Day four at the Swan 45 Gold Cup 2004 saw another fantastic day of racing off the beautiful coast of Capri, with blue skies, sunshine and winds of 10-15 knots.
It was Vittorio RUGGIERO'S Talj (ITA) that collected the trophy on the Yacht Club Capri Race Day with a second and third place. Eric MARIS collected his first prize of the week coming second on board Twins (FRA) with Danilo SALSI'S DSK (ITA) in third.
Lying in fifth place overall on the leaderboard, thanks to four results in the top ten, it is hard to believe that Ruggiero has never been sailing before he bought his Swan 45. The Swan 45 Gold Cup is only his second ever regatta, having made his first, the recent Rolex Swan Cup. Ruggiero is clearly thrilled with his new passion: "I am a new owner, I started with the Swan 45 just a few months ago and this is my first experience with sailing - I have never sailed before. So, you can imagine I am very happy with the results of this week. The terrible thing is that I have to go back to work - that is the only problem!"
The fleet set out at 11.00am (GMT) in a southeasterly breeze on the first of two windward-leeward courses. Twins had a great start at the pin end and was first to reach the weather mark ahead of Gianni SCERNI'S Kora 3 (ITA) and Danilo SALSI's DSK (ITA), who had Tommasso CHIEFFI as tactician. Stefano POLIT'S Mintaka (ITA) took advantage of a wind shift on the first leeward run and gained nine places passing Kora 3 and DSK ahead of the second mark. But this was not enough to outclass the French boat, which led throughout the race and crossed the line with a comfortable lead ahead of Mintaka and Talj in third.
The second race of the day had to be re-started due to a large number of boats having an early start. When the race eventually got underway it was Leonardo FERRAGAMO'S Cuordileone that showed impressive form and led the fleet for the best part of the race.
As Talj took up position on her stern and consistent pressure was applied by Graham de ZILLE'S Amnesia (GBR) who had world renowned Navigator, Andrew CAPE as tactician, Cuordileone had no time to relax. With America's Cup sailors Ian BUDGEN and Paul CAYARD on board, Ferragamo's crew showed superior skill and finished the race in pole position. Budgen commented on the long awaited win in today's second race: "We had a really good start down at the pin end and managed to maintain good boat speed. Once you are ahead in a big fleet like this, it is significantly easier as you get rid of three-quarters of the pack already. We had good pace and chose the right side of the course."
He added: It's nice to win - its been a long time coming. We've been trying very hard all week!"
The Swan 45 Gold Cup concludes tomorrow with the Morgan Stanley Race Day. As the leaderboard stands, Marco SALVI and Alberto SIGNORINI'S Vertigo (ITA) maintains her position at the top, Mintaka has moved into second place and Vincenzo ONORATO'S Mascalzone Latino to third. After four days of top class racing and fantastic conditions in Capri, the competitive fleet of Swan 45's have all to play for as they tussle for the title of Swan 45 Class 'world champion' and fight to get their hands on the prestigious Gold Cup. The final prize giving will be held on Friday 15 October in the Regatta Village, hosted by Morgan Stanley.