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18 February 2005, 09:55 am
Little Nubium Steals Fortuna III's Thunder In Close Finish
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Rolex Buenos Aires to Rio Race
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)

The small 38-foot cruiser/racer Nubium has won the overall prize in the Rolex Buenos Aires - Rio de Janeiro Race. Esteban KALLAY and his crew were confident they might have scored second overall in the IMS division, as they had managed to reach Rio at sunset, amongst a group of larger yachts.
They hadn't dared believe they could beat Fortuna III, the brand new carbon-fibre 60-footer which had reached the finish when the next boat was still 250 miles back. But beat her they did, by just two and a half hours on corrected time, after a week and a half of hard racing.

Esteban KALLAY, the 19-year-old son and namesake of the owner, said: 'We couldn't believe it when someone rushed up to us at the marina with beers, shouting, 'You've won, you've won.' We knew we had done well, but we didn't think we could have won this race.'

For the young Kallay, this was his first time competing in the Buenos Aires to Rio, and what a way to kick off his offshore career. And what a tough race in which to make your debut, particularly when you're working as bowman - widely recognised as the most hazardous job on the boat. 'The first four days of the race were tough, with the wind blowing up to 40 knots from the north-east,' said Kallay. But Nubium headed away from the coast and was over 200km out into the Atlantic at one point.

It came good for the little cruiser/racer towards the end, when for the last 90 miles of the 1200-mile course she was able to fly towards Rio under spinnaker. Persistent headwinds had prevented Fortuna III from flying her spinnaker until the final three hours of her race, and perhaps it was this crucial difference in breeze that handed overall victory to the smaller boat by the slimmest of margins.

There was an incredibly close battle for victory in Formula ORC Club, too, with Dennis PORTIERI and Sensation Kodak clinching victory from Guillermo STAFFORINI's Izarra IV by less than half an hour on corrected time. Francisco BILLOCH's Horizonte won the Classic division, while in the doublehanded division, the Campora brothers - Carlos and Nicolas - repeated their division victory from three years ago aboard their sturdy yacht Manila Biogenesis.

Cesar RECALDE, skipper of Fortuna III, might have been disappointed not to have won the race overall, but he was happy to have taken line honours in such impressive fashion, especially because this was the new yacht's first proper ocean test. 'I am very pleased our team has achieved what we did. There was a lot of pressure on me and the crew to perform, as we really wanted to honour the commitment of our sponsors, the Argentinean Navy and the designer German Frers. Our success is the success of the whole Navy, as we put this campaign together solely with commercial sponsorship, without any government funding.'

Now Recalde will return to his day job as a Commander on board a Navy destroyer, and after such a gruelling race he has said, 'Never again!' But then he admitted: 'That's the third time I've said never again, so maybe I will be back next time.'

First held in 1947, this was the 21st edition of the Rolex Buenos Aires - Rio de Janeiro Race, a 1200-mile race up the South American coast, organised jointly by the Yacht Club Argentino and the Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro. The official prizegiving took place on February 17 at the Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro.

Provisional Results

Pt. Sail Nr. Boat Skipper
1 ARG4522 NUBIUM Esteban Kallay
2 ARG5000 FORTUNA III Cesar Recalde
3 ARG4600 BIZARRO Ruben Puppo

Pt. Sail Nr. Boat Skipper
1 ARG3834 SENSATION - KODAK Dennis Portieri
2 ARG1611 IZARRA IV Guillermo Stafforini
3 ARG1222 FORTUNA II Diego G. Giavedoni

Pt. Sail Nr. Boat Skipper
1 ARG3255 MANILA - BIOGENESIS Carlos Campora-Nicolas Campora
2 ARG3404 AIZE Daniel Lascano-Luis Hernadez
3 ARG3652 SAN SALVADOR Julio dos Reis- Rafael

Pt. Sail Nr. Boat Skipper
1 ARG 118 HORIZONTE Francisco Billoch
2 ARG 310 CANGREJO Pedro Ferrero
3 ARG 555 ESPERANZA Carlos Peralta
Regatta News, Image: © Daniel Forster/Rolex
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