Americas Cup sailor Ed Baird steered Tom Stark's Swan 45 Rush (USA) to victory on Volvo Ocean Race Day, at the Swan Cup 2002 organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.
The victory moves Rush up to 11th overall on a leaderboard that sees five different nationalities in the top five places. The Swan 56 fleet continues to dominate, with Sir Geoffery Mulcahys Noonmark VI (GBR) leading Frank Savages Lolita (USA) by one point, with Busch-Johannsens Blue (GER) one point further back.
For the longest race of the week, a six to eight North-Westerly provided calm conditions for the fleet. As the starting gun went, many of the higher profile tacticians opted for the pin end of the line, with Ed Baird and Stark timing Rushs start perfectly and sailing over the top of Paul Cayard on Enrico Scerni's Swan 80 Kora (ITA). However, at the windward mark it was Leonardo Ferragamos Swan 80 Solleone (ITA) sailing with King of Spain, Juan Carlos on board that led by two minutes and 35 seconds from Thierry De Passemars Swan 70 Fast.net, with Leslie Greens Swan 60 Sotto Voce (AUS) close behind. Rush rounded in ninth position, amongst a host of larger boats.
Stark commente, "It was very exciting out there today, we had a good start and decided to be a little more aggressive with the bigger boats and try for that first line position, which was fraught with peril when you have boats of this size coming at you. So we got off the line and in the light stuff we were using a light jib and had plenty of power and then really hung in with the reaching boats and then just stayed with it."
"We have a great crew and the boat is very well prepared, we have spent a lot of time getting it ready and the boat is well tested. We did the race to Bermuda and the delivery back, which was very windy, and some top sailing on Long Island Sound."
Kora moved through the fleet to take line honours from fellow Swan 80 Favonius (NED) owned by Roel Pieper.
Tomorrow is Accenture Race Day, the penultimate day of racing at the Swan Cup 2002. After two windward/leeward courses the 2000 competitors will have the opportunity to relax at the Volvo Ocean Race crew party.
Results (Afetr 3 Races)
||Sotto Voce one