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Cannonball has been the boat to beat at Rolex Capri Sailing Week

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Pepe Cannonball has been the boat to beat at Rolex Capri Race Week. Photo: Gianfranco Forza
Pepe Cannonball has been the boat to beat at Rolex Capri Race Week. Photo: Gianfranco Forza

Capri Island, Italy - 18 May 2018. After a long wait for wind on the Bay of Naples today, Rolex Capri Sailing Week concluded with a windward-leeward/coastal race for the Maxi and Mylius classes, competing here with the support of the International Maxi Association. The course comprised a weather mark off Capri, a leeward gate directly off the Sorrento Peninsula, before returning to a finish off Capri’s Marina Grande. Ultimately the wind went light and the Race Committee wisely shortened course at the gate.

Among the Maxi Racers all initially went to form with Dario Ferrari’s Pepe Cannonball leading round the top mark ahead of Alex Schaerer’s Caol Ila R. However while the Italians carried out a conventional bear away set, Caol Ila R gybe set taking them directly away from Capri’s wind shadow. Pepe Cannonball gybed at the same time, but the damage was done and her perfect scoreline received its only blemish of the week.

“We noticed they were going to gybe set, but I thought they would park up at the mark or we could match them. It was my mistake,” admitted Pepe Cannonball tactician Tommaso Chieffi. Pepe Cannonball finished second on corrected but was able to discard this, maintaining their perfect score.

 “Capri and the racing have been fantastic,” said Ferrari. “We won four races out of five, so I am very happy. We really enjoyed this week – now we are looking forward to the Worlds in Sardinia.”

Pepe Cannonball has showed superior upwind pace this week, but Ferrari was reserved regarding whether his boat is the new Maxi 72 benchmark: “Momo was not here and we still have to beat her.”

Caol Ila R’s owner Alex Schaerer was delighted to have finally relieved Pepe Cannonball of a bullet: “It would have been too much for them to have won five in a row. But they drop today’s second and still only have wins!”

Of where they had won today, Schaerer said they had spotted more wind offshore at the top mark: “Maybe Cannonball only went 50m more, but it was enough: When it is so light it is crucial that you stay in the wind. Then we just flew over them. So we started with a win and finished with a win!” he concluded, referring also to Caol Ila R’s Regatta dei Tre Golfi victory a week ago.

His tactician Cameron Dunn felt they had performed well. “It was nice to get one off Cannonball. They have sailed bloody well all week, but she should be beating us - she is a newer boat with lots of mods. We feel like we are getting better all of the time.”

Sir Peter Ogden’s newly turboed Jethou was third with American Bryon Ehrhart fourth in his first regatta aboard Hap Fauth’s former Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship winner, Bella Mente, now rechristened Lucky.

Once again Peter Dubens’ Spectre led the Maxi Racer Cruiser class. However immediately after rounding the weather mark, their spinnaker exploded causing them to relinquish the lead to Roberto Lacorte’s SuperNikka. “The tack of the spinnaker is zipped together to prevent it opening when you don’t want it to, but if you run the zip all the way to the end and don’t break the zip open, when the sail sets the zip doesn’t release and it tears a hole in the spinnaker in a highly loaded area…” explained tactician Nick Rogers.

This handed victory on the water to arch-rivals, SuperNikka, but ultimately it was Jean-Pierre Barjon’s Marseille-based Swan 601 Lorina 1895 that won the race and their first bullet at Rolex Capri Sailing Week. A second place for SuperNikka today was enough for Robert Lacorte’s team to claim overall victory by a slender point from Lorina 1895.

Lacorte observed:  “This week we’ve always been close on corrected time to Lorina and on the water we were very close with Spectre in real time – it was a fun regatta”.

“I am happy because we discovered SuperNikka is fast after all the improvements we made this winter, but mainly because I enjoyed racing with the crew and they were are happy on board.” Lacorte is now looking forward to defending his title in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo in September, but before then has the 151 Miglia to sail as well as organise  – since starting it nine years ago it has become Italy’s largest offshore race. Currently it has 212 entries including 21 Maxis.

Some of the closest racing this week has been between the Mylius yachts competing here for their annual championship. A final win today for Ars Una was enough to hand Vittorio Biscarini’s Mylius 50 overall victory. But it was close - just one point ahead of Aldo Parisotto's 65 Oscar 3 and two in front of Vincenzo Addessi's Mylius 18E35 Fra Diavolo.

"It was a wonderful week, with exceptional race conditions and social events,” said Addessi. “Today we made a wrong decision, although we had a very good start. We should have had a better result, but we had an OCS on day two which affected our overall result.”

Rolex Capri Sailing Week was organised by the Circolo del Remo and Vela Italia, the Yacht Club Italiano and Yacht Club Capri, supported by the International Maxi Association.

The next International Maxi Association-supported event is the 151 Miglia, starting from Livorno on 31 May, rounding Giraglia rock and finishing in Punta Ala.

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