skåne the crew wasn't so confident. Here in Trapani our crew work has been very good. That's something I'm very happy about.'

The team has returned to Valencia in October and is sailing most days this autumn with two boats, testing and training. This is the difficult part of the America's Cup, where hard work takes place out of the limelight. But it is a critical part of any future success.

For ONORATO, it is part of the deal if you want to win. 'We're going to work like hell racing and testing in Valencia,' he says…the words of a winner.

Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team: Match Races in 2005

The following table shows all race results from the three Match Racing Acts of the 2005 season: Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 4, Malmö-Skåne Louis Vuitton Act 6 and Trapani Louis Vuitton Act 8. The right column shows the total amount of points gained against each team throughout the year. The bottom row shows the total amount of races won per Louis Vuitton Act.

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Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team: Fleet Races in 2005

The following table lists all finishes during the three Fleet Racing Acts of the 2005 season: Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 5, Malmö-Skåne Louis Vuitton Act 7 and Trapani Louis Vuitton Act 9. The curve of the results charts the progress of the team over the year.

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For a complete list of all the news about the America's Cup 2007 CLICK HERE.
ACM 2005. Image, Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team in action in Malmö-Skåne:© Francesco Ferri/ACM 2005
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