Roma GP42.2 leads Trofeo Cesar Manrique

Puerto Calero (practice race start). Trofeo Cesar Manrique 2008

The opening day of the 7th Trofeo Cesar Manrique was clearly a tough test for tactician, forcing them to show their best skills in wind spotting. Although wind speed varied from 10 to 15 knots the wide shifts resulted in unpredictably upsets, especially in the last race.

In the first race, it appeared it was Hamish Pepper, the famous kiwi sailor freshly embarked on Near Miss, to be able to read to perfection the wind patterns of Puerto Calero. The opening race of the 7th Trofeo Puerto Calero started right on time, with a nice but shifty breeze of 12 to 13 knots. Roma GP42.2 and Near Miss were both over the line early and had to recross. Nevertheless, this was not enough to stop the Swiss. Reading correctly the left shift that was about to come, Near Miss together with Bodegas Luis Alegre, opted for the left side of the course, a choice that obviously paid handsomely.

Near Miss never felt threatened and maintained their lead throughout the race. The real battle was between Bodegas Luis Alegre and Roma GP42.2, whose boat speed was a clear indicator the latest modifications worked out well. The two boats were neck and neck until the last run when the Spanish boat came to an abrupt end due to rudder problems. This gave the boat helmed by Italian match-race champion Paolo Cian to secure its second place while AIRIS finished third, after snapping a couple of places.

The second race was marked by the recovery of Roma GP42.2, the Italian boat owned by class president Filippo Faruffini and helmed by Paolo Cian. Despite a poor first half, the Italian boat showed great speed, especially upwind.

It appeared since the start it was going to be once again a battle between Near Miss and AIRIS, and so it was as the two boats rounded the marks neck and neck ahead of the fleet. Yet an excellent choice of going left during the second beat proved the key to victory for Roma GP42.2. They dominated the rest of the race, despite the continuous attacks by the other Italian yacht, AIRIS, where the kiwi Cameron Appleton was also had a great 'nose' for spotting the wind in Lanzarote. Third was Desafío that also showed consistency throughout the race. Unfortunately, another boat suffered a breakage; MADRID was unable to completely hoist the mainsail and had to continue racing with a big disadvantage.

The final race of the day was clearly marked by the biggest upsets. After the start, the fleet once again opted for the left side of the race course, an option that seemed to play beautifully, especially for Desafío. They lead from the start and managed to build a healthy advantage of over 200 meters from the rest of the fleet. Nevertheless, it’s not over till it’s over in the GP42 races. A huge shift in the last run turned the race upside down. Caser-Quum got it right on the spot and crossed the finish line in front of the fleet, followed by Canarias Puerto Calero and Near Miss.

Quotes of the Day

Pierluigi Fornelli, tactician on Roma GP42.2

'It was a tough day and we had to fight on waters off Lanzarote. There were a lot of wind shifts and weren’t always on the correct side. Surely, the modifications on the keel have paid out and we were very competitive upwind and even in the worst moments we were able to come back. Obviously, you needed good boat speed and crew work but also some luck, especially with the left shifts that were quite unexpected. The forecast for the next days calls for lighter winds and this was something we aimed at when we modified the keel.'

Hamish Peper, tactician on Near Miss
'It was an extremely tough day. At times the left paid, at times the right. It was very interesting and kept us on our toes. The key was never to give up and try to get the next shift correctly, keep it close when you can and play it safe by taking risks only when they looked good. I have already sailed with Tom and Bertrand in Team New Zealand but this is the first time we sail as a team and my first time on these boats. I’m still learning and I have to admit these are great boats.'

Juan Luis Páez, tactician on Caser Quum
'The entire day was marked by a struggle between a north and northeast wind and it was very tough calling tactics. In the first race we didn’t call it very well, in the second one we raced well but didn’t have luck but in the last one we had luck and sailed well. Today was a very complicated day, very tough for tacticians. Although the race course is nice and open you never knew what wind would prevail. Even if you can more or less guess, there are things you can’t control .

Cameron Appleton, tactician on AIRIS
'It was a very tricky day and very tough to commit to the right side and the one you thought would come out. I think overall I made many mistakes and we came out OK and can be very happy with the outcome today, considering our first race start. The boat is going well we just have to sail it well. There was no crucial moment in the day considering the clouds were moving back and forth, that was caused the breeze to move around. I like racing with this Italian team, I enjoy it. I’ve been with them before in Santa Margherita, they want to win, they are driven to win.'

Natalia Vía-Dufresne, helmswoman of Bodegas Luís Alegre-Basquexperience
'It’s a pity what happened, because we were doing very well. Manu Weiler was right on the spot with tactics, on the first beat we got the left shift that allowed us to be at the top of the fleet. The crew is aware we lack finetuning and the fact of being very close to Near Miss that was leading and neck and neck with Roma is a gratification for us. During the race we kept noticing that the rudder was having problems and after having passed Roma in the last run the helm was not responding. We tried to hoist the spinnaker in order to gybe but luckily enough Roma was already ahead. After the initial shock we feared we had lost the rudder and have water intake.'

GP42 - Trofeo Cesar Manrique
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