Scarlino Italy delivered a perfect opening day to the final event of the 2022 TF35 Trophy with one round of practice racing followed by two official points-scoring races on the sparkling Gulf of Follonica against the hazy silhouette of the island of Elba.
Race 1 started with a modest six-knot westerly breeze in which Realteam for Leman hope and Team Sailfever were the quickest onto their foils upwind, with clean starts flying on port off the start line. With an even split up the first beat, Spindrift and Alinghi Red Bull Racing ducked the transom of second-placed Team Sailfever and slotted into third and four at the first gate.
From there, clear ahead, Realteam for Leman hope extended away from the fleet to take the first bullet of the regatta with a convincing lead. "We had a good debrief after Malcesine, where we lost the overall 2022 trophy to Alinghi," explained helm Jérôme Clerc. "We were able to find some nice solutions to improve our performance and today it was good to see them working in racing."
Finding the extra gear in the second beat, Yann Guichard at the helm of Spindrift was chasing hard and jumped up into second place, pushing Loïck Peyron's French team into third. Alinghi Red Bull Racing finished in fourth, Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilier in fifth and ZEN too in sixth.
For race 2 the wind had picked up a notch to 10-knots, and again it was Realteam for Leman hope, who outpaced their rivals on the first beat and held on to take the second win of the day with a huge lead.
With the rest of the fleet unusually still compressed at the leeward gate ZEN Too challenged Peyron's team for third, but their decision to break away to the left on the final run didn't pay, and ZEN Too crossed the line in fourth. With Spindrift and Team Sailfever ahead in second and third consecutively.
Current tour leaders, Ernesto Bertarelli Alinghi Red Bull Racing, suffered a problem onboard at the end of race 1, which they could not fix and had to return ashore to be lifted out overnight. The resulting DNC (did not compete) for race 2 on their scorecard has dropped the team to last on the overall Scarlino standings. However, having already won the 2022 championship back in September in Malcesine, the crew can relax and will be back in full fighting force, ready for tomorrow's racing.
Tomorrow racing will continue from 1200 follow live at www.tf35.org