Joint Winners Declared After Tense Weekend At Volvo Cup & Italian Nationals In Alghero
The Alghero leg of the 2010 Volvo Cup, which incorporated the 2010 Italian National Championship, was to bring a mix of conditions, some very tight racing and some difficult decisions for the jury. Alghero itself proved to be a wonderful venue. The organisers set up an outstanding race village on the harbour side immediately below the historic city walls and the boats were moored along the harbour wall making for both ease of access for the sailors and a fantastic spectacle for the visiting public. The daily social events were all well organised, fun and much appreciated by the sailors.
The weather for the weekend was decidedly mixed. A passing system created unstable weather and the first two days of the regatta brought conditions between 6 and 12 knots with many shifts. The third day was a joy with good stable winds all day but sadly day four dawned with a flat calm which lasted all day preventing any further racing.
With 42 boats from 6 nations competing, including all the top names on the circuit, the fleet was as strong as ever. Whilst the racing afloat was as close as it always is at a Volvo Cup event this regatta was ultimately decided in the jury room.
The first day of racing brought light a very shifty conditions but the race committee was able to complete two races which Niccolo Bianchi helming Saetta won to lead the fleet overall ahead of Alberto Bolzan's Hurrican Murphy & Nye in second with UKA UKA Racing, helmed by Lorenzo Bressani, Francesco Barbi aboard Nava and Flavio Favini sailing Blu Moon all tied for third place on 15 points.
Day two was lighter still and it took until late afternoon before the race committee could find sufficient wind to run a race. This time it was UKA UKA who took victory with the new South African team aboard Proximo, helmed by Ian Ainslie second and Saetta third. Despite two attempts it was not possible for the race committee to run another race and the fleet was sent home for the evening. Overall Saetta now led with 5 points, UKA UKA Racing was second on 16 points, Furio Patrizio Monaco board Billo Baccani had pulled up from seventh into third place on 25 points and Andrea Racchelli had moved from sixth to fourth place on 26 points.
Saturday finally brought good winds and three great races were sailed. In race four UKA UKA Racing were initially called OCS and as a result of being forced to return across the line were only able to finish in 25th place. They went on to take two second places in the remaining races of the day. Meanwhile Blu Moon took victory in race four, a third in race five and another victory in race six. Saetta was also proving to be consistent scoring 3 and 5 followed by an eleventh in race six. Once the eleventh was discarded Saetta still headed the leaderboard on 13 points with Blu Moon and UKA UKA both on 20 points with Blu Moon claiming second overall on count-back.
Back ashore UKA UKA Racing Team protested the OCS call and went to the Jury to request redress. Following almost two hours deliberation the Jury found in their favour and awarded redress calculated on the results of all the races in the series, putting them at the head of the leaderboard based on the races sailed so far.
All seemed settled until the following day when sadly no racing could take place. At this point Saetta's crew lodged a protest against the Jury's decision as the felt that the benefit awarded through redress to Uka Uka was too great. After some six hours of deliberation the Jury final found that the redress given to UKA UKA had been too generous and ultimately both Saette and UKA UKA Racing were jointly award the 2010 Italian National Championship and Volvo Cup Alghero titles. Blu Moon finished third with Hurricane Murphy & Nye fourth.