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20 June 2008, 09:54 am
Teams Spain and Italy Turn Up the Heat In Sardinia
Nerone, Farr 40 of Team Spain
Team Spain's Nerone was one of the star performers in the distance race

Sardinia Rolex Cup - ISAF Offshore Team World Championship 2008
Porto Cervo, Italy

Team Spain continue to head the battle for the ISAF Offshore Team World Championship title, although the Italians are now snapping at their heels after the distance race on day three of the Sardinia Rolex Cup.
The duel between teams Spain and Italy is heating up as Spain sits in first place just one point ahead of home-team Italy after Thursday's distance race in the Sardinia Rolex Cup organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The Race Committee set an Island Race today which took the 15-strong fleet (each team is composed of a Farr 40, a Swan 45 and a TP52) north up the stunning Sardinian coastline using the islands of the La Maddalena Archipelago as natural buoys and rounding the Barretinelli islands before a final long downwind run for a total of approximately 30 nautical miles. Conditions were impeccable once again with west north-westerly winds of 15 to 20 knots and blazing sunshine providing picture-perfect racing.

Team Spain's best result came from Massimo MEZZAROMA's San Miguel Telefonica Nerone which took first place among the Farr 40s ahead of Vincenzo ONORATO's Mascalzone Latino. The same Nerone was disqualified from Wednesday's final race due to a collision with Mascalzone Latino three minutes after the start. Jose CUSI's TP52 Bribon Telefonica, helmed by Pedro CAMPOS got off to a strong start and provided some spectacular match racing maneouvres with Platoon upwind, but then slipped back during the downwind leg to finish third. Marco SALVI's Telefonica Vertigo came fourth in the Swan 45 Fleet.

"We performed well today" affirmed Nerone's Tactician Vasco VASCOTTO. "It was a real duel with Mascalzone Latino. We managed to get back into the lead thanks to good tactical choices and a fast boat. We have to remain focused in order to do well in the last two days of the regatta."

Team Italy had their best day so far with Danilo SALSI's DSK Comifin taking victory among the Swan 45s and both Riccardo SIMONESCHI's TP52 Audi Powered by Q8 and Mascalzone Latino taking seconds in their respective fleets.

It was the Transpac 52s that provided some of the most spectacular action today: a close-fought duel got underway between Platoon and Bribon Telefonica as they headed north up the Sardinian coastline through the strait between Capo Ferro and the Isole delle Bisce (Island of the Snakes).

Jochen SCHUEMANN explained why he and the rest of the Platoon Team had a further good reason to get round the course as fast as possible: "At the beginning there was a real match race situation with Spain but we defended well and on the spinnaker leg we were much faster. We really had to win today in order to get back in time to watch the German football team in the European quarter-finals this evening!"

Team Southern Europe is in fourth place, seven points ahead of team Russia, despite having only two competing boats after Serguei CHEVTSOV's TP52 Valars broke the top of her mast during a downwind run yesterday.

Friday's forecast predicts more of the same conditions and racing is scheduled to start at 12:00.

Results - click here
Sardinia Rolex Cup - ISAF Offshore Team World Championship - click here
ISAF Offshore Team World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/offshoreteamworlds
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