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X-35 Class at the Copa del Rey - Day 3

by Robert Grieg-Gran 30 Jul 2008 22:50 BST

As competitors arrived at the Real Club Náutico de Palma for the third day of the Copa del Rey, it was with some dismay that they saw the AP flying from the club mast. Some boats delayed leaving the dock, whilst others headed out into the bay mainly in an attempt to escape the sweltering heat. With racing not scheduled to start until 1pm, by which time the sea breeze is normally well settled, the decision to postpone ashore was a surprising one and at 1230 the southerly thermal established itself.

Today, the X-35s had been moved to Charlie course, the furthest from Palma, and with some boats only just making it out to the start line, racing got underway just after the scheduled time. Seeing the Swan 45s (who start 6 minutes ahead of the X-35 fleet) getting knocked on starboard tack as they headed left, the fleet knew this would be a race of holding a lane out to the new breeze.

Turnstone Estates sponsored TEN looked like the leaders from the start, coming off the middle of the line with speed whilst Italian Tixelio also looked good. The fleet marched to the left hand side of the track and then all flipped onto port near the layline. Having started closer to the unfavoured pin end, British Cool Runnings – the overnight leaders - and Quantum Racing struggled in dirty air on the long port tack up to the windward mark.

The Quantum spinnaker of TEN was the first to be pulled up and the British boat led to the leeward gate. With the pressure holding in bands across the course, timing your cross over to the left hand side was crucial and it was here that Cool Runnings made big gains on the fleet. By the top of the second beat, they had moved into 2nd place, but were still nowhere near leaders TEN who took line honours. Tixelio finished third.

After a short turnaround, Race 6 got underway again with a clean start. By now the breeze had freshened to 14 knots and most of the boats set off on their code 2s. Holland’s Who’s Next looked good from the line and led the race to the finish. Yet the battle behind them was intense as many of the top boats were again forced to move up through the fleet after poor starts. Having finished 4th in the first race, X-Trific again found themselves in the top five, as did fellow Italians Giochelotta and Tixelio. By the end of the two laps, Cool Runnings had pulled back into 6th place, whilst Quantum Racing made 7th and TEN could only manage an 11th.

Protests and measurement checks are still underway, but are unlikely to affect the top spots. Cool Runnings lead overnight with 17 points, Italian X-Trific second with 28 and Turnstone TEN third with 35. Tomorrow the one and only discard allowed for the series comes into play which should benefit Quantum Racing, currently in fifth place with 40 points and carrying a 19th place shocker.

Race 7 starts tomorrow at 1pm.

Full results can be found at prensa.rcnp.es/coparey2008/resulta/monotipo/gen44004.htm

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