Santa Margherita Ligure, 30 April 2008: A few hours separate us from the start of the Regate Pirelli – Trofeo Carlo Negri in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, organized by the Yacht Club Italiano, the opening event of the Quebramar GP42 Cup 2008.
The line up for the inaugural event of the Quebramar GP42 Cup 2008 is impressive and scores of America’s Cup and Olympic sailors will be racing on the waters of the beautiful bay of Santa Margherita.
All boats are now side by side on the Italian city’s yacht club pier and despite the cold and rainy weather, shore crews are putting the final touches on the GP42 yachts in order to have them race ready for tomorrow, Thursday, first day of the event.
There are great expectations for this season’s newcomers in the class, Roma GP42.2 and Airis from Italy, Near Miss from Switzerland and MADRID from Spain, that have decided to have a new boat designed and built in order to participate in this growing class and that will undoubtedly use every minute before the races in order to fine tune their yachts and crew.
The Italian boat Roma GP42.2 will be helmed by top match racer Paolo Cian, freshly arrived victorious from the Brazilian stage of the world match racing circuit, while another world-class match racer, Sébastien Col, will be calling tactics. At the same time, Roma GP42.1, a vintage 2006 boat and the very first one of the class will be helmed by its owner and class president, Filippo Faruffini. Sandro Montefusco and Roberto Benamati, both world-class Olympic sailors, will be leading the crew of Airis. The fourth Italian team, Seawonder 007, will continue last year’s excellent performance, second overall, with Argentinean 470 Olympic medallist Javier Conte.
The America’s Cup crowd will also have a strong presence here, among them Alicia Ageno, the only woman and navigator aboard Canarias Puerto Calero, the Spanish team that despite a late start in last year’s season showed a very promising performance. It goes without saying that last year’s champions, Spanish EL DESAFIO, will once again aim at the top spot, with a modified boat and an all-America’s Cup crew lead by helmsman Laureano Wizner and tactician Santiago Lopéz-Vasquez. The third Spanish team, MADRID, is making its debut in the GP42 class, skippered by Finn and Star champion and Olympic medallist Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg.
Last but certainly not least, a Swiss team will make its debut in the GP42 class. Near Miss, flying the colors of Société Nautique de Genève, will hit the waters of the Santa Margherita bay with Bertrand Pacé at the helm, Tanguy Cariou calling tactics and Alinghi’s Tom Schnackenberg as navigator.
The level will undoubtedly be very high and all 8 boats will have to race smartly and efficiently from Thursday, May 1st. A maximum of 3 upwind/downwind races are scheduled for the opening day, starting at 11am.