Team Holmatro win precursor race to famed Centomiglia on Lake Garda 5/9/06

The Volvo Extreme 40 class made its Italian debut this weekend when Team Holmatro raced on Lake Garda. Helmed by Tornado Olympian Andreas Hagara, Holmatro won the multihull division and took line honours in the Trofeo Riccardo Gorla, a race that marks the week-long events that lead into the famed Centomiglia (100-mile) Race.

The Trofeo Riccardo Gorla is a 50-mile (Mezzocento) race up and down Lake Garda and for the first time in its 40 year history the mulithulls were welcomed alongside the monohulls.

Hagara’s crew included Italian sailing legend Giovanni Soldini who is usually found onboard larger 60ft multihulls. Soldini has a wealth of experience with an impressive sailing profile that includes winning both the Atlantic Alone and the Around Alone. Also racing onboard was Ullman sails Italy’s Pablo Soldano, fellow Italian and experienced multihull sailor Alberto Sonino and Gerd Habschli.

Team Holmatro didn’t get off to the best of starts after getting tangled up with three of the Libera (open monohull) class boats, but after 30 minutes into the race, they had managed to establish a comfortable lead.

As the wind picked up from 5 to 10 knots, the 40ft catamaran managed to take advantage of the increasing breeze and established a good margin over the fleet. As they approached the top mark, 400 metres from Torbole in the north of the lake, the wind shut down and for 30 minutes Team Holmatro could only watch as the fleet started to eat away at the lead that they had built.

The thermal breeze that Lake Garda is famed for failed to materialise and Team Holmatro just managed to stay in the best of the dying breeze to cross the finish line in first place, 20 minutes in front of the first Libera class boat.

Next weekend, 9 September, will see over 300 boats compete in the 56th edition of the Centomiglia Race. For the first time in the history of the race, multihulls have been invited to compete and will be racing in the Multicento class which will comprise of a variety of multihulls including the Formula 20 built by the Swede Goran Mastrom.

As in the classic tradition, the competitors will sail a total of 100 miles up and down the Lake Garda, starting and finishing at Bogliaco and racing around buoys at Riva-Torbole and Desenzano. The Count Alessandro Bettoni Trophy and the President’s Cup will be awarded to the first place winner on the longest route.

The Centomiglia is a chance to show off some extreme designs due to the open class rules and Team Holmatro should feel right at home. The team will not only be showcasing the Volvo Extreme 40 on the Italian Lake, they will also be hoping for a repeat performance from the Trofeo Riccardo Gorla.