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26 September 2002, 03:07 pm
Italians Set Blistering Pace in First 3 Races
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Furry Creatures LeewardMark Rounding©Walter Cooper

Mumm 30 World Championship
Annapolis, Maryland

After months of preparation, racing has begun in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Maryland for the Champagne Mumm 2002 Mumm 30 One Design World Championship.
This international event started on Tuesday 24 September with an opening ceremony on a beautiful evening. Crisply flying flags of the different countries and states represented by the 33 boats competing proved to be a good omen for the start of the racing.

With the historic Thomas Point Light providing a distinctive backdrop south of the racecourse off the Severn River, the three windward - leeward races run on Lewmar Race Day were held under partly cloudy skies and 10-12 knots winds from the NE alternating with sun and a diminished breeze at times.

The Annapolis Yacht Club Race Committee set an offset mark at the first windward mark and a gate at the leeward end of the course, all designed to prevent damage and destruction in this high performance fleet, well-known for its aggressiveness in racing. Therefore, it was no surprise that the first race had two boats over the start line early having to restart, while the rest of the fleet set off.

Printel Wind, skippered by Paolo Cristofori (ITA) was the first boat to round the windward mark of the race followed by Fred Sherratt's Steadfast (CAN), then Alyssa Ashley driven by Claude Rodelato (MON). Diarmuid Foley's Mammy (IRL), Illusion with Chicago's John Podmajersky driving, and Jack LeFort's Off the Gauge from Florida - with Volvo Ocean Race and hometown Annapolis sailor Chris Larson aboard calling tactics - all rounded following the first two in that order.

Printel Wind lengthened her lead on the fleet while the other boats fought amongst themselves as the wind moderated. Richard Perini's Foreign Affair (AUS) passed a number of the boats at the top of the fleet. The race one top five finishers represent five different countries - truly a global regatta.

The Race Committee signalled a clear start for the second race. This time, most of the boats headed off on starboard tack for the western side of the course as it had paid off so well for the leaders in the first race. At the third mark rounding, Andrea Cecchetti and his team from Italy on Banca Finnat misjudged their boat position relative to the mark and hit it, right before Foreign Affair ripped their spinnaker on the hoist. Guiseppe Abba's Alina (ITA) and reigning 2001 Mumm 30 World Champion made a comeback from their tenth place finish in the first race to end up second behind Printel with the Recchi/Ubertalli team on Unicredito Italiano (ITA) in third to see an all- Italian sweep of the top three places in the second race.

Steadfast (CAN) was fourth with Thomas Papanek's Fuzzy Logic from Chicago being the only American team to break into the top five on this race.

The final race of the day saw the winds getting lighter with the bands of clouds from tropical storm Isidore, arriving from the south and pushing the high out. Most boats changed headsails for race three, which had an upwind finish.

Printel Wind, the leader after the first two races, crossed early over the start line, but clawed their way back through the boats ahead after restarting. The fleet was more compressed in this race with closer gybing duels on some of the downwind legs. Pennsylvania and Chesapeake Bay sailors Nick and Bodo von der Wense on Turbo Duck finished first while Printel Wind continued their amazing recovery and finished second. Banca Finnat, Alina, and Foreign Affair finished in the top five places in race three.

When asked about their remarkable start of the championship, Italian skipper for Printel Wind, Paolo Cristofori, said that they had "Prepared for the regatta by racing on the Italian Circuit from February until the end of July, then packed up the boat and had it shipped to Annapolis. Once we arrived we worked hard to make a good set up and we are happy with what we did today." He also indicated that "Annapolis is wonderful - we did not expect such good conditions [for racing]." With higher winds forecasted for today's racing, Paolo said, "We welcome more wind!"

Top 10 Overall (After 3 Races)

Position Boat Skipper Country R1 R2 R3 Total
1 PRINTEL WIND Paolo Cristofori ITALY 1 1 2 4
2 ALINA Guiseppe Abba ITALY 10 2 4 16
3 FUZZY LOGIC Thomas Papanek USA 6 5 7 18
4 UNICREDITO ITALIANO Recchi/Ubertalli ITALY 7 3 9 19
5 TURBO DUCK Bodo/Nick vd Wense USA 13 9 1 23
6 ILLUSION John Podmajersky USA 9 6 10 25
7 STEADFAST Fred Sherratt CANADA 2 4 20 26
8 OFF THE GAUGE Jack LeFort FL USA 3 8 17 28
9 FOREIGN AFFAIR Richard Perini AUSTRALIA 5 24 5 34
10 ENIGMA Stewart Lewis AUSTRALIA 17 7 11 35
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