Two wins today around windward-leeward courses sees the Swedish flagged Svea unbeaten in the J Class so far at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda.
Solid, uncomplicated, well-timed starts were the foundations of Svea’s double today. With Swedish co-owner Niklas Zennström on the helm, Bouwe Bekking calling tactics and navigator Steve Hayles running the magic numbers, Svea was ahead at the first windward mark both times and could not be caught by her rivals.
Second places today were shared between Velsheda and Topaz whilst the consistent Ranger placed third twice. With the wind at 10-12 kts from the SE again, in the days first race Topaz had the best start in terms of time on distance and positioning but Svea, who were happy to start off the left end of the line, were able to outpoint and outpace Velsheda to lead around the first turn by four boat lengths.
Svea led Velsheda comfortably around the course, the leading two opening space on the chasing pair of Ranger and Topaz who were very close at the finish.
Svea finished one minute and 19 seconds ahead of Velsheda which took second place. On corrected time just three seconds separated Ranger from Topaz who were fourth.
And the second race was very much a repeat performance from the regatta leaders who again started closest to the pin, lining up at close to full pace and height and were once more able to outgun Velsheda who ended up squeezed between Svea and Topaz for much of the upwind. Both of their winning margins were more than one minute on corrected time.
Svea’s navigator Steve Hayles recalled, “The first race was a pretty pin biased line and we got the left and our speed was good. It is one of these things that when you win it feels simple and it did. Bouwe has such a good measure on really keeping it simple which in itself is harder than it looks but having said that yesterday we had a disastrous start because we left our normal pattern. We practice very hard like everyone else but the approach is super simple without giving up too much. The pin was strong and it opened up and off we went.”
He also revealed, “We did have a little issue on the first race with no electronics and so we scrabbled around between races getting things working, that had us a little on the back foot for the second start. And on the second start it really was close with Velsheda, there was a metre in it here and there. But we had the speed and that allows us to sail our modes. Then you can have people doing other things you want them to. For a while it is did look like Velsheda would hold us all the way to the layline. In the end we all slowed ourselves down a bit, so it feels just like normal, close racing. They are big boats, and we are new to it. The owners are having a good time and that is the main thing.”
After their headsail exploded pre-start yesterday Topaz had a decent day with a second in the second race, as helm Peter Holmberg smiled, “That was a tough old day. Two windward leewards on these J Class yachts is not easy.”
He added, “It was good to get that second. We have a good team, and I would say we did not do a good enough job executing in the first race, it starts with us at the back of the boat and if we are not clear then it is hard for the front of the boat have mercy on them. We did a better job in the second race with a good start. Nacho (navigator) and the bowman do a great job helping me put the boat where I want to go. I think everything is in our hands. When we all do our jobs at 100 per cent we do well, we cannot use the boat as an excuse it is all down to us. That is the beauty of the J Class is it puts a premium on the whole orchestra of 25 guys doing their job well. The start was very important and the traffic was a matter, so a little cross here and there and good laylines made the difference. But Svea sailed very well, they got the start they wanted and the boat has legs. They did the right thing today.”
Racing continues Wednesday with a return to coastal courses.
Race 2, corrected times
1 Svea 1:07:12
2 Velsheda 1:09:30
3 Ranger 1:10:09
4 Topaz 1:10:12
Race 3, corrected times
1 Svea 1:12:12
2 Topaz 1:13:46
3 Ranger 1:13:58
4 Velsheda 1:14:32