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22 September 2005, 09:28 am
Pisco Sour Rules
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Breitling MEDCUP 2005
Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, Italy

The glorious surroundings of Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, Italy were the backdrop for the first race in the Audi Cup, the final event in the Breitling MEDCUP TP52 circuit. The Irish vessel Patches finished in second place in the the opening 40 nautical mile coastal race in her first day of competition in the MEDCUP, whilst the Chilean Pisco Sour took another victory to reinforce her lead in the general rankings.
The strong Mistral winds dealt harshly with crews and vessels during the training sessions during the days prior to the event, yet yesterday's race was held with light north winds between eight and twelve knots.

All indications were that this would be a very exciting day, with Pisco Sour, skippered by Vasco VASCOTTO (ITA), fighting to retain her leadership in the final stage of the Breitling MEDCUP TP52, with a three point lead over her toughest rival, Lexus, with the three -times America's Cup winning skipper Russell COUTTS (NZL) at the helm, and a 13 point advantage over Spain's Caixa Galicia.

There was much excitement as the final victory in the circuit hangs in the balance, and nerves were heightened as new vessels joined the fleet, with USA's Sjambok, skippered by Gavin BRADY (NZL), and Irish Patches with Ian WALKER (GBR) and double Olympic Champion Ben AINSLIE (GBR) at the helm.

Three boats were leading from the start line - Lexus left inexplicably late, slightly ahead of Caixa Galicia, who was overtaken by Sjambok, who were leading throughout the first part of the race together with Pisco Sour. In fourth place were an exceptional Aifos who were fighting to retain their fourth position against the attacks of Balearia and Caixa Galicia.

In the following legs the fleet split into two groups, on the one hand the Americans Sjambok, Ireland's Patches and Pisco Sour were followed by a compact group made up of Balearia, Aifos, and Caixa Galicia, whilst Lexus and Bribon fought for the lead of the group. The Italians Orlanda were at the back of the group.

Upon arrival at the island of Monaci as the fleet opened the spinnakers, the vessels headed back towards home in a fierce battle at sea, which would not let any error go lightly, as the lead was taken by Pisco Sour followed by Patches, then Lexus with COUTTS, who knows better than most how to gain positions swiftly after a bad start. In fourth place was Sjambok followed by Caixa Galicia, Bribon and Aifos. The rankings were closed by Orlanda Olympus and Balearia.

VASCOTTO, skipper of Pisco Sour commented, 'It has been a very difficult day, but it's been good for us, a great start for us in this regatta. Our interest is to win the Breitling MEDCUP and therefore the important thing is to be always in front of Lexus. The race has been very regular and we have had to play with the sails changes all the time. The whole race has been based on that. The good performance of Patches and Sjambok hasn't been a surprise, as both are helmed by excellent sailors.'

Miriam Torres (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Lexus came in third in yesterday's coastal race:© Jorge Andreu/MEDCUP
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