06 September 2016
Lionheart lead J Class duel in Sardinia
The 32 mile traditional course up 'Bomb Alley' passing the La Maddalena Archipelago and returning offshore of the islands offered a brisk passage for the J Class yachts to open their account at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Velsheda made a small error in their timing and so Lionheart made the better start to lead Velsheda all the way around a relatively straightforward track and finished one minute and six seconds ahead. On corrected time under the regatta's ORCsy scoring Velsheda placed fourth and Lionheart sixth with the Javier Jaudenes designed Baltic Yacht 108 Win Win taking victory in the Super Maxi Class which the two J Class compete in.
After the first scheduled racing day was lost to a buffeting Mistral yesterday conditions for Race 1 started out manageable and ended up moderate. With the wind easing progressively the mean wind speed around the course was between 14 and 15kts. Velsheda were forced to scrub off too much speed in the final seconds before the gun and left them flat footed compared with rivals Lionheart. Lionheart were ahead at the first cross on the two miles opening windward leg and from there built their lead until they lost their jib halyard and had to sail bare headed while it was retrieved during a drop. "We had a good start when I think Velsheda were early on their timing. We held them out to the layline and could cross them and from there we got ahead a bit ahead. Mostly we were around a minute ahead until the jib halyard came undone when we lost a little." Recalled Lionheart's tactician Bouwe Bekking. "But overall it was a good fun race."
"We made it a little hard for ourselves, we really did." Smiled Tom Dodson the Kiwi tactician from Velsheda. "We wanted the pin end of the line and were just a bit late in pulling the trigger. Lionheart had it spot on and were away." "We are probably a day short on practice really. We had a couple of small problems along the way which did not help. It was a nice course but with quite a lot of reaching there were not too many opportunities to come back." Dodson concluded. Interestingly under J Class scoring the two boats level rate on the circular random heavy airs course format and so Lionheart takes first blood in the J Class match up in Sardinia.