It was a classic day of Lake Garda racing for the opening of the TF35 Malcesine Cup today, featuring two practice races followed by two official points-scoring races sailed in a 15-knot Ora breeze.
In Race 1, the current tour leaders, Realteam Sailing, executed a textbook start crossing the line in clean air and on foils as the horn sounded. Up the first beat, their speed was matched perfectly by closest rivals, Spindrift, allowing Yann Guichard and his crew to secure the inside track and nose ahead of Realteam. In the chasing fleet, the new team Ylliam 17 emerged early to round the gate in third. After recovering from a poor start by going port off the line, ZEN Too managed to cross ahead of the fleet and rounded the first gate in fourth.
Two more mark roundings and two more lead changes followed. At the leeward gate, Realteam secured the inside track and pulled ahead. While Spindrift gained an advantage at the top mark rounding when the pair split for the first time, Spindrift went left closer to the shore, and Realteam found more pressure on the right in the middle of the lake, ultimately securing the race win.
"First day here in Malcesine with perfect conditions, a fairly steady breeze of around 15-knots," explained Spindrift’s helm Guichard. "Two superb races with a great battle in both, we were really close to Realteam. We got off to good starts and had good speed upwind. Downwind, we made a few errors that caused us to lose a bit of control of the boat and drop out of flight twice. I think that cost us the win each time as losing flight at 30 knots drops us to 17-18 knots, resulting in a rapid loss of 100 to 200 meters of distance. So, we're going to work on improving that."
For Race 2, Realteam and Spindrift once again led the charge, but this time with Bertrand Demole’s Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilier joined the mix. A bit more separation in the fleet saw Realteam leading from the first windward gate, but narrowly finishing ahead of Spindrift and Ylliam XII as they charged through the line.
In the overall standings at the end of day one, the podium positions are occupied by Realteam, Spindrift and Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilier. Guy de Picciotto's ZEN Too is two points behind in fourth, while Alinghi Red Bull Racing, helmed by 18-year-old Marie Mazuay, and Julien Firmenich's Ylliam 17 are tied on points in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Taking the helm for the first time on Alinghi Mazuay concluded: "What's really impressive is being on the start line with all the other boats. The practice racing gave me an idea of how to react to the competitors, but with these speeds, you really have to anticipate the crossings. There were some hot moments today, but in the end, we made the right calls so everything went well."