In lottery conditions which failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the watching crowd ashore, nor did the rain, the big race of the Naples leg of the America’s Cup World Series, and the fleet racing crown, went to the local favourites, the Prada-backed Luna Rossa.
Watching his team make its event debut was the fashion house boss Patrizio Bertelli; at the helm was British Olympic medallist Chris Draper; essential to the hugely popular victory was Draper’s tactician and local star, Francesco Bruni. Alongside them were British crewmen David ‘Freddie’ Carr and Nick Hutton plus Italy’s Pierluigi de Felice in the fifth slot.
It rounded off a week in which one day’s excellent racing was offset by weather which closed the race village for one day as tough conditions saw one of the nine boars capsize. Lumpy seas kept the 45-foot wing-powered catamarans ashore for one of the weekend days, and rain made viewing more Medway than Mediterranean.
The Swedish team Artemis, skippered by Terry Hutchinson and to which British double Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy will return in October, won the match racing section.
There will doubtless be a serious review by the city authorities, who have signed up for another regatta in May next year and, as the series promoters hope to add Qatar to the programme for 2012-13, changes are already being discussed as the circuit moves on to Venice next month.
The last boat racing on the fifth leg of the Volvo round the world race from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil, Spain’s Camper, is expected to arrive overnight Monday and pick up 15 very hard-earned points. The Team New Zealand-managed contender was forced to stop in Puerto Montt, Chile, for repairs and will be under pressure to turn the boat round for an inshore race on Saturday and the start of leg six to Miami.
Under even more pressure is Abu Dhabi’s Azzam, still being shipped to Brazil and needing two 4m x 1m panels to be cut into either side of the boat. The overall leader, Spain’s Telefónica, faces a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday for carrying an extra sail on leg four from Hainan Island, China, to Auckland.