Five bullet day for Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco
5 bullet day for Malizia – Photos © Jesus Renedo / GC32 Racing Tour
GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup at Calvi
The silver flash, that is the GC32 foiling catamaran Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco, put in an extraordinary performance, posting a perfect scoreline on day two of the GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup on the Bay of Calvi, despite ultra-tricky conditions.
While the forecast indicated strong wind and big seas, more marginal than on day one, a smart call by the race management team in getting the boats racing three and a half hours earlier than scheduled, paid off. This enabled five windward-leeward races to be sailed, without yesterday’s big swell, but in winds that ranged from 10-25 knots, at times with significant shifts. It was a day when making calls about the correct side was as vital as crew work, adapting sail choice to wind strength.
Former America’s Cup skipper Sebastien Col, who helmed Pierre Casiraghi’s Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco today and yesterday, said: “I think in the first two races we sailed well, better than the rest of the fleet, and probably getting a bit of luck with a few shifts – but you needed that to win races, because the wind was so shifty. Then by the third race, our confidence had built. Everything was working very well on board.” Calling tactics on board has been young British former Olympic and Figaro sailor, Richard Mason.
To score five wins from five races was exceptional, especially as the Monaco crew did not have it all their own way. The first race, for example, belonged to Naofumi Kamei’s Mamma Aiuto! until the Japanese team fell into a hole in the middle of the race course on the final run, enabling Malizia to blaze into the lead and take the gun. In the breezy third race Mamma Aiuto! again had the bit between her teeth, finishing close behind Malizia, but again not taking the bullet.
In today’s fourth race, it was the turn of Simon Delzoppo’s new team, .film Racing, to enjoy her share of the limelight briefly. She was well ahead at the first top mark and down the run but was forced into a gybe at the leeward gate by Malizia, for which her crew, that includes 2015 GC32 Racing Tour winner Leigh McMillan, was unprepared. The Australian GC32 looked certain to capsize, but a miracle caused them to come back from the brink.
“We all managed to hang on pretty well,” said Delzoppo. “I was steering with my feet up in the air, but I steered all the way through, and then we managed to dump the main and did a bear away. It was pretty exciting.”
This incident was equally exciting for Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco as they were trying to roll around the Aussie team at the gate mark. As Sébastien Col explained: “Initially I thought they were going to capsize on top of us so I went inside them. But then they didn’t capsize!” So [risking that Malizia’s weather hull would land on top of them] I said ‘we have to go fast here!’ It was a tricky moment.”
While Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco has disappeared into the top spot of the leaderboard on 11 points, behind, it is very close with Jason Carroll’s Argo in second and just six points separating second from fourth place.
Morgan Larson, who sailed Alinghi to second place on the GC32 Racing Tour in 2015, is back crewing on board Argo here in Calvi.
“There were a couple of hair-raising moments, but it was a good day. The guys did a good job, making up with my deficit in boat handling. The boat really requires good skills throughout the whole team, because when you do little things wrong it looks really bad. We had a small problem with the sail unfurling in a puff upwind by accident. It feels like you’re making mistakes all day long and giving up points, but the reality is everybody is. It’s very competitive sailing, great to be back.”
Tomorrow conditions are forecast to be more regular in the afternoon when 15-18 knots are forecast. The aim is to return to the schedule with a first warning signal at 1230 for two rounds of the Anonimo Speed Challenge followed by racing with reaching starts.
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