The hotly anticipated TF35 Malcesine Cup sets sail tomorrow (Thursday, 8 September) with the seven high-performance hydro foiling catamarans racing against one another for the first time since the prestigious Bol D'Or Mirabaud long-distance race on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, back in June.
While this is the first time the TF35 fleet has competed on Lake Garda inthe shadow of the Dolomite Mountains, the sailors know it well. The home team for the Italian event, Vitamina Sailing, headed up by kiwi tactician Adam Minoprio, arrives fresh from last week's M32 European Championship in Riva del Garda, where they finished in second place.
"Sailing the TF35 here in Malcesine is going to be awesome," Minoprio enthused after training today. "We've got the typical Lake Garda Ora blowing in the afternoon, and we will be able to find 10 - 12 knots of breeze by moving up and down the lake to get the perfect conditions for foiling."
Another team to have raced on the Italian lake extensively is Ernesto Bertarelli Alinghi Red Bull Racing. The Swiss challenger for the 37th America's Cup dominated in May at the opening regatta of the GC32 Racing Tour in Riva del Garda, winning with two races to spare. Bertarelli currently leads in the TF35 annual ranking, albeit with a slim two-point advantage over closest rivals Realteam for Leman hope.
However, Bertarelli and his crew must work hard to stay ahead in this quickly improving fleet. As Minoprio explains, the break in the season over August has refreshed the rivalries on the water: "We didn't get to show our full potential at the start of the season on Lake Geneva with some breakdowns onboard. The second half in Italy is where we feel we can show that team Vitamina is competitive and can fight at the front of the fleet."
Racing will start at 13:00 CET tomorrow with two practice races followed by two point-scoring races. Hosted by Fraglia Vela Malcesine for the first time, the TF35 race course will be set at the lake's northern end, which is world-renowned for its flat water and strong winds, ideal for high-speed foiling catamaran racing.
Follow the racing live on the TF35.org homepage on our Facebook and Instagram.