Wednesday, June 13, 2018

J/70 Sailing Champions League- Porto Cervo, Italy Circolo Della Vela Bari Top AUDI SAILING Champions League Qualifier
(Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy)- Teams from 22 clubs representing 13 nations were battling over four intense days of competition at Semifinal 1 of SAILING Champions League (SCL) in Porto Cervo for a ticket to the SAILING Champions League Final in St. Moritz coming up at the end of August.

The first 14 sailing clubs qualified in Sardinia for the final event in Switzerland. The Italian yacht club, Circolo Della Vela Bari, won the opening round organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of title sponsor AUDI, after a commanding performance in Sardinia. In the beginning of August, 16 other sailing clubs qualify at Semifinal 2 in St. Petersburg, Russia, to complete the list of 32 participants besides host club Segel-Club St. Moritz and SCL Champion Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

J/70 women's team- DenmarkDay One- Danish Women’s Team First Leader
Perfect weather conditions welcomed the sailors competing on the first day. The first of two semifinal legs got underway with a mild Mistral wind between 9 and 12 knots; ideal conditions for the YCCS fleet of J/70s. Heading the provisional classification was the all-women’s team from the Royal Danish Yacht Club followed by the Finns of AAS and Germany's SMCU.

Participating crews have travelled to Porto Cervo from every corner of Europe: Slovenia is represented for the first time by JK Aurora, while the largest contingent hails from Nordic and Central European countries.

Each flight consists of a full round of short windward-leeward races, with each leg approximately a third of a mile and teams alternating on board the J/70 fleet. Smooth organization allows crew changes to take place in just 3-4 minutes, allowing flights to depart in quick succession.

During the Welcome Cocktail on the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda terrace, YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo declared, "We are delighted to welcome the SAILING Champions League back to Porto Cervo, approximately 100 sailors from across Europe began racing today in excellent weather conditions with a formula that allows yacht clubs to compete in a fun way and on an equal footing. On behalf of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, I would like to thank our long-term partner AUDI for their support over the past 11 years. Fair winds to all the participants!"

J/70s sailing Champions League off Porto Cervo, SardiniaDay Two- New Leaders Take Control
Competitors and the Race Committee had a long and productive day at sea. No less than five flights were concluded, with a total of 15 races run, shaking up the top of the leaderboard. The Austrians of Yacht Club Bregenz now sat in the lead with consistently good performances, followed just one point behind by Circolo Della Vela Bari on level points with the Germans of SMCU.

The day began at 9 a.m. with the usual briefing in Piazza Azzurra, and the first races started on time at 10 a.m. with northerly winds of about 10 knots, which lessened and rotated eastward throughout the day. After two stoppages for lack of breeze, in the late afternoon a southeasterly breeze picked up allowing two more flights to be completed.

"We had great conditions here and we managed to sail consistently well,” said Jodok Küng of Yacht Club Bregenz. "The racing is pretty tight, all the clubs are performing at a really high level, so we don't want to overrate our leading position. We want to qualify for the SAILING Champions League Final in St. Moritz. So, our plan for the next few days is not to think too much, to sail well and in the end we will get a result."

Simone Ferrarese, skipper of Circolo Della Vela Bari, commented, "Thanks to three bullets today we were able to recover from yesterday's OCS! We hope to continue like that over the coming days and end up with a good result. I'd like to thank my team mates who sailed really well, the wind was very shifty and the support on tactics by Valerio Galati, our mainsail trimmer and my crew in the 49er Olympic campaign, was fundamental to our success.”

The teams concluded the day with the social highlight of the competition, a team barbecue on the terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

J/70s sailing off YC Costa Smeralda- Porto Cervo, SardiniaDay Three- Italians Take Lead
The third day saw the team representing Circolo Della Vela Bari move to the top of the classification, followed by the Austrians of the Yacht Club Bregenz. Just four flights remained to be held in the final day of the event.

The wind filled in at around 11 a.m. and the first race got underway soon after, accompanied by an easterly wind of approximately 6 knots which progressively built up to 10 knots and moved to south-easterly. The races took place in quick succession and were broadcast in live streaming on the SAILING Champions League YouTube channel.

Once again, the race course was not easy to read, with shifty wind and unexpected holes in the breeze. In such a closely ranked fleet, it was important to make as few mistakes as possible. Many penalties- a 360° turn- were imposed by the umpires on the tightly-bunched fleet.

The team from Circolo Della Vela Bari posted four 1sts, one 2nd and one 5th to lead the provisional standings just one point ahead of yesterday's leaders, the Austrians of the Yacht Club Bregenz. The French team representing Club de Voile St. Aubin Elbeuf moved up to third place at the expense of the German team of Segel-und Motorboot Club Überlingen.

