Desafío crowned winner of Trofeo Pirelli after an excruciatingly testing last day
Santa Margherita Ligure, 4 May 2008: Desafío, the Spanish GP42 team, was crowned winner of the Trofeo Pirelli, opening event of the Quebramar GP42 Cup 2008, after yet another excruciatingly light and testing day on the waters of Santa Margherita Ligure. Just three boats managed to finish the fourth and closing race of the event.
For the third consecutive day, Eolo, the Italian god of wind, was in a bad mood and put the 8 GP42 crews to test. Despite a breeze a barely 3 knots the race committee fired the starting gun just 15 minutes after the scheduled time. Seven of the eight yachts, as it has been the case throughout the event, rushed immediately to the right side of the course, as close as possible to the coast, in search of the slightest puff of wind.
Desafío, with Santiago López-Vazquez calling tactics, having come to a virtual stop at the starting line, opted for the left and got off almost 1:30 behind the leader. Nevertheless, the tactical decision paid handsomely for the Spanish who managed to work their way up to the top after watching their competitors struggle a few meters from Portofino’s rocks.
Desafío, winner of the Trofeo Pirelli. Photo copyright Carlo Borlenghi
The green boat rounded the top mark ahead and despite the close attacks by Paolo Cian’s Roma GP 42.2, the held on to their lead, crossing the finish line with a comfortable advantage, ahead of Roma GP 42.2 and Near Miss, helmed by Bertrand Pacé.
In the meantime the breeze had completely died down and the remaining 5 boats were unable to finish on time.
In addition to the difficulty in understanding the wind, tacticians and helmsmen had to be very careful and attentive to the rest of the 130-strong fleet that was sailing very close, crowding the area around the buoys.
The closing race didn’t change much the series results, with Desafio distancing their competitors by a full 12 points, while Canarias Puerto Calero and AIRIS, closed in with a mere point distance from each other, the latter overcoming Near Miss and getting to the podium thanks to two second places in the previous races.
The GP42 fleet will now head to the French city of St. Tropez for the second leg of the Quebramar Cup 2008 circuit.
Provisional final standings after 4 races
1. Desafío, 6 points, (3+1+1+1)
2. Canarias Puerto Calero, 18 points, (2+3+4+9)
3. AIRIS, 19 points, (6+2+2+9)
4. Near Miss, 19 points, (4+9+3+3)
5. Madrid, 20 points, (1+4+6+9)
6. Roma GP 42.2, 21 points, (5+9+5+2)
7. Seawonder 007, 28 points, (7+5+7+9)
8. Roma GP 42.1, 31 points, (8+6+8+9)
Start of the second race of Trofeo Pirelli. Photo copyright Stefano Gattini
Laureno Wizner – Desafio helmsman: "We are obviously very happy with the result. It was not easy to race, but the crew is experienced and have sailed together for a long time. It’s always good to win but it’s even more special to do it at the first event and with an almost clean score, with three wins.
The boat is now leaving for Valencia where we will have presentation to the media, and than we will head to St Tropez. Hopefully the conditions will be different there."
Alicia Ageno – Canarias Puerto Calero navigator: "It was very difficult to race with such light winds and continuous shifts. I believe today the Race Committee shouldn’t have given us the start. The venue is very attractive, but it’s hard to sail in a big fleet, you have to keep your eyes wide open to avoid the big and the little boats coming from everywhere, it’s different than having your own race. Today luck was a factor too. We are satisfied with our boat’s performance; obviously she’s tested from last season. Yet the new designs are fast, they lack some tuning but I guess they will get better and better, and the circuit more interesting with every new event. It’s fun to sail in this class."
Roberto Monti – AIRIS owner: "Finishing third in the first event, after only a few hours’ practice, and having launched the boat no more than two weeks ago is a huge achievement. I must thank both the designer and the shipyard staff who did a fantastic job. The whole project started just 9 months ago. I consider this as a starting point, of course, we still have much to do as far as sails and speed testing is concerned. I congratulate my crew, they sailed great."