While the temperatures dropped on Narragansett Bay, action on the race course heated up as competition for the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (ICCT) resumed yesterday after Wednesday's planned lay day.
The Challenger (Italy's Daniele SARAGONI and crew Teo Di Battista, representing Club Nautico Rimini) and the Defender (John LOVELL of New Orleans, La., and crew Charlie OGLETREE of Houston, Texas, representing Southern Yacht Club) faced each other on a windward-leeward course (three times around) for three matches in breeze upwards of 23 knots with temperatures hovering in the low 60s. It was "rugged going," according to ICCT Trustee John DAWSON of Sea Cliff Yacht Club, organizers of the event, "especially for those who went swimming."
In race one Lovell and Ogletree were in the lead only to hook the windward mark, which allowed Saragoni and Di Battista to pass them and get on the scoreboard with the first win. In the second race, the Americans held the lead until the second downwind leg when, with the spinnaker out, they hit a wave and capsized, opening the door for the Italians to pass them on their way to the finish line.
In race three, Lovell and Ogletree capsized on the starting line and despite getting their cat back up quickly, the time elapsed was enough to give a half leg lead to the Italians who had sustained a pre-start penalty which they performed on the first leg. Showing plenty of determination, Lovell and Ogletree ran them down in the puffy and shifty conditions to win their first race of the day. The final two races of the day saw even starts with both boats jockeying upwind. The Americans were around each mark first, albeit with the Italians right on them. In both instances, Saragoni and Di Battista crossed the line only 10-15 seconds behind Lovell and Ogletree, who ended the day 3-2.
The winner of the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy will be determined today when the final two races are sailed in this best four-out-of-seven series between the Defender and Challenger.