Simone Ferrarese, skipper of CVB, said, "It was an excellent day and the crew worked especially well, we expected more wind, but luckily we managed to perform well in today's conditions. We are all very close, tomorrow is the decisive day! The forecast gives more wind and we will see who makes it in the end."

Cédric Chateau, skipper of Club de Voile St. Aubin Elbeuf, commented, "We were able to manage the day well, avoiding big mistakes and especially those penalties that had initially brought our scores down. We are very close to our opponents and, generally, very pleased with the day."

J/70 SAILING Champions League-Italy- winnersDay Four- Finale, Italians Win!
Excellent starting skills and clear-headed tactical racing delivered victory for the crew representing Circolo Della Vela Bari (CVB), one of two Italian teams competing on the sparkling waters of the Costa Smeralda. Simone Ferrarese’s team went into the final day just in front of Austrian rivals Yacht Club Bregenz, with Club de Voile Saint-Aubin Elbeuf also in contention. However, neither the Austrians nor French could match the blinding consistency of the CVB crew, who won all three of their races on the final day to win the 22-team contest with a race to spare.

Ferrarese was delighted to win in such dominant fashion, commenting that, “We had an amazing day today. It’s great to come out with a race victory and it’s fantastic to win in Italian waters! We love Porto Cervo and we love this event. It was tough until the end, especially in our last race to keep our eyes on the French team from Club de Voile Saint-Aubin Elbeuf, who was our direct rival. Thanks to my crew, they did an amazing job!”

Although they may not have won in Porto Cervo, the Austrians were still very satisfied with second overall. Compared with the Mediterranean heat of Northern Sardinia, skipper Max Trippolt will perhaps enjoy the cooler climes of Switzerland in just under three months from now. “Sailing so many races in four days, the sun in Sardinia kills your brain, and keeping the concentration up is not easy at all! So, we’re very happy to have qualified for the SAILING Champions League Final. But the competition is going to be even harder in St. Moritz, when the best clubs from the semifinals come together. We’ll give our best and see what’s possible.”

Aside from winning the event, the other battle in the middle of the fleet was to secure one of the 14 places available for the final in St. Moritz. APCC Nantes sailed well in their final heat to take second place behind the winners from CVB, the French doing enough to secure qualification for Switzerland. Last of the qualifiers was Jachtclub Scheveningen from the Netherlands, with their Dutch compatriots WSV Giesbeek finishing just one place and three points behind, but meaning they just missed out on a ticket to St Moritz.

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) ran an exemplary regatta, proving why this venue continues to be one of the clearest choices for hosting world-class sailing contests. YCCS Commodore, Riccardo Bonadeo, commented, “the club became famous for hosting Maxi yachts but we also want to welcome the young sailors to compete at events like SAILING Champions League. We are happy that this new challenge for the club is achieving great results for sailing. We make every effort to create the same spirit of sport for young people in the smaller boats – because this is the future of our sport.”

The YCCS regatta was the first of two semifinals, with the second semifinal due to be hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club in Russia from August 3rd to 6th, just a few weeks before the 2018 Final which will be hosted for the first time by Segel-Club St. Moritz, high up in the Swiss Alps from August 30th to September 2nd.

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The qualified clubs for the Final in St. Moritz are:

1     Italy- Circolo Della Vela Bari- Bari, Italy
2     Austria- Yacht Club Bregenz- Bregenz, Austria
3     France- Club de Voile Saint-Aubin Elbeuf- Saint-Aubin Elbeuf, France
4     Switzerland- Regattaclub Bodensee- St. Gallen, Switzerland
5     Germany- Segel-und Motorboot Club Überlingen- Überlingen, Germany
6     Monaco- Yacht Club Monaco- Monte Carlo, Monaco
7     Switzerland- Regattaclub Oberhofen- Oberhofen, Switzerland
8     Denmark- Kongelig Dansk Yachtklub- Copenhagen, Denmark
9     Italy- Società Canottieri Garda Salò- Salò, Italy
10     Finland- Åländska Segelsällskapet- Åland Islands, Finland
11     Germany- Wassersportverein Hemelingen- Bremen, Germany
12     Sweden- Cape Crow Yacht Club- Gothenburg, Sweden
13     France- APCC Nantes- Nantes, France
14     Netherlands- Jachtclub Scheveningen- The Hague, Netherlands

Sailing photo credits- SCL/Lars Wehrmann   SAILING Champions League highlights video on Facebook   For more SAILING Champions League regatta information Add to Flipboard Magazine.