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Clear skies and gentle 7-11 knot seabreeze conditions allow for three close races in each class

Porto Carras, Greece – Yesterday’s cold front cleared the skies for a perfect Aegean day of racing, the third of five at the 2016 ORC European Championship, organized by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki. What looked like a seabreeze filled fast at 11-12 knots just after the start at 1300, but then backed down in pressure to 7-9 knots for the end of this race, endured at this speed for most of the second race, and then filled again with some pressure for the last race.

And with the addition of another three races to the scorecards in Class A/B and Class C, the fleet is just one race away from having the seven needed under ORC rules to get a discard applied to each score. This will tighten the standings in each class, especially in Class A/B, where a clear leader is emerging but the rest of the pack is close by ready to take their place at the top.

It was in this competitive class that yet another Black Flag was needed to control the start of the first race after a general recall, catching Manuel Costantin’s First 40 Canevel Spumanti in the net to add 38 points in a BFD to their otherwise promising scoreline. This Italian team had further misfortune when at a crowded layline at the top of the first beat in the second race they were hit by another team from Italy, yesterday’s series co-leader Blue Sky, Claudio Terrieri’s Grand Soleil 43BC. There was no significant damage in the contact, Terrieri and team managed to limp away to do their two-turns penalty, but their double-digit scores in this race reflect the distraction caused by the incident.

The latest team to earn a race win in this class and advance up the standings to 4th is a 38-foot cruiser/racer who found themselves today among the larger race boats. Andrew Holdsworth’s Extreme Ways has USA on the sails, but has never actually been there since delivery was taken of this XP-38 in Denmark two years ago just prior to the ORC World Championship in Kiel that year. Ever since then Holdsworth has been working hard towards achieving the goal of winning this event, having also raced in last year’s Worlds in Barcelona and the Trofeo de Godo this year and last as well.

“Today’s last race was as perfect a sailboat race I have ever done,” he said, while headed to Porto Carras’s Kohi Beach after racing. “We are one of the smaller boats in this class, and getting clear air is really difficult. This last race we had a lane open up, got lifted on port tack in the shift, and made big gains. The crew work, trimming and tacking was perfect, and we were fast off the wind as well. Everything really came together, it was great.”

When asked his views on how well the ratings were working in this large combined class, he said “I think scientifically the system works really well, the problems are just in the course management with boats of so many varied sizes. When there is clear air available, the racing can be extremely close, like we saw today.”

In the Class A/B standings, the series is being led now by Giampiero Vagliano’s modified Arya 414 Duvetica Grey Goose, followed by George Andreadis’s Meliti IV-Musto and Faedon Kydoniatis’s Rodman 42 My Way only a few points back in second and third, respectively.

In Class C Vincenzo de Blasio’s NM38S Scugnizza-Total Lubmarine continues to dominate this class, but her winning streak fell short in the day’s last race when Aivar Tuulberg’s Arcona 340 Katarina II earned her first win of the series. Tactician Lorenzo Bodini, a multiple World Champion in ORC and other classes, said they sailed this race in a way he normally does not like but felt was necessary to defeat Scugnizza.

“Normally I like a conservative approach to sail the shifts and make gains in small steps. But I know that to beat this boat you need more than that, so I committed us to the pin end at the start, ready to get the pressure and shift I thought might be on the left side of the course. We found it and made big gains, and rather than go back to the middle we stayed on that side to gain as much as we could. This was enough to put on them the time we needed.”

In the Corinthian division, Giannis Sykaris’s ILC 40 Bana Bioletta 3 has taken the lead in Class A/B by six points, while Fabio Bignolini’s modified Dufour 34 Northern Light Sailing Team has taken the lead from Akis Tsalikis’s X-35 Oxygonon by only two points.

As event chairman, however, Tsalikis is not displeased with the progress and success of the event thusfar. “We have now enough races to have a valid championship, so that’s a relief. But more than that the racing has been good, its been fair, and the organization has been superb in race management, scoring and measurement controls. Everyone seems really happy to have come to Porto Carras to this event.”

Tomorrow racing resumes an hour earlier at 1200 with another offshore race scheduled, with the course to be announced in the morning.

Top five standings after six races:

Class AB
1. Duvetica Grey Goose (ITA) Arya 415 mod Giampiero Vagliano
2. Meliti IV-Musto (GRE) GS 42R George Andreadis
3. My Way (GRE) Rodman 42 Faedon Kydoniatis
4. Extreme Ways (USA) XP-38 Andrew Holdsworth
5. Blue Sky (ITA) GS 43 BC Claudio Terrieri

Class C
1. Scugnizza-Total Lubmarine (ITA)NM 38S Vincenzo de Blasio
2. Katarina II (EST) Arcona 340 Aivar Tuulberg
3. Sugar (EST) Italia 9.98 Ott Kikkas
4. Baximus (GRE) X-35 OD Thanasis Baxevanis
5. Northern Light Sailing Team (ITA) Dufour 34 Fabio Bignolini