Blue sky, sunshine and breeze greeted the 40-strong fleet on the first day of racing
After the first days racing in Porto Cervo the leaders of the 40-strong fleet – divided into four divisions – are Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo (NZL) for the Racing division; Ernesto Bertarelli’s Numbers (USA) for the Mini Maxi division; John Williams’ Ranger (CAY.ISL) for the Cruising Division; and Magic Carpet II (FRA) for the Wally division. Four more days of racing are to follow.
Conditions at the start of race one were practically perfect with 12 – 15 knots of stable WNW wind. Combined with blue skies and sunshine it provided a spectacular show on the start line.
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Race Committee set a course of 30 nautical miles for the Cruising division which took them through the strait at Capo D’Orso and northwards to round the Barretinelli di Fuori islands before a long south-westerly stretch around the outside of the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago and back past Porto Cervo to the finish.
The Racing, Mini Maxi and Cruising divisions followed a similar course, which was lengthened further north to round the Ecueil de Lavezzi just off Corsica.
The Racing division provided few surprises with Alfa Romeo II leading Rambler Rambler (USA) around the course, with a 20 minute gap between the two at the finish. Crichton’s canting-keel supermaxi, which boasts Ben Ainslie as strategist, managed to hold her lead by just over one minute on corrected time.
Alfa Romeo III (NZL), pictured, launched last month and competing in her first ever regatta, also excelled in the Mini-Maxi Division taking real time victory just 14 seconds ahead of Numbers with Andy Soriano’s Alegre in third. On corrected time Alfa Romeo III, helmed by Torben Grael, moved back to fifth while Numbers took first ahead of the two competing STP65s – Moneypenny, with America’s Cup and Whitbread winner Paul Cayard aboard, and Rosebud/Team DYT, division winner of the Sydney Hobart 2007.
In the Cruising Division Arnie Glimcher’s Ghost (USA) crossed the line first ahead of Salperton but corrected back to eighth on handicap, while Ranger moved up to first ahead of Salperton with the J Class Velsheda in third.
For more information, and a full list of results, visit www.regattanews.com .