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13 September 2003, 11:53 am
Penultimate Day
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Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Port Cervo, Sardinia

The penultimate day of the event featured light winds that never went above seven knots all day, often staying down as low as three. The 34-boat fleet were sent on a 30-mile course visiting the bays, rocks and islands to the South of Porto Cervo.
First home again was Neville CRICHTON'S Alfa Romeo, managing to win on handicap for the third time in a row in the IRC Class. In the IMS Class Raffaele RAIOLA'S Idea SAI had a close race with John KAHLBETZER'S Bumblebee 5, whereas in the Wally Class Luca BASSANI'S Wallyño won by a staggering 38 minutes on corrected time.

"When we get down to 4-5 knots of wind we really begin to struggle upwind. We don't have an overlapping headsail and we have to sail much lower angles than boats with overlapping headsails. It made a difference today for Idea. They managed to sail a much better angle in less wind that brought them almost up beside us towards Mortoriotto Rock." Michael COXON, tactician on board Neville CRICHTON'S Alfa Romeo, line honours and overall leader of the IRC Class, said.

With a light thermal breeze from the East today the committee decided to set a weather mark and send the entire fleet Southwards to the island of Soffi before diving deep into a turn mark in the Cala di Volpe, just offshore from a hotel by the same name where Rolex had received the owners and media for dinner the night before. From here the course took the fleet back out to Mortoriotto Rock before turning for home.

The light winds that plagued the fleet all day let one type of boat and then another gain the upper hand depending on the point of sail and the actual wind-speed. Alfa Romeo and some of the Wallys sailed well upwind when the wind was over 5 knots but lost out to the likes of Idea SAI and some of the others with overlapping headsails when the wind dropped below this speed. On the reaching and downwind legs, the boats equipped with masthead asymmetric sails always had the edge.

Idea SAI had a new rival to deal with yesterday. What had been a two boat race between Idea SAI and Alberto ROEMMERS' Alexia for the championship ended with the retirement from the regatta two days ago when Alexia broke its topmast in a start line collision with Leopard. Idea SAI has all but won the championship now, needing to just finish today's race if Bumblebee wins.

In the IRC Class Carlo PERRONE'S Virtuelle needs to sail better than today if she is to displace Crichton's super maxi Alfa Romeo from the top spot. The world class crew on the big Kiwi boat have barely put a foot wrong this week and are regularly winning on corrected time in both heavy and light winds. In the Wally Class Lindsay OWEN-JONES' Magic Carpet 2 led around the whole course pulling up to third on the water having started 10 minutes behind the IMS and IRC Class Maxis. Sailing smartly through the patchy winds on the downwind legs and always managing to keep close to rival Claus-Peter OFFEN'S Y3K well tucked away behind, it unfortunately came as no surprise to see the tiny 60-foot long Wallyño win by almost 40 minutes on corrected time. Wallyño's has now won all her races except one and is a runaway leader of the famous 'designer' class.

Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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