Barcolana 54: Wendy Schmidt is the first woman to win the Autumn Cup


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Not-too-strong Bora, over 1,600 boats on the starting line, and a winner uncertain to the last: the Barcolana 2022 was a party/race to be framed, and once again it was sailing and Trieste that won first and foremost. And then there is a historic first: at the helm of the winning boat, the American IRC 85 Deep Blue, was a woman, owner Wendy Schmidt. It had never yet happened in the history of the Autumn Cup that there was a coxswain on the boat that reaches the finish line first, and Barcolana 54 will be remembered for this as well.

Wendy Schmidt at the helm of Deep Blue
Wendy Schmidt at the helm of Deep Blue

Wendy Schmidt – The Challenge on the Water

ARCA sails upwind of Deep blue shortly after the start. Notice the different choice for sails.

Among the contenders for the final victory in the 10-15 knots of bora at the start best come off the line is Furio Benussi’s maxi 100 ARC Sgr and Wendy Schmidt ‘s IRC 85 Deep Blue. Different choices of sails between the two boats, with Deep Blue opting for a nylon gennaker, ARC going on an A Zero type sail on mainsail. The wind is gusty and shifts quickly from 1o to 20 knots, when it increases it favors ARCA’s sail configuration, when it drops Deep Blue’s. ARCA is in a position of theoretical control, and Benussi is ahead, since he is after the start upwind of his opponent with a chance to rest a few more degrees in the leeward edge toward the first buoy.

The strategy is the right one even though it becomes clear early on that Deep Blue is fast. Although forced to foil the mainsail because of the very large gennaker, Deep Blue’s men kept pace and limited the gap. The race is on the wire when the twist comes: ARCA breaks the whip attachment and is left with the sail flapping in the wind. Deep Blue gains from downwind until it overtakes its opponent with the ARCA crew rushing to hoist a jib while the A0 is spun in the water, later recovered by a support boat.

After overtaking Deep Blue manages to remain always upwind of its opponent, preventing ARCA from

The boats arrive glued to the first buoy but eventually Deep Blue from downwind manages to close the side distance and passes first. An attack by ARCA is expected to make the longer length count, but in the one-mile sleeper of the second side Benussi attacks his opponent mainly from downwind but fails to get through despite managing to find the engagement0 several times. In the third and fourth sides Deep Blue managed to maintain a few lengths lead always controlling the opponent in their own waste and closing all overtaking chances until the historic victory with 59 seconds left.

Barcolana 54 – Not only Wendy Schimdt- The Other Winners

All fans in these hours comb through the official rankings to find out in what position they crossed the finish line of this splendid Barcolana. There was no shortage of surprises, such as the Solaris 36 OD hat trick in Class III, with Mayflower, W Medeleine and Lore on the three steps of the podium. In class 4, on the other hand, there was a one-two punch by Ice 33, Mataran MK3 first, Black Arrow second.

Classifications aside this will be remembered as a historic Barcolana, with the first coxswain to win it and framing weather conditions that allowed the vast majority of the fleet to complete the course. As Mitja Gialuz, President of SV Barcola and Grignano stated, “The most beautiful
in history!Congratulations to Deep Blue and thanks to all the owners and crews who wanted to be there! See you in #barcolana55″



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