Light winds postponed racing on Tuesday, but finally in the late afternoon heat and breezes under 10 kts, they were able to get off one race. Bella fought back from her 4th position overall by taking a 2nd place today to ALEGRE pushing her up in the standings to 3rd place, just ahead of RAN. With 9 points after 3 races, I’m sure the boys are focused on boat speed, boat speed, boat speed and gaining through today’s races with a better forecast predicted to get two races off.
Well, its a tough fleet out there. We have matched up against many of these teams last year in the Med circuit, but old friends CONTAINER and ALEGRE came out shining in the first day of competition for the Copa del Rey. It was reportedly extremely hot and with little winds which didn’t help either the 72 foot RAN or our BELLA MENTE team. ALEGRE took the win for the first race and CONTAINER took first for the second race putting them in the 1-2 positions overall. BELLA MENTE managed a 4-3 leaving them in 4th behind RAN. There are 10 more scheduled races continuing on today, so anything could happen. Stay tuned.
RegattaNews.com publishes reports about the Mini Maxi fleets activities and have just recently posted their first press release about the September event in Sardinia. There is a nice quote from Hap Futh which I have included in an excert below. Read the full press release here, Maxis: Big Guns at the Ready.
The Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds are open to all maxi boats between 18.29-metres (60-feet) and 24.08-metres (79-feet) in length, but for the World Championship Trophy itself there is a strict owner/driver requirement. Zennstrom’s Rán has been on an impressive roll over the past year with a division win in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, overall win at the 2010 Onion Patch Series and a class win in the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race. Zennstrom, who will be helming Rán, is looking forward to some very close racing in his class, “this is the one regatta where the Mini Maxi fleet comes together and the one everyone is well prepared for and wants to win. All boats have become more competitive this year, so anyone can win. Porto Cervo is one of the best sailing venues in Europe so it should be a very exciting week.”
Along the way, Rán and her crew have been trading wins with another aspirant for the world title, Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (USA), which has enjoyed a skilful season with class wins at Key West Race Week, New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta; 2nd in class in the Newport Bermuda Race, and an Overall Team win in the Onion Patch Series. The top boats in the Mini Maxi fleet are constantly being tweaked to find that extra bit of speed. Bella Mente is no exception. She underwent modifications in 2009, changing the hull shape and reducing displacement, dramatically transforming the potential of the 21-metre sloop.
The process of refinement is ongoing and, last winter, Bella Mente’s chain plates were moved and the spreaders enlarged. Fauth acknowledges this attention to detail is part of what it takes to stay ahead, “it’s an impressive international fleet. Shockwave, Alegre (GBR), Rán, and Bella Mente are very closely matched speed- and rating-wise. We have a rivalry with all of them — there are a lot of very competitive, extraordinary, highly skilled sailors involved. It’s always a privilege to sail with this fleet.”
– Regattanews.com. July 29, 2010
Here she sits in Palma…. BELLA MENTE is being prepped and ready for her second Mediterranean season being kicked off in just a week with the Copa del Rey Regatta in Palma. Captains Pete Henderson, Rob Ouellette and Dave Jurkowski have been over with full-time crew Jon Von Schwartz, and Tomas Allin churning through the post-Bermuda race worklist ever since she arrived in Spain a few weeks ago.
The team arrives Tuesday, July 26 to warm up in these familiar waters and run Bella through her paces building up to start on August 2nd with 6 straight days of racing. This is a tiring event usually int he hottest conditions, but BELLA MENTE, Hap and the boys are ready to go.
You may have noticed the new format for our website. We have upgraded to allow for more of the team to post pictures, reports and videos straight from where the action is, so follow along daily.
Hap and the Bella boys have all been celebrating a very successful spring season with some fun, food and drink in Bermuda this week. From the Yacht Club to crew dinners each night, there are lots of smiles all around. Some of the crew even took Wednesday off on a chartered fishing boat to get out on the water in a different way.
As much as they have been enjoying the time in Bermuda, they have one more day of racing to finish off the 3 part series of the Onion Patch. There will be a round-the-bouys race tomorrow and joining the crew will be local favorite Adam Barboza to give some insider tips on these waters, and more importantly, the rocks and shallow spots to avoid. Sean Clarkson from last years crew has come in just for the race as well, as he will be on for the rest of the season.
I also want to keep you posted about some of the guys on the crew who have their own blogs and have written about the race. Bowman Doogie has posted a funny piece about some onboard logisitcs and coming in #2. New crew member Sam Rogers keeps a blog as well and wrote a detailed wrap up.
BELLA MENTE has just finished the 635 mile light air race the Bermuda this morning. The predictions were for about a 60 hour race and it was a few more than that, but not too many. The Gibbs Hill 10 Division was a fleet of 5 boats, all with slightly different tactics. As alwyas with light air, you want to sail as close to the true course between points within reason and making bets on the final hours of breeze closer to Bermuda. While BELLA MENTE sailed the most true and direct course from Newport to Bermuda, two boats took a track further to the west after crossing the gulf stream. That paid off for RAMBLER and BEAU GESTE as they were able to come in hotter in the end and take the line first and second. Splitting the difference was RAN and TITAN XV, which stayed closer to the true course and ended up extremely close at the finish.
RAMBLER took line honors for the class coming in around 7am, followed by BEAU GESTE. RAN and TITAN XV were in a heated battle, extremely close to each other and BELLA, with her lowest IRC rating was a few miles behind. It was a close pack, and the racing finishes will definitely come down to corrected time calculations over the 62+ hour race.
For now, I know the guys will be happy to arrive at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and hit the dock for some food, rest and of course, Dark n Stormy refreshment. I’ll post the final results here as well as comments I get from the crew as soon as I have them.