Oman Air fights back at GC32 Riva Cup
Lago di Garda was not making it easy for race officials on day two of the GC32 Riva Cup, the penultimate event of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour. The afternoon southerly Ora wind was late materialising and required three changes of race course and a frustrating two hour wait before the wind finally blasted in at 15+ knots some four kilometres south of Riva del Garda. After this three races with reaching starts were eventually held, the wind progressively dropping off as the afternoon wore on and holes in the race course began to appear close to the leeward gate and the boats were returned to the Fraglia Vela Riva marina. "Friday 13th" they muttered by way of explanation, but in Italy 13 is not unlucky.
There was some frustration evident at the first start when it did eventually happen. Both the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour leaders were called over early and had to drop back behind the fleet by way of a penalty. Meanwhile at the weather end of the line there was congestion with Federico Ferioli’s Codigo Rojo Racing shaving the transom of the race committee boat and just when you thought a closer shave wasn’t possible Erik Maris’ Zoulou cut it even closer booting the mark off the committee boat’s transom with a weight worthy of Zinedine Zidane.
Ultimately it was Jason Carroll’s Argo that won the first start and went on to hold the lead to the finish. "It is always easier when you have a nice start," commented Argo’s flight controller/bowman Alister Richardson. In the second race Argo had a deeper start but were relieved to salvage a third, but then in the final race had a difficult situation coming into the leeward gate on port and, uncertain about whether or not they would cross Red Bull Sailng Team, ultimately crash gybed and stopped dead, leaving them underlaying. Ultimately they pulled out a sixth place finish.
Despite their footballing antics in the first start, Erik Maris’ Zoulou had another consistent day and a 3-4-4 today left the French team still holding third overall and leader in the GC32 Riva Cup owner-driver competition.
Unquestionably the stars of the day were Oman Air, who won the second and third races. This was fortunate for the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour leaders following their disappointing opening day here on Lake Garda. "Nothing went our way," admitted helmsman/skipper Adam Minoprio of their initial showing yesterday. "There were a few issues and we didn’t deal with them well and just didn’t have a good day. It was a shame we only had three races today because things were going better for us."
While the Omani team won races two and three today, most impressive was their second place in the opening race, despite being called OCS. "We had the timing wrong there which was a shame," said Minoprio. "It was good that we could get back into the race." The third race was also satisfying for Minoprio as the breeze was disappearing around the leeward gate and Oman Air made the best of it to hold a substantial lead at the finish.
A disappointing day for Red Bull Sailing Team saw them drop down the leaderboard, with Oman Air taking over their second place spot at this mid-way stage of the GC32 Riva Cup.
Still leading and still with a four point cushion to second is Alinghi, after the Swiss team posted a 4-2-2 today, making them second best scorer of the day. Alinghi’s French tactician Nicolas Charbonnier observed of the day: "I think our starts were pretty solid, but there were some opportunities we missed." However the former Olympic 470 bronze medallist said he was relieved that they got in three races from the five scheduled. "Sometimes on days like this you have no races."
Of the day Argo’s Alister Richardson observed: "It was changing so much. It was so difficult for the race committee, so they did the best with what they had and we got three races in."
Racing at the GC32 Riva Cup is taking place with the support of Garda Trentino, Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, Distilleria Marzadro and Omkafé. Due to the lost races today, the aim is to start at 0830 tomorrow morning in the northerly Pelèr. This is due to fade away late morning and so racing is set to resume in the afternoon at around 1300 when the southerly Ora materialises.