July 13 – The Italian Absolute Offshore Sailing Championship, reserved for ORC-stabilized boats, closed with two technical and hard-fought races. There were not a lot of boats (37 hulls at the start), but they were all “racing” boats. I participated aboard a First 34.7 (not yet optimized for ORC racing), and although the boat was fast I can assure you that keeping up with 5-6 boats in real time was a really tough task! Kudos go to the Regatta Committee, always “on the ball.” His decisions, including cancellations, route changes, reductions, departure times, were always spot on.
Yesterday, the 37 participating boats, sailed two races in medium wind conditions (between 8 and 12 knots the intensity, with peaks up to 16, 180° the direction) and calm sea, which were decisive for the awarding of the Italian titles. In the end, the A class ran 6 races, the B class 5: beautiful and intense races at the conclusion of a championship that brought together in Marina di Loano, the event’s logistical base, more than 300 sailors.
After this series of races, the Italian offshore titles were then awarded to theArya 415 Duvetica White Goose of owner Sergio Quirino Valente (helmsman Alessandro Marega and tactician Paolo Pinelli) in Class 1-2, at the T-34 Angry Red Unitenergy of Domenico Cicala (Carlo Varelli at the helm and Guglielmo Giordano at the tactician) in Class 3 and the Dufour 34 Baciottinho by Giuseppe Tadini (helmsman Ermanno Zoboli and tactician Giovanni Alberto Tadini) in Class 4.
To GLS Stella and Scugnizza went the prizes for owner-helmsman in Groups A and B, while Duvetica White Goose and Angry Red Unitenergy won the coveted Trofeo dei Tre Mari, cups put up for grabs by the Italian Offshore Sailing Union for boats qualified for the Italian by the appropriate national selections.
Saturday, July 12 – Second actual day of racing (no racing yesterday due to lack of wind) in Loano at the Italian Absolute Offshore Sailing Championship. Today a 170-180-degree breeze, with intensities never exceeding 9 knots, allowed two trials for Class A and one for Category B to take place (due to the wind drop that caused today’s second trial to be interrupted. Thirty-seven boats, all of them fierce: on the docks of the Marina di Loano, work has been going on since early morning to figure out the right adjustments.
And there are cases of “espionage”: which make one smile (even for their being clumsy), compared to the serious acts of sabotage that occurred recently at the European ORC in Valencia. “I didn’t want to believe it,” a friend embarked on an X-35 tells me, “but I came in from the boat this morning and there was a gentleman (unrelated to the crew) nonchalantly measuring the tension in our rigging with the special tensiometer, hunting for some possible secret of ours. I told him that we had nothing to hide, and that if he wanted I would provide him with the measurements.”
In Group A, double victory for Sergio Quirino Valente’s reigning Italian Champion Duvetica White Goose, the Arya 415 with Alessandro Marega at the helm and Paolo Pinelli as tactician, which, by winning both of the day’s races, consolidated its first position in the provisional overall standings. Second is the Sydney 46 GLS Stella of Stefano Fava and Beppe Cavalieri and third is the MC 46 Paul & Shark Seawonder of Vittorio Urbinati.
In Group B, which managed to complete only one race of the day, affirmation for Peppe Fornich’s Grand Soleil 37 Sagola Biotrading, which thanks to this success climbed up to fifth position in the overall ranking. Ranking which, after a total of three races, has Domenico Cicala’s T-34 Angry Red Unitenergy (Carlo Varelli at the helm and Guglielmo Giordano as tactician) as the leader, followed by reigning World Champion Scugnizza, Enzo De Blasio’s NM 38, and Francesco Sodini’s M 37 Coconut.
Friday, July 11 – Two fine opening races at the 2014 Italian Absolute Offshore Sailing Championship in Loano, Italy, reserved for boats with ORC International tonnage: A 200° wind with an intensity of 10-12, calm sea and sunshine, which only in the afternoon gave way to some clouds, formed the “theater” in which the 37 crews entered the event organized by the YC Marina di Loano competed.
THE PROVISIONAL RANKINGS
Immediately the “emblazoned” boats took the lead in the A and B group rankings: in class A overall the Ara 415 Duvetica White Goose of Sergio Quirino Valente (CNMV Giulianova), with Alessandro Marega at the helm and Paolo Pinelli at the tactician’s, has placed two firsts and leads by five points over MC Seawonder, Vittorio Urbinati’s MC46 (YC Sanremo), which recorded partials of 4-3. On the third step of the provisional podium is Andrea Pietrolucci’s (CV Fiumicino) Mylius 14E55 Milù.
In Class B, Domenico Cicala’s fast T-34 Angry Red Unitenergy (RYCC Savoia), with Carlo Varelli at the helm and Guglielmo Giordano as tactician, leads the standings thanks to a second and a first place. Behind him was Vincenzo De Blasio’s (CC Napoli) NM38 two-time ORC World Champion Scugnizza, with Daniele De Tullio as tactician, which won the first race while having to “settle” for fourth place in the second. In third place was Kryos, Grand Soleil 37 owned by Giancarlo Campera (LNI Viareggio).
This will not be an Italian Absolute Offshore Sailing Championship with large numbers, but the quantity (37 boats at the start) is made up for by the level of the competing hulls and sailors involved. Just to name a few names who will compete in Loano (Savona) from today until Sunday 13, hosted by the local Marina: Tiziano Nava, Giuli Romanengo, Francesco Cruciani, Flavio Grassi, Daniele De Tullio, Francesco Cruciani, Giuseppe Tesorone, Alberto Grippo, Lars Borgstrom, Alberto Leghissa, Giuseppe Leonardi, Roberto Pardini and Albino Fravezzi.
EYES ON THE TWO-TIME WORLD CHAMPION
The boats will be divided into ORC A and B categories: eyes are on Enzo De Blasio’s NM38 Scugnizza, which won its second consecutive ORC World Championship last year in Ancona (in 2012 it won the world title in Finland). De Blasio, 65, is not only a good helmsman, but has proven himself capable of building a close-knit crew over the years and optimizing the boat, working closely with designers, sailmakers and riggers. But it is not the only vessel to watch out for: meanwhile, there’s also another NM38, Pino Stillitano’s Nautilus Aktiv, then Francesco Sodini’s M37 Coconut (the sister boat of Giuseppe Giuffré’s Low Noise, recent ORC European champion), Vittorio Urbinati’s MC46 Seawonder, Sergio Valente’s fast Arya 415 Duvetica White Goose and many others.
MAKE WAY FOR “PROVEN” BOATS
So many boats that we are used to seeing in the upper reaches of the rankings in the most important regattas around the Boot, all “proven”: in fact, it is no coincidence that the most recent hulls that will take part in the event are Michele Buzzi’s two XP 33 Controcorrente and Michele Rayneri’s X Blue One, launched in 2012. This is because in the world of ORC racing you have to be patient and take care of boat optimization if you want to get results. The title of “grandfather” of the Italian Offshore Championship, however, goes to Luciano Sanna’s Farr 31 Adrenalina, dating back to 1979 but still able to compete at high levels.
(cover photo by Max Ranchi)