Day one of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week was a maxi-only affair on the Bay of Naples, with the weather mark positioned close to the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula. Racing took place in near ideal conditions with the breeze predominantly from the southeast and exceeding the forecast with gusts of 15 knots.
Organised by the Circolo del Remo and Vela Italia, the Yacht Club Italiano and Yacht Club Capri, this year in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, Rolex Capri Sailing Week has grown to become one of the most significant regattas not just in Italy, but in the Mediterranean.
In the Maxi Racing class, Dario Ferrari’s Pepe Cannonball dominated, comfortably winning on IRC corrected time by more than a minute in both of today’s windward-leeward races.
“Everything went alright and when that happens it looks very easy,” explained Pepe Cannonball tactician Tommaso Chieffi. “We capitalised on good starts, especially the first one. The second was down to good execution – starting at the pin, then we tacked and crossed ahead of everyone because of a big left shift. The boat is quick and Dario [Ferrari] did a great job of driving the boat upwind and downwind and the crew work was flawless.”
Alex Schaerer’s Caol Ila R posted two seconds while Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou and American Bryon Ehrhart's Lucky both scored a third and a fourth. On board Jethou the crew are getting used to their freshly turboed weapon while this is the first event for the Lucky crew aboard the Maxi 72 that was previously Hap Fauth’s Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship winner, Bella Mente.
Lucky was a little enthusiastic and was over the start line early in race one. “We got ourselves under control a bit and then got back in the second race with a more sound approach and a lot of fun racing with the other Maxi 72s,” recounted Ehrhart, who is completing many of the events in the International Maxi Association’s Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge this summer. “Today the wind was stronger and from a different direction than forecast – but we are not complaining,” concluded Ehrhart, who has graduated up the present Lucky from a Reichel-Pugh 63 of the same name.
In the Maxi Racer-Cruiser class Roberto Lacorte and the crew of his Vismara 62 SuperNikka scored a double bullet - by more than a minute on IRC corrected time from Peter Dubens’ Spectre in race one and by just 26 seconds to Jean Pierre Barjon's Swan 601 Lorina 1895 in the second race.
“It was tricky because the wind was shifting a lot, especially in the second race, but conditions were good and we found the boat was very fast with the upgrades we made this winter,” said Lacorte. “The boat has a good feeling - it was easy to manage and fast to reach target boat speeds. Today was a good start and I hope it bodes well for the future.”
Roberto Lacorte's Maxi Racer Cruiser double winner SuperNikka. Photo: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi
There was a pause between races today as a giant rain cloud passed to the west of the race course causing the wind to shift hard right towards the end of the first race.
“We had really good racing today with SuperNikka,” said Nick Rogers, tactician on Spectre. “We are a little higher and faster upwind and they are faster downwind. We are lighter, but shorter on the bowsprit.”
While the Maxi classes were competing together, starting a few minutes later were the fleet from Piacenza -based manufacturer Mylius Yachts, competing for their own Championship at Rolex Capri Sailing Week. Today’s two races for these had two different winner with Vittorio Biscarini’s Mylius 50 Ars Una, the 2016 Italian ORC Champion and the Mylius 60 Fra Diavolo of Vincenzo Addessi, President of the Yacht Club Gaeta.
Trimmer and sailmaker for Fra Diavolo, Francesco De Vita described their day: “There were a lot of shifts - the first race which we won was quite nice, but the second was more tricky because there was a shift on the left of the course, but this is Capri and that is normal. It was very enjoyable.”
The consensus is that tomorrow there will be less wind on the Bay of Naples and this may allow other boats to prevail.