Mascalzone Latino finishes fifth overall in IRC and second in the IRC Div 0 at the 73rd Rolex Sydney Hobart

Thursday, 28 December 2017



Hobart (AUS), 28 December 2017

 

Mascalzone Latino’s adventure in the 73rd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart ended at 10.05 local time (00.05 in Italy) on December 28.

The 2017 edition saw a new record time with two of the four “giants” in a close fight for Line Honours: the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI and LDV Comanche owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, with on board the talented Australian champion James Spithill. LDV Comanche led for most of the 628 mile course, but making her way up the River Derwent to the finish in Hobart was forced to give up her lead and overall victory in real time to Wild Oats XI, in the past a nine times winner of this incredible and fascinating event. But the winner on the water was under protest for a suspect crossover between the two immediately after the start, when Wild Oats XI tacked too close to Comanche, forcing her to change course.


Today, shortly after 6 PM local time (8 AM in Italy) the Jury issued its verdict: a one-hour time penalty for Wild Oats XI for the infraction automatically put Line Honours in the 73rd edition of the race in the hands of LDV Comanche and awarded her the new record time of one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

Mascalzone Latino, the Cookson 50 owned by Vincenzo Onorato, finished her Rolex Sydney Hobart in 11th place in real time, finishing the 628 mile course in one day, 21 hours, five minutes and 32 seconds. In the overall IRC ranking the Italian team was fifth; in the IRC Division “0” was ranked second and in ORCi overall came third. Overall victory in the IRC went deservedly to a 52 footer, very similar to an IRC 52, designed by Marcelino Botin, Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban.
The performance of Mascalzone Latino, a leading player of the 2017 blue water sailing season with victory in the ORC Worlds in Trieste in July and in the Volvo Hong Kong Vietnam at the end of October, was definitely positive. Vincenzo Onorato, who was not present for family reasons, put together a team of champions with great experience who showed, even in the most complex situations, they could handle the pressure and stay focused on their objective.
Racing on Mascalzone Latino, which also on this occasion sailed under the colours of the Yacht Club Monaco, were: Skipper Matteo Savelli, Adrian Stead, Lorenzo Bressani and Flavio Favini in the afterguard, Ian Moore as navigator, main trimmer Leonardo Chiarugi, trimmers Stefano Ciampalini, Gaetano Figlia di Granara and Timothy Burnell, with Justin Clougher and Alberto Fantini in the bow.

There was vital support from the shore team, which had spent a month working non-stop to get the boat ready after the Asian regatta last October and deliver her to the crew in perfect condition. On the team were Daniele Fiaschi, Murray Spence and Davide Scarpa. The sails programme was assisted as ever by Marco Savelli.

I’m really proud of the guys’ performance,” said owner Vincenzo Onorato in a night-time telephone call from Italy right after the finish. “I followed closely all the various phases of the race and received some wonderful photographs that underlined my regret at not being able to take part in what is probably the most famous blue water race in the world. But I am proud of what my crew managed to do. I’ve no doubt that they gave 1000%, they are a fantastic generation of sailors. Apart from this, races are like that: sometimes it goes well and sometimes less well, but complaining about an overall fifth place that some crews have been chasing for decades without succeeding, would not be very objective. However Mascalzone Latino’s participation in the Rolex Sydney Hobart is not something I see as sporadic.

