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Smashing victory for Neville Crichton

2003, 2004 and now 2006, this is Alfa Romeo’s third win in Trieste

dimanche 8 octobre 2006Redaction SSS [Source RP]

101st victory for Neville Crichton, who has won today in the 38th Barcolana regatta in Trieste at the helm of his Alfa Romeo 2. 1788 boats at the starting line : this is the great traditional festival that every year Trieste dedicates to sailing.

2003, 2004 and now 2006. These are the editions of the Barcolana won by Alfa Romeo 2, 30-metre Supermaxi skippered by New Zealand’s Neville Crichton. Alfa Romeo 2 moves into lead from the start, sailing windward of rival Maximus-Alikè. She got ahead and stayed ahead despite the wind speed decreased near Miramare.

Second Maxijena, Slovenian boat skippered by Mitja Kosmina was able to beat Maximus-Alikè in the struggle for second place after sailing a perfect race.

1788 competitors in the race but at the starting line just off the Società Velica Barcola Grignano premises , a match-race between Alfa Romeo 2 and Maximus-Alikè is already taking place.

The signal rocket announces the start, white smoke is swept away by the Bora wind - blowing between 20 and 23 knots with 30 knots gusts - the only cloud above the race course : this is the picture of the 38th edition of the Barcolana.

Between Miramare Castle and the lighthouse at least 20thousand sailors are lined up to participate in the race. As the wind fills the sails the boats heel and almost 320thousand spectators watch this stunning view from the Triestine Karst cliffs.

The announced duel between Bodini and Crichton starts straight away : the two boats cross the starting line overlapped just off the Società Velica Barcola Grignano premises, but New Zealander is in strong position, to windward of Maximus. Bodini is starts slightly ahead but good tactics enables Crichton to overcome her direct rival just after 350 meters from the starting line. Bodini tries to catch up by hoisting the gennaker but an imperfect manoeuvre slows down Maximus-Alikè, while Alfa Romeo rounds the first mark with an advantage of 473 metres (Virtual Spectator - Arsenal data). While Maximus-Alikè speeds up, it’s time for surprise : windward to Alfa Romeo, 8 boat lengths behind, Maxi Jena is approaching, Slovenian boat of Mitja Kosmina with Miroslav Reljanovic as tactician. Slovenian team came off the starting line near Barcola helped by the strong Bora gusts and flies to second place ahead of Maximus-Alikè half-way of the first leg.

Meanwhile the same tactics favours Slovenia’s Maxi Anyway True, skippered by Maurizio Bencic, who won last week in the Bernetti, sailing third at the mark following Alfa Romeo 2 that carries a 1 minute and 48 seconds lead over Maxi Jena. Maximus-Alikè rounds the first mark fourth. After the first leg the boats sail towards the mark off Miramare castle, and positions remain the same : Alfa Romeo 2 accelerates and widens the gap, leaving behind a fleet sailing at 10-18 knots average speed.

At Miramare mark weather conditions change : the wind stops and the crews have to face a sudden dead calm. Alfa Romeo slows down abruptly to 2 knots speed : rivals approach dangerously, anything can happen now. Neville Crichton, owner and skipper of Alfa Romeo 2, finds the solution that allows him to hold on to the lead and win the race : he picks the right side of the course where gusts are stronger and his rivals are forced to follow. Almost overlapped, Maximus Alikè and Maxi Jena sail close to shore struggling for second place, Mitja Kosmina and his Slovenian crew will make it.

Just a few more tacks and Alfa Romeo 2 crosses the finishing line first : this is Cricthon’s third victory in the Barcolana, (winner in 2003 and 2004) clinched in 1 hour and 23 minutes. Maxi Jena comes in second, crossing the finishing line almost 7 minutes behind New Zealander team due to the dead calm near the coast (8/9 knots). Maximus-Alikè comes in third with Lorenzo Bodini at the helm.

Behind the three yachts comes a traditional participant of the Barcolana : Esimit-Europa of Igor Simcic. The boat skippered by Alberto Bolzan with Stefano Spangaro as tactitian, both from Trieste is first in the Barcolana Maxi class standings for the fifth time in a row. Surprising Anyway True is fifth with Maurizio Bencic at the helm, TuttaTrieste1 sixth chartered by the Financial Police Sporting Group of Gaeta, with Paolo Cian at the helm. Seventh is Southern Star, racer-cruiser skippered by Gabriele Benussi of Trieste as well. Eigth Slovenian Dusan Puh, skipper of Veliki Viharnik. Russell Coutts, America’s Cup America's Cup #AmericasCup three times winner finishes 17th in the overall standings on a 44-foot yacht, first of class : it’s Triestine RC44 Magia and the victory has a true Barcolana taste.

NEVILLE CRICHTON, ARMATORE E TIMONIERE ALFA ROMEO 2 : "We did a wonderful race, we managed to tackle the different situations in the best way - said Neville Crichton, skipper and owner of Alfa Romeo 2, winner in the Barcolana for the third time. "We followed a precise racing tactics, we got off the line cleanly to windward of Maximus-Alikè and at that point we moved into lead. With both strong wind and light breeze we proved to be the fastest boat and the strongest team. Alfa Romeo is still the SuperMaxi everyone wants to beat".

MITIJA KOSMINA, HELMSMAN OF MAXI JENA : "When Maximus-Alikè passed us in the second leg of the race we have never given up coming in second" - said enthusiastic Mitija Kosmina, who finished second on board of his Maxi Jena. "When the wind calmed down, near Miramare, we hoisted a genoa which let us approach Maximus with Bodini at the helm. In the last lap we sailed on the left side of the course. It was the right choice, we were able to earn a great result finishing behind the world’s strongest SuperMaxi : this second place has the taste of victory".

LORENZO BODINI, HELMSMAN AND SKIPPER OF MAXIMUS ALIKE’ : "After a securing a beautiful start, we were not able to stop Alfa Romeo 2 from slipping away. We hit the line together but she was to windward" - said Lorenzo Bodini, skipper of Maximus-Alikè at the end of the race. "We were all three very close at the mark near Miramare due to the dead calm and we chose to sail further out at sea where the gusts were stronger. Then we duelled with Maxi Jena until the end in a sort of match-race. It’s a pity because if the wind had been steadier we would have done better".

Voir en ligne :


This is the provisional results list of the Racing Committee, they are now preparing the official standings list at the Società Velica Barcola Grignano.

- 1 Alfa Romeo 2, Neville Crichton (time : 1hour 23minutes)
- 2 Maxi Jena, Mitija Kosmina
- 3 Maximus-Alikè, Lorenzo Bodini
- 4 Esimit-Europa, Alberto Bolzan e Stefano Spangaro
- 5 Anyway True, Maurizio Bencic
- 6 TuttaTrieste2-Fiamme Gialle, Andrea Neri
- 7 Southern Star, Gabriele Benussi
- 8 Veliki Viharnik, Dusan Puh
- 9 Sei Tu 2, Antonello Morina
- 10 Cuba Libre, Thomas Kurtzmann
- 11 Madex-Cometa, Robert Besic
- 12 Pegaso-Calvi, Paolo Montefusco

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