In a class of 21 teams from seven nations, owner-driver Natalia Brailoiu from Romania and her Italian team on her Club Swan 42 Natalia have today won Class A in the ORC European Championship, while in Class B the reigning Mediterranean champion – Italian Giuseppe Giuffre on his Polli-modified M37 Low Noise – has won against 26 rivals from six countries. This is a repeat performance for Low Noise, who also won the Class B European Championship crown in 2012.
The hot conditions today saw temperatures reach 35°C, but the expected seabreeze came too late to save Class B’s slow start, forcing race managers to abandon their race. With a discard allowed for all but the offshore race, Low Noise was then able to take the lead from Pedro Campos’s Synergia 40 Movistar, who despite winning every inshore race could not overcome the 15.6 points earned in the offshore race on Thursday, and thus had to settle for Silver medals for the series. Another Italian team, Nicola de Gemmis’s GS 39 Morgan IV, earned Bronze medals based on solid top-four results in inshore series.
“I’m satisfied because it is another good result for Low Noise,” said Giuffre. “The victory was particularly difficult because here we struggled with boats in this class. Not only with Pedro Campos, but against the rest of a large highly qualified fleet. Until the last we fought to not lose the slightest opportunity, and the result of the long race was crucial for us.” Low Noise raced with Duccio Colombi on the helm and tactics called by Lorenzo Bodini. Next winter Giuffre will be racing his new boat, a Italia Yacht 998c designed by Matteo Polli, who has worked hard to optimize the current M37.
In Class A this final race was destined to be a fight, since so few points separated the top contenders, who all had respectable results in the offshore race and thus were counting on a good final inshore race. The light conditions initially favored the two fastest boats around the course, the TP 52’s Hurakan and Duvetica-Linosonega, but then a new breeze filled in quickly to take away that advantage, just like the long offshore race. Bernd Kammerlander’s XP-44 Koyoma, with Inaki Castener on the helm, read the conditions perfectly to win this race, and grab the last place on the podium. Meanwhile Natalia’s second-place in this race was good enough to have them pass yesterday’s leader Elena Nova, Christian Plump’s German Swan 45 to take the lead and push the Germans back into second place.
While this was Natalia’s first ORC championship event, the team knows how to win, having just emerged victorious in last month’s inshore series of the Rolex Giraglia race. And on the abilities of Brailoiu as a helmsman in this tough series, team manager Luke Lanzillo said “Only four years ago Natalia was doing the halyards on the boat. But we convinced her to take the helm and practice to improve her skills. She has proven to be talented and winning the European title is a confirmation that pushes us to participate in many other important races.”
Its perhaps appropriate for a champion in sailing that the owner of Natalia, KDF Energy from Romania, is a company specializing in Green Energy project development and trading in greenhouse gas emmisions.
Winners in the Corinthian Division were both from Spain: 11th-placed Itaca IX in Class A, a First 47.7 owned by Manuel Gallego, and 9th-placed Tanit IV-Medilevel in Class B, a GS 37B owned by Jose Maria Vila Valero