Powerplay and Paprec Fail To Win Coastal.
Coastal courses winding through the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago combined with patchy breeze to put both the Soto 40 and the 52s to the test today during the penultimate day's racing in the Audi Sardinia Cup 2012.
The provisional overall team classification has Team USA, composed of the TP52 Quantum Racing and the Soto 40 Iberdrola, retaining their lead over second-placed Italy represented by Audi Azzurra Sailing Team (TP52) - which claimed an important win today - and Alegre (Soto 40). Great Britain, represented by the TP52 Gladiator and the Soto 40 Ngoni sit in third place.
Today's race, the sixth in the series, had a coefficient of 1.5 and was raced in easterly breezes of 6 to 8 knots. Racing will conclude tomorrow with a maximum of three windward-leeward races to be held and all to play for in both the team and individual class results.
The six participating 52s completed a 27-mile course which saw them pass through the strait between Capo Ferro and Isole delle Bisce island, head along the coast past the islands of Caprera, Santo Stefano and La Maddalena and round Spargi island to starboard. From here the fleet headed back down the channel between Sardinia and the islands, known to sailors the world over as Bomb Alley, to the finish off the Gulf of Pevero.
Azzurra got a good start and a fearsome battle ensued between the Italian boat and rivals Quantum Racing for first place as they headed on a long reach towards Spargi. Both were then forced to watch the rest of the fleet sail around them when they became stuck in a windless hole.
France's Paprec Recyclage took the lead at this point but were disqualified for failing to respect the set course when they sailed a forbidden passage between Spargi and Spargiotto.
Powerplay therefore headed the remainder of the fleet until she too hit a hole about 50 metres from the finish whereupon first Azzurra, then Gladiator and Quantum all sailed by her. This was the heart breaking moment of the day, even the fat lady was songless for a moment.
Good news is that the IRC52s, so reconfigured TP52s dating from 2007 and 2008, showed to be 100% competitive with the new generation TPs over the mix of windangles that the coastal presented.
Audi Azzurra Sailing Team now sits at the top of the TP52 classification - valid for the 52 Super Series circuit - just one point ahead of Quantum.
Vasco Vascotto, strategist aboard Audi Azzurra Sailing Team: "You build the result brick by brick, even when the situation seems impossible, like what happened to us today when we were leading from the start and then fell into a windless hole together with Quantum who we were battling with."