Capo d’Orlando fills with sails for the last VELA Cup of the year

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How we wish summer would never end and go boating all year round. We promised you, and we did. On Saturday, October 7 at the VELA Cup Sicilia, the last leg of the most fun racing circuit ever, Capo d’Orlando gave us a sunny day that felt like summer. 40 crews, aboard boats of all ages, shapes and sizes, propelled by a sea breeze of about 6 knots, battled along an 8-mile coastal race. A true celebration of sailing, organized with the support of Spartivento Yachts & Charters at Capo d’Orlando Marina and the collaboration of the Yacht Club Capo d’Orlando, which closed the regatta season organized by the Journal of Sailing in a big way.

All the stages of the VELA Cup 2023

The protagonists of the VELA Cup Sicily

On the morning of Saturday, October 7, a festive atmosphere filled the docks of Capo d’Orlando Marina. The genuine and relaxed spirit of the VELA Cup reigned supreme, with boats of all kinds and crews of the most diverse variety coming from all over Italy to enjoy this last weekend of vacation with us.

Silver Bullet, Mario Badami's 1987 Grand Soleil 343.
Silver Bullet, Mario Badami’s 1987 Grand Soleil 343.

Among them on the starting line of the VELA Cup Sicilia were friends from the Sant’Agata di Militello Naval League aboard Lion, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.2, who had also participated in the La Maddalena leg last June. Showing off among the Classic Boat, Roman Off, Roberto Romano’s Beneteau First 38 s5, a 1994 fast cruiser whose interior was designed by archistar Philippe Starck, Silver Bullet, the splendid 1987 Grand Soleil 343 by Mario Badami, successor to the successful Grand Soleil 34, L’or du Temps, the Lipari LNI school boat, a 1982 Beneteau First 30 , Elsewhere, a 1994 Barberis Show 325 , Altair, Manlio Marino’s 1983 Barberis Show 38, and Albablu, Renato Irrera’s 1990 Swan 53.

What a spectacle at the VELA Cup in Capo d’Orlando

Registration finalization completed, with the last crews arriving in the morning, at the pre-race briefing the committee decided to postpone the start by one hour while waiting for the wind to stabilize. So, having cast off the moorings and gone out to sea, the VELA Cup Sicilia kicked off at 12 noon sharp.

A united and compact fleet crossed the starting line propelled by a north wind of about 6 knots. Spectacular is the race course, a triangle within the gulf that San Gregorio-bagnoli stretches across the entire east coast of Capo d’Orlando to the promontory of Capo Calavà. Comanche Sagola by Spartivento, Peppe Fornich’s Farr 45, and Maria X Cento, Salvatore Nocera’s X-35, battled it out from the start in a match race that lasted all the way upwind. Having turned the buoy and fired the gennaker, Comanche’s larger sail area made all the difference, and the gap between the two became increasingly pronounced. While behind the fleet proceeded, each at their own pace, the front runners finished the course in about 1 1/2 hours.

Leduelune, Fulvio Russo's Dufour 44P
Leduelune, Fulvio Russo’s Dufour 44P

Crossing the finish line first was Comanche Sagola by Spartivento, Peppe Fornich’s Farr 45 in 1 hour 21 minutes and 23 seconds. Behind her is Joy, Giuseppe Cascino’s J122, and in third place in real Maria X Cento, Salvatore Nocera’s X-35.

Comanche Sagola by Spartivento, Peppe Fornich's Farr 45, is first in real
Comanche Sagola by Spartivento, Peppe Fornich’s Farr 45, is first in real

All the winners, the best is yet to come

But these are only the first ones in real time, all rankings and winners will be revealed this evening at the awards ceremony in Capo d’Orlando Marina (and later posted on our website). In addition to class prizes, prizes will be awarded to the top Classic Boat (at least 25 years old) in each homogeneous grouping by length and the most beautiful and elegant boat. In addition, the numerous raffle prizes offered by our partners Garmin, Veneziani, Leatherman, Plastimo, HiNelson and YachtingBond will be awarded during the evening.

Photos by John Mitolo

James Barbaro

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