Hamish Risso wins Patron 3 to close in on Charlie Lavarello
With just three races left, the win leaves Charlie Lavarello only 3 points ahead of Hamish with John Bassadone and team two points further back.
The third race of the Patron took place in light and variable southerly winds, with occasional puffs from both the West and the East to add some more excitement and unpredictability to what has already been a tight battle for the 2021 Kings Cup.
As is usual in a southerly breeze, the start line was just off the runway near the Spanish pier and the competitors had to do two laps of a course from the buoy off the Spanish Pier to one inside the harbour just off Queensway Quay.
The race commenced with the boats down the pin end of the line getting the best starts which meant that Charlie Lavarello in Nemesis, Charlie Stagnetto in Fairdawn and Pablo Villar, once again deputising for the absent John Bassadone in Emendek, were all able to tack off to the west ahead of Hamish Risso in Fencer and Micko Sheppard-Capurro in Andromeda who had started halfway down the line.
As the boats headed out into the bay, it was soon clear that those that had tacked off early were doing well and pulling ahead of the rest due to the slightly stronger wind that they were in and this meant that Charlie Lavarello had taken an early lead ahead of Pablo Villar in second and Charlie Stagnetto in third.
However, very soon after there was a South easterly wind shift which suddenly meant that Louis Triay Snr, sailing the rebuilt Viking for the first time since their massive crash at the start of the season, was suddenly looking good along with the other boats near the North Mole and so the leading 3 boats took the decision to tack back in towards the mole to protect their positions leaving Hamish in a weaker position further out to the West.
As the leading boats reached the north mole and tacked back out, Hamish was able to do the opposite and tack into the mole and this time it was his turn to take advantage of the south easterly puffs and close in on the leaders. However, as they came into the harbour for the first time, once again it was Louis Triay Snr who used all of his experience to take advantage of some westerly puffs to not only catch the leaders but pull ahead and put himself into first place.
Unfortunately for Louis, this lead did not last too long and Charlie Lavarello was soon able to regain his lead as he raced down towards the midtown marina with Pablo Villar close by and Hamish Risso travelling fast just below him. Alex Dobbs also took good advantage of the shifting positions to put himself in a good position in the fleet just behind Hamish.
Charlie and Pablo then both decided to tack early and head back up to the detached mole whilst Hamish decided to take a risk and continue all the way down to the marina before tacking.
Luckily for Hamish, the gamble paid off and with some freeing south easterly puffs he was soon able to catch and then overtake Charlie Lavarello to round the mark in first place.
Once rounded, Hamish decided to sail low in order to stay in the stronger wind and this decision paid dividends with Hamish enjoying an almost private wind which, along with some great spinnaker work from his crew Paul Borda, pulled him well ahead of Charlie Lavarello and the rest of the chasing fleet who by that stage were really struggling to find any wind at all to fill their spinnakers.
As the run progressed, Hamish pulled further ahead and started to open up a very comfortable lead on the following fleet, whilst behind him the fleet bunched up. As a result of this bunching up, and with any slight advantage converting into a gain of 2 or 3 positions, the skippers were desperate to pull out all the stops in search of the advantage with some deciding to go further west in search of a breeze that had helped Louis Triay Snr earlier whilst others decided to hug the North Mole in search of the south easterly breeze that Hamish had found.
As it turned out, it was the boats nearest the mole that did best and this meant that Charlie Lavarello was once again able to pull ahead of the chasing fleet to cement his second place just ahead of the other beneficiaries, Charlie Stagnetto and Pablo Villar, who put themselves into 3rd and 4th respectively. On the outside of the fleet and slightly further back, Nick Cruz had, not for the first time this season, sailed another good run to overtake Louis Triay Snr, Micko Sheppard-Capurro and Alex Dobbs and put himself in 5th.
As Hamish reached the buoy off the Spanish mole, he was relieved to see the wind filling in from the south secure in the knowledge that this would assist him in holding on to his big advantage over Charlie Lavarello in the subsequent beat and run, whilst in some ways Charlie was also relieved as it would mean that he could also hold on to his second place rather than fall back into the pack where there was a risk of losing positions.
As expected, the large gaps in the field created by the lack of wind earlier and the subsequent increase in the wind on the final lap, resulted in there being very little change in the positions for the remainder of the race with Hamish eventually taking his easiest win of the season a few hundred metres ahead of Charlie Lavarello in second with Charlie Stagnetto just holding off Pablo Villar to take 3rd.
Patron 3 Results
Hamish Risso in Fencer (Crew Paul Borda & Miro Kunes)
Charlie Lavarello in Nemesis
Charlie Stagnetto in Fairdawn
The fourth race of the Patron cup commenced on Saturday but with under one lap completed, the race officer decided to call an end to proceedings due to a lack of wind much to the relief of Hamish Risso who was sitting in last place well behind the rest of the fleet.
This race will now be raced next week instead.
Patron Series Overall Standings
With 1 race left of the Patron series, Charlie Lavarello is in pole position with 4 points (1 x 1st, 2 x 2nd) ahead of John Bassadone’s team on 7 points (1 x 1st, 1 x 2nd and 1 x 4th) and Hamish Risso on 8 points (1 x 1st, 1 x 3rd and 1 x 5th). This means that Charlie Lavarello is favourite to win the Patron series but a win for either John Bassadone or Hamish in the final race next week would give them the cup instead.
Kings Cup Standings
With three races of the season left, Charlie Lavarello is still in a commanding position on 19 points, 3 ahead of Hamish Risso on 22 points. John Bassadone and team are in third on 24 points.
Only these three boats can now win the Kings Cup, with Micko Sheppard-Capurro and Charlie Stagnetto out of the running for the main prize as a result of their recent poor run of results.
This year’s exciting Kings Cup continues next weekend with the 4th ,and deciding, race of the Patron Cup which will surely prove to be as interesting and competitive as the season has been all year.