Surprise victory for Realteam at the Bay of Calvi
GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup
An unforced error caused victory to slip through the fingers of Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco on the final day of the GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup, leaving the Swiss Realteam to claim their second event win on the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour.
While summery conditions initially gave way to an overcast sky and rain, out on the Bay of Calvi it was the most stable day with 15-20 knot winds. This enabled one round of the Amonimo Speed Challenge and five races with reaching starts to be held.
In the Anonimo Speed Challenge, it was Jason Carroll’s Argo which made the fastest run today with an average speed of 21.21 knots for the two reaching legs and the gybe between.
“Finally!” exclaimed Argo helmsman Anthony Kotoun. “Yesterday we did a bad one, but today it was good. So yahoo!” As to why they won, Kotoun confided: “This was the first time we have successfully even got close to pulling off a foiling gybe at the mark. And we have won a watch! It’s great to have Anonimo as a sponsor of the Tour.”
Crews and spectators alike today were pleased the race committee was able to set up America’s Cup-style courses with reaching starts/finishes. As the wind piped up to 20 knot for the fourth race, the start became even more of a high-octane affair. Once again the Bay of Calvi’s fish farm formed an obstacle on the left side of the race track forcing boats that went this side to reach into the leeward gate at warp factor. On Argo they hit 36 knots.
Followed her Anonimo Speed Challenge victory, Argo was also firing on all cylinders initially in the fleet racing and posted two bullets in the first two races.
“We got back to our old rhythm and had good communication and good boat handling,” said Kotoun.
Unfortunately, in the third race there was a disaster for Pierre Casiraghi’s Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco as they rounded the weather mark. As Casiraghi explained: “I hit the mark and hooked the rudder and that’s about it…” The starboard rudder ripped off the transom, forcing the Monegasque to retire from the remaining races. “It was just bad driving,” Casiraghi continued.
“The guys did a great job this week. I am sorry for them because they sailed really well.” The regatta had been Malizia’s to lose, starting the final day with a 14 point lead.
With this, the stakes were raised and the two-way fight for second between Realteam and Argo became a battle for the lead. Initially this went Argo’s way, but Realteam winning races three and four, left the Swiss holding a tenuous one-point lead going into the final, deciding race.
“They were just one point behind us, so the boat that won would come out on top,” explained Swiss skipper Jérôme Clerc. “We made a good start and we were ahead at the first gybe, so then we just had to match them.” This they successfully managed, with Argo overhauling Sébastien Rogues’ Team Engie on the final beat to claim second. As a result Realteam, the team founded by Esteban Garcia, claimed the GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup by two slender points.
“We were checking where they were,” said Clerc. “We knew we had the chance to do some good races in the strong wind. In fact, we didn’t make great starts but we did manoeuvre well and the team did a good job. It is cool, a great fight with Argo. Now – we are now looking where we stand in the Championship.”
Going into the final event of the 2017 GC32 Racing Tour, Marseille One Design, Realteam holds a two-point lead over Argo.
On this occasion, it was Naofumi Kamei’s Mamma Aiuto! that claimed the GC32 Orezza Corsica Cup owner-driver prize. Incredibly there are now three teams – Argo, Mamma Aiuto! and Malizia – Yacht Club de Monaco all tied on points in the 2017 season Owner Driver Championship going into the last event of the season: Marseille One Design will take place over 12-15 October.
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