Scirocco for the start of the fifth edition of the Ran 630
This morning's start of the RAN 630, Regata dell'Accademia Navale was brought forward to 9 AM in the face of a building sirocco, and La Cucciola, a SunFast 3600, took the initial lead. After 14 hours the Cookson 50 TestaCuore Race is at the head of the fleet.
The fifth edition of the RAN 630 is organized by the Yacht Club Livorno and the Italian Naval Academy. The 630 miles course starts from Livorno with the first mark off Porto Cervo (Sardinia), then southeast to Capri, with the finish back in Livorno. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the Yacht Club Capri will feed the rounding times to the organization for their respective marks. The race, run under the auspices of the Italian Sailing Federation, is valid as a Grade 3 race in the Unione Italiana Vela d'Altura (UVAI) Italian Offshore Championship. Results will be calculated under both ORC and IRC. Given the more numerous fleet, overall results will calculated under the ORC rule. Out of eighteen participating yachts, six will be racing in the Double Handed category.
The RAN 630 maintained its fame of a tough race with wind and rough seas that challenged the sailors right from the start. Initially scheduled for 1200, the start was set forward three hours by the unanimous decision of the participants to avoid starting in increasingly difficult conditions. "This year will more challenging than ever - explained Lieutenant Elisa Ricci during the weather briefing – the yachts have to deal with a very unstable forecast, with favorable winds only between Porto Cervo and Capri".
The fleet started with a fresh 15 knot southeasterly, gusting to 20, with 1,2 meters seas. La Cucciola, the SunFast 3600 crewed by members of the Associazione Istruttori e Allievi from the Centro Velico Caprera, got off to a perfect start, but soon Riccardo Cicciriello's Cookson 50 TestaCuore Race, pride of the Yacht Club Capri, opened her lead ahead of the fleet thanks to her long waterline. Most of the fleet headed towards Capraia Island but ran into a good sized hole in the wind. The first yacht to find the better pressure off Elba Island was last year's winner, Maglione-Villi's Blues, followed by La Cucciola and the Class 9.50 Ummagumma.
The Italian Navy is competing with three yachts for the special military team trophy, the Trofeo Saverio Marotta: Orsa Maggiore, Stella Polare and Gemini, the splendid 1983 First Class IOR designed by Andrea Vallicelli.
The Grand Soleil 40 Renoir owned by Mario Pellegrini from Pordenone (Northeast of Italy), racing with the pennant of the Diporto Nautico Sistiana, came the farthest to participate. "This race has a fascinating course; we hope to do well even if this is the first time we've done it" said the skipper and owner. Three yachts have already withdrawn: Solete, Pegasus and Ginevra.
Last minute problems at home instead for the well-known solo sailor Andrea Mura. He had planned to do the RAN 630 in Double Handed class with his wife Daniela onboard his Open 50 Vento di Sardegna: "The RAN 630 would have been the perfect occasion to give my wife a break after four years taking care of our two children, but we'll do our utmost to be on the line for next year's edition".
Admiral Flavio Biaggi: "The successful collaboration between the Italian Naval Accademy and the Yacht Club Livorno has brought important changes to the RAN 630 with its inclusion in the Italian Offshore Championship as a Grade 3 event with double the number of participants. We're quite happy with how things have improved and the future of the regatta will make it a classic of the Mediterranean".
Professor Gian Luca Conti, president of the Yacht Club Livorno: "I thank all the participants; with this kind of weather many boats might not even have started, but full of enthusiasm they decided to bring the start forward and get to sea".