Flying Dutchman Reloaded

Kingdom Team Netherlands wins the second Event of the Persico 69F Cup

 

There are many different ways to send messages to your opponents. For example, if your goal is to train for the Youth America’s Cup, you could go to Gargnano, participate in the Grand Prix 1.2 of the Persico 69F CUP – the only foil monotype for crew currently available to train on for the important event in February 2021 – and win; perhaps in the last available race, perhaps even beating some crews with Olympians on board; you could also win five runs out of 12 raced, including – and decisively – the last run worth double-points.

Here, in summary, is the message – loud and clear – sent by Kingdom Team Netherlands to future Youth America’s Cup opponents: the young athletes, all four between 20 and 21 years old, two boys and two girls, have won the second Event of the first Grand Prix of the Persico 69F CUP. They won ahead of Swiss Team Tixwave and B&G, the crew composed of Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol, who were great protagonists in Gargnano together with Simone Salvà. More significantly, the Kingdom Team Netherlands secured this victory in the days of Micol-Conti’s eighth anniversary of London 2012, their Olympic performance that saw them place in fifth in the 470 class.

Today a perfect Ora wind – which reached up to 14 knots with smooth water – allowed the crews to carry out four races, the most competitive since the start of the Grand Prix. This was possible thanks to the “learning curve” said the organizers: the more hours the teams sail, the more they learn to handle foils, the closer they get to each other, the more competitive the races become. Today’s trials saw two B&G wins, one for Petite Terrible’s Claudia Rossi – thrilled to have dominated the foils, as it was her first time – and lastly a first place victory, decisive for the ranking, for Kingdom Team Netherlands. This was also an opportunity to show great pride for the very young Marco Gradoni, the 16-year-old helmsman three-time Optimist class World Champion and now an athlete in the 470 class, experiencing a capsizing but also a first buoy passed first.

The second place belongs to the Swiss Team Tixwave and their conservative approach: they have focused on the strategy of being consistent, making the most of the regulations by going fast, choosing effective routes, earning top speed points, and staying – above all – away from penalties. B&G with Conti, Micol and Salvà in the role of fly controller, would have finished, calculating only the order of arrival, in second place, but it was precisely the penalties that affected and relegated them to third place: “It is the “bubble” (the mandatory space between boats, “reinforced” in the specific regulation of the Persico 69F regatta) that made things difficult” – explains Giulia Conti – “it is necessary to have the eye trained to calculate the distance between boats. When you are going fast you risk getting too close, and the referees are always at their post and attentive.”

The end of Grand Prix 1 also sees the stage standings, which takes into account the placements of all the crews who participated in the two Events: in the lead with 5 points there is both Roberto Lacorte’s FlyingNikka 47 and the Kingdom Team Netherlands, the two winners of the Events.

The Persico 69F CUP returns in September, in Malcesine, with the Grand Prix 2 to “animate” Foiling Week, but the boats won’t go on vacation: in two weeks, again in Gargnano, the Revolution CUP begins, and already the name explains that it won’t be something conventional. For this occasion, the regulations will also be innovative: it will consist of two “heats” with 20 crews registered and a formula on the board. The first 20 crews to race will all be Under 25, the second heat will see in the water crews presented by a yacht club.

Now the amazing shore team of the event, consisting of young sailors, enters the scene: they have two weeks to fine-tune the boats and set up “the revolution”.

RUN ANALYSIS

The first regatta of the day saw the Candelluva capsizing in the first few seconds of the race, keeping Gradoni and partners out of the running for a competitive placing. The start was standard, with nine knots of wind, and the regatta on a quadrilateral starting with a reaching start. The whole Run became focused on the Kingdom Team Netherlands and B&G; the two crews – the young Dutch and Micol-Conti took turns in the first position during the race, and took advantage of the sudden change in wind from the left on the third leg and its return towards the end of the race. The Kingdom Team Netherlands crossed the finish line first, with Conti-Micol-Salvà in second, the Swiss Team in third and Petite Terrible finishing in fourth place.

Leading into Run 10, the Ora wind strengthened once again, reaching up to 12 knots: the race course was kept the same, but was moved slightly. Candelluva was ready to race with the other teams again, and indeed started with a burst of speed, turning the first buoy second. Run 10 saw the learning curve of the crews becoming steeper: the quality increased, the hulls moved fast and were getting closer and closer. B&G immediately took flight, creating a gap large enough to lock in first place. Behind them was a fight between the Swiss Team, who finished second, and the Kingdom Team Netherlands in third.

The Ora wind continued to ramp up: Run 11 was one of the most competitive to date and was a test of pride for Petite Terrible, who won leaving the others behind to fight. It was racing with the most beautiful conditions: wind up to 14 knots and smooth water. The Swiss lead by the first buoy, but Claudia Rossi, who evidently learned to “tame” the foil, took the first position, which she did not give up until the end of the race. The Kingdom Team Netherlands, the Swiss Team Tixwave and B&G “traded paint” for second place, which the Swiss team eventually claimed, followed by the Dutch. From behind Gradoni recovered meter by meter and took fourth place, while B&G passed in an instant from second place to last, because on these boats, really, nothing is for certain.

The Grand Prix 1.2 ended with Run 12, with the scores of the last round worth double: still perfect conditions for full foil, but at the start of the run Petite Terrible got an OCS, and they continued their run knowing they had accrued penalty points in the standings. The run saw the wind dying down, and Kingdom Team Netherlands took the lead in the last leg, leaving the Swiss Team in fourth place: wins are built on the details, and in the decisive moments.