Marco Birch's Talisman wins the Rolex IMS worlds' offshore race and non corinthian division

The US entry, Marco Birch’s Talisman (Terry Hutchinson, helmsman), crossed the finish line of the Rolex IMS Worlds offshore race at 1100pm (local time) on Tuesday, and their win overall and in the non-Corinthian division of the regatta was confirmed when the last of the 66-boat fleet straggled in during the pre-dawn hours yesterday. Italtel – Meridiana with Vasco Vascotto at the helm (Owner Antonio Orlandi) was second. Third position went to Stefano Spangaro’s X-Prozac, with Gabriele Benussi at the helm. Fourth place Luciano Gandini’s Twin Soul 4 also had a good race, with Paolo Cian as skipper.

At the race start, the wind was 8-10kts from the north-east, but as the fleet headed up the first beat, the breeze dropped. For the frontrunners, the westerly sea breeze filled in late in the afternoon at up to 20kts, though by the last leg to the finish, it was dying yet again. For the smaller boats in the fleet, the breeze was elusive, and at times they were completely becalmed.

In the Corinthian division (boats with only one professional crew member), three Italian boats are in the lead. First, second and third are: Francesco Martino’s Tsunami (Alberto Bolzan, skipper) topping the list, followed by Cherokee (Matteo Savelli, skipper), and Naos (Pietro Fiammenghi, skipper).

Tsunami is a Canard 41′ MKII-designed by Massimo Paperini’s Duck Design Studio, and built in Italy, as was the Canard 42 R Sky, which is also racing in this year IMS worlds.

For Talisman, the boat was in the right place at the right time, though helmsman Terry Hutchinson said: “We were lucky in some ways, but Peter (Isler, navigator) and Adrian (Stead, tactician) did an awesome job keeping us in the pressure. The red boat (X-Prozac) is pretty fast, but we stretched on them all the time.”

Talisman was launched just last month and the crew had trained for only four hours prior to the start of the regatta.

The Rolex IMS Offshore World Championship 2004 is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, in collaboration with the Yacht Club Capri. Rolex has been sponsoring this event since its first race, in 1999.