Since the Rolex Giraglia has been awarded to the IRC classification, which is since 2010, no Italian boat had ever won it. To go back to the last victory in the overall classification by an Italian, we have to go all the way back to 2008, when it was awarded to the largest grouping, in that case the ORC, and Marco Paolucci’s Comet 45 Tartaruga had won.
LISA R INTERRUPTS FRENCH DOMINANCE
From then until now only foreign victories, many French, with other Italian successes only in the ORC classification. For this reason, the success of Giovanni Di Vincenzo’s Ker 46 Lisa R is one of the most significant results of an Italian boat recorded in recent years, also because it occurred in an edition that was very difficult from a strategic point of view due to light winds.
Lisa R’s tactician Francesco Bertone told us: “It was a race with little wind but relatively fast and on course especially in the first part since we had already rounded the Giraglia by 8 a.m. on Thursday. The ascent to Genoa was really difficult and in very light conditions, even our boat moving well in little air rarely exceeded 6 knots of speed, a very very slow ascent.
Quite a stressful race, we were constantly under pressure, because these are situations where being 1 mile further to the right or further to the left can make the difference between starting and standing still, the details make the difference. But we shot well, we had a super crew, and I want to say that we also kind of needed to take some revenge after last year where we had done a big race but had finished fourth overall with some bitterness in our mouths. Again this year we sailed well“.
Well the Italians, super Resolute Salmon!
Behind Lisa R is another Italian, Adriano Calvini’s Itacentodue, third place for Gerard Logel’s Tp 52 Arobas 2. For the ORC standings, Nicolas Ibanez’s J-122 Anita won, second place for Ruiz Mones’ Dufour 40 Lady, third place for the legendary Resolute Salmon, Andrea Zaoli’s One Tonner (also winner in ORC 2 and winner of the Super Combined, in the largest group that participated in all races).
The story behind Resolute Salmon’s Giraglia victory is crazy: Andrea Zaoli, a week before the start of the Rolex Giraglia, found out that the Swan 45 on which he was to participate was still in the works. So, plan B starts. Pull out the family boat that was at rest, re-equip it, put the sails back in place. He succeeded in record time, less than a week, just in time for the Giraglia. Buoyed by the light breezes in which 1970s IOR boats are still competitive, Zaoli and his companions pulled off the feat.
The story of Resolute Salmon
If the name Resolute Salmon rings a bell, it will mean that you are a fan of IOR boats from the mythical period of the 1970s-80s. The Resolute’s recent history tells us of its restoration and return to the water on the initiative of Gina Zaoli, her sailmaker brother Beppe and his sons, co-owner Valter Pizzoli and a group of friends, but let’s rewind the tape to tell you about its winning from the beginning.
In the 1970s-80s, actually long before that, they ran a regatta called the One Ton Cup, which in the level class period was among the busiest events, a true world championship dedicated to the 11-meter bracket (then the size grew from the mid-1980s). By the second half of the 1970s the names of Bruce Farr, Doug Peterson, and Olin Stephens were on the rise, but they were not the only brilliant performers of that very prolific period.
An innovative designer was also Britton Chance Jr, later a major player in the America’s Cup, who at the 1976 One Ton Cup in Marseilles presented, under an American flag for an Italian owner, a revolutionary boat-it was indeed Resolute Salmon. The special feature was that it had a retractable drift, which was raised at carrying gaits. An unusual configuration: the less ballast that could be applied to the appendage was compensated for by lead slabs on the interior floor and with a very heavy engine in a central position to lower the center of gravity.
Overall, the boat, built in strip planking (a special construction that combined wood, often Red Cedar from Lebanon, with epoxy resin) was heavier than some Farr designs, but had less hydrodynamic resistance that made it extremely fast in light breezes or wave conditions and not too much wind, although unstable and difficult to steer in strong winds. Dominating in the little wind and defending itself in the trials with strong breeze, the Resolute Salmon won the 1976 One Ton Cup but also due to later rule changes quickly went out of fashion, did not defend the title in ’77, and disappeared from the radar of international regattas for a while.
In the 2000s the boat was in the possession of an Italian owner, who continued to race her at IOR rallies, but recent history sees her “parked” outdoors at a boatyard near Trieste. Two great IOR boat enthusiasts like Gina and Beppe Zaoli have been following its trail for the past few years and bought it with Valter Pizzoli. Gina Zaoli is in charge of its restoration, to bring it back to life and, of course, to race it again in circuits dedicated to classic boats and beyond. In 2016 Resolute Salmon, polished and with its original moving drift, returned to the water still showing its prowess.
So a certainly successful edition for Italian sailing goes into the archives, crowning one of the crews, that of Lisa R, which in recent years, starting with X-41 racing, has been more dedicated to offshore sailing in a focused way and with meticulous preparation. You don’t win regattas like the Giraglia by accident, so congratulations to the Lisa Boys and good luck in the upcoming engagements.
VICTORY IN REAL TIME
In real time we report the victory of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ Magic Carpet 3, which mocked the 100-foot ARCA in the final miles after a duel that lasted the entire race. In fact, the two had lapped the Giraglia only 9 seconds apart.
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