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10 September 2003, 10:27 am
Alfa Romeo Takes Line Honours in Style
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© Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Porto Cervo, Sardinia

In almost carbon copy conditions to the first day, the 34-boat fleet enjoyed fresh 20-28 knot winds amid blistering scenery on day two. The full scope of the possible race area was used with the fleet sent on a 30-miler up & down the notorious 'Bomb Alley
Fleet line honours were taken in style by Neville CRICHTON's Alfa Romeo who also managed to win the IRC Class on corrected time today. In the IMS Class Alberto ROEMMERS' Alexia sailed bravely to win and take control of the regatta after two races.

The fresh winds blowing across the top of Sardinia yielded flat water and the slightly more Westerly direction gave the left hand side of the course a distinct advantage for the first section. Many of the fleet realised the conditions would require a more seamanlike rig than day one and opted for reefs and small headsails.

For the first start with the IMS and IRC boats, it was Carlo PERRONE'S Virtuelle with Thierry PEPPONNET on tactics that won the pin end of the line whilst Idea was in control from the committee boat end.

The Wally Class was the second to start and the spread along the line again saw the advantage pass to the boats on the left, where the heavily reefed Tiketitan took the early lead. Late to start was Lindsay OWEN-JONES' Magic Carpet2 who had to sail on port tack behind the fleet before she could find clear air and tack back into the race.

The 30-mile course took the combined fleets upwind through the Bisce Straights, across the Gulf of Saline, past the island of Santo Stefano, leaving Spargi Island to starboard before returning to the finish down the same track. Commonly known as 'Bomb Alley' by the crews on board due to the narrow twisting nature of the track, winds are usually oriented down the 'alley' yielding a shifty beat on the way up and a gusty reach and run on the way down as the geography, hills and squalls affect the fresh winds hitting the immense sail plans of the Rolex Maxi fleet.

On the way upwind the requirement for frequent tacks yielded plenty of close crosses and unfortunately a few breakdowns. By the time the IMS Class had reached the top of the course Pierluigi PIANA's My Song and Raffaele RAIOLA'S Idea SAI had a small lead over Alexia. But the cunning Argentineans chose a high-risk option in amongst the rocks to cut the corner and close right up to the two leaders. Idea SAI chose an asymmetric spinnaker, Alexia a sail better suited for running, and by the time the pair had got past Spargi Alexia had retaken the lead. It wasn't to last long as the course then called for a tight reach with headsails. Idea SAI using a specialised sail was able to once again pass through to leeward of the Argentinean veteran and show her extra downwind speed. The run down the rest of the course saw the pale blue Italian boat sail away to finish four and a half minutes ahead, but it wasn't quite enough to beat the ever present Alexia on corrected time, who now moves into the lead after two races.

In the Wally Class, a little bit more spread out due the range of sizes across the group, the leaders had caught up the 10 minute deficit from the starting sequence and were in amongst the IRC and IMS boats. Lindsay OWEN-JONES' Magic Carpet2 had a battle on their hands with Claus-Peter OFFEN'S brand new Wally 94 Y3K. Magic Carpet2 was in control of the tight race to near the halfway mark when suddenly the headsail blew out of the headfoil costing the Magic crew about three minutes as they battled to re-hoist the sail in the second groove. Y3K, having damaged two spinnakers in yesterday's first race, chose to stay conservative at the top of the downwind leg and sailed with a headsail as the 'Carpet' set a small asymmetric masthead sail and reached off into the sunset, crossing the finish line 7 minutes ahead. The newer Y3K, being owed some time by the dark blue 'Carpet' won on corrected time by nearly three and half minutes. Luca BASSANI'S 60 foot Wallyño recovered from a difficult start to finish third.

In the Jongert and Spirit of Tradition Class only two boats took the start today and honours went again to George LINDEMANN'S 55-metre Adela from Alfredo CANESSA'S Whitefin.
Event Media (As Amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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