You could say we didn’t have a good first part of the race, we didn’t sail well; the first day was not one of the easiest,” was Matteo Savelli’s first comment on his arrival at the quayside in Hobart. “But the second day and tonight we pushed really hard: it wasn’t easy to find the best course for Hobart. Anyway it was a fantastic race, with an exceptional crew that reacted fast to things as they happened. Our crew is a special mix: we have fantastic professionals like Adrian Stead, Ian Moore and Jaggy Clougher (born in Hobart), but most of us are Italian and, starting from Lorenzo Bressani, Flavio Favini and Alberto Fantini, to name just some, it really was the pick of Italian yachtsmen. For our part we haven’t often met these conditions in the Mediterranean, but to tell the truth two months ago, in the Volvo Hong Kong to Vietnam (which we one) we had 25-30 kn of wind behind us: not quite as strong as here in Australia, but still something you have fun with. Sailing downwind in these conditions was very exciting and surprising: we really didn’t expect it before we came to Australia. We had expected to spend a lot of time sailing upwind, but in this way we can remember some great days of sailing. Ichi Ban, after several attempts and by now with a perfect knowledge of the course, scored a well-deserved overall victory in IRC. Unfortunately we allowed our rivals to gain too much advantage in the first part.”

We bought the Cookson 50 in 2014,” says Savelli, “when Vincenzo Onorato decided to start a program of leading offshore races. We took part in three additions of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, coming second once by just seven seconds in in 2015, and once overall winners in IRC in 2016. After the ORC Worlds in Trieste last summer we also won the Volvo Hong Kong to Vietnam, our last race before this one. I can say that this is not just a one-off appearance for a Mascalzone Latino boat in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race. The 2018 season programme for Vincenzo Onorato and Mascalzone Latino will now concentrate on the Melges 32 and J/70 classes”.

It was the first time for Mascalzone Latino in the Rolex Sydney Hobart and I’m proud to have been able to race with this crew,” says Adrian Stead, Mascalzone Latino afterguard. “In the first 10 or 12 hours we weren’t fast enough to have hopes of winning, in fact we were left behind by the other 52 footers. But in the second part of the race we pushed very hard. When you come to the Sydney Hobart Race you know the conditions can be different every year; then there are teams like Ichi Ban whose owner has taken part in 28 additions of this race and finally won this year. They won thanks to good preparation, and all-round boat and whether that was ideal for them. Actually the conditions were good for us to: we made a lot of right decisions and I think we could have arrived 45 or 50 minutes behind the winner. It was a pleasure sailing on this boat. Probably we would need to train harder to do better. If we started getting ready for the race tomorrow, we would do things differently: we would get the boat ready in a different way and have some different sails. But we fought hard from start to finish, it’s a pity we lost first place in the IRC Division 0 by 13 minutes to the Volvo 70, but looking at the results now, with a fifth place in IRC overall, we can be pretty satisfied and proud of what we’ve done. All the crew worked hard, doing a fantastic job from start to finish.”

I must admit we hope to do better, but we knew there was a lot of well-prepared and tough competition,” says Lorenzo Bressani, afterguard of Mascalzone Latino. “The conditions were incredible but at the same time very difficult, especially during the second night. To keep the boat going always at 100%, Adrian, Flavio and myself, the three designated helmsman, had trouble completing a watch of two hours at the helm; often we only lasted an hour and a half. We just didn’t want to take our foot off the accelerator and push as hard as we could, because we realised after the first 20 hours we were not in a good position, perhaps because the foresails were not quite right, and we wanted to go back to Italy with the best result we could. The second night we sailed with full main and A4 gennaker, closing on Ichi Ben by an hour in real-time. After the finish, to give you an idea how tough the conditions were, we discovered that the winner that night had sailed with two reefs and a genoa staysail. A fifth place overall and second place in IRC Division “0”, when you consider that some owners and sailors have taken part in dozens of additions before winning, are great results, but I’m competitive and had hoped to do better. Vincenzo [Onorato] fielded a great team, a compact and united crew that didn’t give an inch from start to finish. Maybe we’ll get another chance, who knows. The organisation and the success of this race in terms of the quality of the competitors, with tens of thousands of spectators on the water and on dry land following the start in Sydney and then welcoming the teams in Hobart, the media coverage we got was comparable to that of our home race, the Barcolana”.



photo credit (L/C/R): Rolex / Studio Borlenghi
  


photo credit (L-C): Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 December 2017 )