The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's Race Committee, headed by Peter Reggio, got off three full races in 19-23 knot winds that blew steadily all day from the North West.
The action was again as tight as it can get in yacht racing, the big winner of the day being Massimo MEZZAROMA'S Nerone, now holding an eleven point lead over John COUMANTARIS' second placed Bambakou.
Race three got off on time at 11:40 with a 2.2 mile long weather leg. The course had been set slightly further offshore than the day before but still the left hand side seemed to be the dominant option. The first start saw the fleet bunched at the pin end with Nerone moving out from the middle of the bunch half way up the beat. The Italian boat rounded the first mark in the lead, followed closely by Steve & Fred HOWES' Warpath and these two dominated the front of the fleet for the rest of the race battling all the way down the last run with final honours going to Warpath. Other new faces at the front of the fleet included Takashi OKURA'S Sled and Hasso PLATTNER'S Morning Glory.
Race Four started almost as soon as the last boat had finished and Ernesto BERTARRELLI'S Alinghi and the same Warpath that had won the first race were recalled for premature starts. The fleet was spread much more evenly along the line this time although once again the left seemed to be favoured with Jim RICHARDSON'S Barking Mad rounding the first mark in the lead. The first run favoured those who found and worked the puffs the best, most boats getting up to planing speed in the stronger gusts. Michel ILLBRUCK'S Nela moved sharply into the lead and proved impossible to catch for the rest of the race. The chasing pack was led again by Mezzaroma's Nerone, being perfectly guided around a consistent day by tactician Vasco Vascotto. Nerone picked up another second place and moved into the lead overall on points.
"Sled" © Max Ranchi For More Pictures, Click on the Picture
Race Five started just after 3pm into a building breeze, topping 24 knots in the gusts at the top of the course. Most of the fleet opting for their small No 4 jibs. Michael ILLBRUCK placed his Nela at the leeward end of the line for a perfect pin end start, keeping the extreme left hand side of the fleet for most of the beat. Two thirds of the way up the leg, Kostecki called the tack that saw the German boat slip across the bows of three starboard tackers, the closest being John CALVERT-JONES Southern Star, and off to the right to eventually round the weather mark with a four boatlength lead.
Starting well in the middle of the line was Jim RICHARDSON'S Barking Mad and after a long leg up the left hand side of the course rounded in second place behind Illbruck. These two then sailed away into their own private match race. Enthralling the spectator fleet the pair swapped the lead once on the first run and then chose opposite sides at the leeward gate for the second upwind leg. Illbruck again chose the left, Terry Hutchinson guiding Richardson on Barking Mad, felt the right was going to finally come good. Sailing away to the right for several minutes, Barking Mad dropped back onto starboard to stay in touch with Illbruck. But half way up the last leg Hutchinson felt he had blown it and that Nela would cross ahead again. The long awaited right hand shift of just a few degrees came good at the end allowing Barking Mad to round the last mark first but with a much diminished advantage. The final run in the strongest winds of the day and with by now a one metre swell, was a thriller. Both boats planing and surfing down the waves were locked in a battle to see who would make the first mistake. Just yards before the finish the advantage seemed to have swung back to the German boat but a last minute surf saw the boats cross the line overlapped with the American just ahead.
For the second race in a row German boats were dominating with Hasso PLATTNER'S Morning Glory picking up third. But the Italian Nerone was still there. Picking up its third top four place of the day and consolidating the overall lead in the process.
Today is be Day Three of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. The weather forecast is for 30 plus knot winds.
Top Ten (After 5 Races)