06 September 2018
Topaz awarded redress after erroneous OCS call
Two thirds of the way through 2018 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the trio of Js remain tightly grouped on their leaderboards. Under the class' JCA rating system Svea leads Topaz on four points to five, while under the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup's ORCsy rating for the Supermaxi class, Topaz holds a two point advantage over Velsheda, in turn on a point ahead of Svea.
Today the Js sailed a coastal course this time to the south of Porto Cervo around the islands of Soffi, Mortorio and Mortoriotto. This was short compared to previous days, to ensure the boats would be tied up back in Porto Cervo before the arrival of a squall, due late afternoon.
Unfortunately at the start a race management error caused Topaz to be called over early when it was in fact Velsheda. Post-racing Topaz was awarded a time compensation for this, causing them to become join winners of today's race with Svea, leaving Velsheda third.
"We weren't over the line - Velsheda came smoking on in and was the one that was," explained Topaz' helmsman Peter Holmberg. "Otherwise it was a good race. Our team is doing a great job pushing the boat as hard as we can. Manoeuvre-wise all the boats did a couple of gybe-sets today so that was a real challenge for the crew work, and we saw soe great work out here. We can run out of hydraulic power in those manoeuvres so it is very hard to do it right - like an orchestra. It is a great challenge, but we really enjoy it."
Holmberg still reckons Velsheda is the boat to beat here in Porto Cervo. "We are pushing the boat as hard as we can, but Velsheda has the jets upwind and we have a little bit more downwind. Obviously I would prefer to be the fastest boat upwind too and have the advantage and dictate. We are just trying to minimise the damage, keep it close, and come back to them on the downwinds."
With her two rivals turning back to restart, Svea led around the course today. Tactician Charlie Ogletree commented: "The start was good and the first beat we sailed well. It was a lot of reaching after that, but then we finally got the long downwind we wanted. Prior to this they have been mostly reaching races, even with the spinnaker up, but today it was more of VMG running and I think that is one of the strong points for Svea because she is lighter." Svea is 12 tonnes lighter than Velsheda and also carries bigger spinnakers.
On board Velsheda they accepted being called OCS at the start but still managed to finish the race 39 seconds astern of Svea on ORCsy corrected time.
On the start line Velsheda's OCS had been assisted by being held up on a course taking her directly towards the race committee boat's transom by Pier Luigi Loro Piana's Baltic 130, racing alongside the Js in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup's Supermaxi class. "They did come in and interrupt our start, but you know this kind of thing will happen before the regatta starts." explained Velsheda's Kiwi tactician Tom Dodson. "Apart from the small set back, we did well to get back in front of Topaz up the first beat. We went offshore where there was more pressure - it was a bit of back luck/good luck."
He continued: "We all sailed around the course and finished pretty close to each other. There were opportunities to do better than we did though."
On board Velsheda today, navigator Campbell Field was joined by his father and Volvo Ocean Race winner Ross. "He came on to look and observe," continued Dodson. "We always like to have friends and family on board when we can - it's a special treat for everybody."
Tomorrow Mistral conditions are forecast that could bring winds of as much as 25 knots, "We won't mind a bit more breeze tomorrow. We like that and the boat likes it," concluded Dodson, echoing the thoughts of the other crews at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.