Claudio Recchi could certainly be described as eccentric – this is a guy who once landed his helicopter between cars in the parking lot of a ski area, opened up the hatch, took out his boots, poles, and skis, and walked off to the lift like it was completely ordinary. He was so inspired by the story of the brave passengers on the hijacked 9/11 Flight 93 and what it meant about people coming together for a common cause that he named his boat after them.
After two races, Team 93 has proven loose and quick and sweet off the line to lead the 2009 Audi Melges 32 Worlds by 4 points. Jonathan McKee is on his game, main trimmer Flavio Favini is working well with Recchi to pass boats when possible and hold lanes where necessary, and of course, the SAYC burgee on their boom doesn’t hurt! Recchi’s leading the event by 4 points over Joe Woods’ "Red" and Pieter Taselaar’s "Bliksem."
Despite big, sloppy waves driven by up to 19 knots from the open sea, carnage was minimal – in fact, the only real drama on the day resulted when Sei Tu and Hublot locked rigs, with both finishing their race, though both rigs needed extensive repair work and when we left the dockyard the jury was still out on whether one needed replacement. There was another mild fender bender when Highlife’s spinnaker pole hit Janas pushpit, rapping the GBR boat’s kite all up in the Sardinian entry’s shit – but no major damage resulted.
As we noticed yesterday, this event definitely has a different vibe than most big boat regattas. You don’t often see two crews lined up in the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda piazza chugging beer in Boat Race in between bouts of rugby like they did today, though to be fair, much of that is due to the wacky American and Aussie crews on Bliksem (sail number 69) and Argo. Time to step up to the party plate, Italians. We know you have drinking games too.
You can of course check out all of Day 1’s shaky video action (those nasty waves again) organized in order in the thread, as well as Mer’s excellent slide show and gallery and other info from around the course and around the world. Results are here, crew lists are here – it seems this class is where the Olympic, VOR, and AC sailors go when there’s no Olympics, VOR, or AC to sail. And they seem to be having a ball.
The forecast calls for 20+ knots tomorrow, with clouds and possibly rain. Not so nice for our heads or our cameras, but great for spectating and for the racers’ adrenaline levels, and we hope you join us for some fun on the water. We made some calls and got a bigger hamster for the wheel that runs our wireless connection too, so we should have near-live video from all the action tomorrow – when we’re not ducking waves and rain. The organizer’s blog is also informative if quite dry, while Offshore Rules, Adesso Vela, and Zerogradinord have good coverage as well. If you love this shit, you can’t get enough of it, and there certainly is plenty of media attention at this main event of the European autumn.
You can also check out the archived clips from today’s live OTW Anarchy "Cocktail Hour," where we talked to Argo’s Molly Baxter, Bliksem’s George Peet, Highlife’s Chris Dorey, Team 93’s Andrea Vigoni, Matalan’s Enrico Menno, and Uka Uka Racing’s Paolo Mangialardo about all sorts of cool shit. This is a fun format and we’re going to do more of it in the future.