Day three of the Swan 45 Gold Cup 2004 saw the 20-strong fleet head out for the ClubSwan Race Day - a 40-nautical mile island race. Local knowledge proved no advantage as the evenly matched Swan 45 fleet fought to the bitter end.
It was the American entries that dominated the day with William DOUGLASS' Goombay Smash crossing the line first just one minute ahead of Thomas STARK'S Rush.
The fleet started out at 10.30am in light rain and 12 knots of southeasterly breeze. From the starting line off Capri they headed upwind with Montauti FABIO'S Papastilla (FRA) getting a fantastic start at the pin end and leading the fleet with Goombay Smash in second and Vincezo ONORATO'S Mascalzone Latino (ITA) in third. The fleet then headed on a long downwind beat to a mark off Procida Island. As they approached the passage between Ischia and Procida Island it was Goombay Smash in the lead, but then a 30 degree wind shift and drop in wind saw Papastilla regain her position and set the pace round Procida.
The next leg took the yachts upwind to Secche Della Cavellara, off the coast of Naples. Tom STARK'S Rush showed fierce form to fight her way back from the rear of the pack with Ed BAIRD as tactician onboard. Vincenzo ONORATO'S Mascalzone Latino rounded the mark first, but local knowledge from Vasco VASCOTTO wasn't enough to keep the Americans at bay. Goombay Smash took full advantage of the 22 knots of breeze on the final run and crossed the line in first place with Rush in second and Papastilla in third.
Stark commented on the tough competition: "We did not get a great start as we got caught on the wrong side of the shift right at the start. We worked really hard on the downwind leg, picking up speed with the big breeze and flying our asymmetric - this gained us a lot of ground. However, the wind eventually died to about 7 knots, but thankfully filled in again for the home stretch!
He continued: "It was tough sailing but our tactician, Ed BAIRD, did a great job just keeping us in the hub. He's very patient and round here it takes a lot of patience to win a boat race! It is a very tough fleet. A lot of teams are sailing really well and there's very little edge in it - when you make a mistake its always going to cost you.
The Swan 45 Gold Cup will continue tomorrow, Thursday 14 October, with the Yacht Club Capri Race Day, which will see the fleet go back to two windward/leeward races, entering the second half of the regatta. The final prize giving will be held on Friday 15 October in the Regatta Village, hosted by Morgan Stanley.
For full results and photos visit the event website via the link below.