Sailing - Lavarello in complete control of the 2021 King’s Cup
The second race of the Patron series was held on Saturday in a decent Easterly wind with the course set for the traditional route between Western Beach and the RAF mark.
The race got off to a close start with Pablo Villar, deputising for the absent John Bassadone (who was at the RC44 World Championships in Italy), getting the best start just ahead of Hamish Risso in Fencer and Nick Cruz in Eos.
Charlie Lavarello meanwhile had started at the right end of the line but had done so on port and so had had to give way to all the boats coming past on starboard which forced him to sail to the less favourable southern end of the course.
As the leading boats tacked off at the Spanish mole, it was Pablo Villar who cemented his lead followed very closely by Nick Cruz and Hamish Risso whilst behind them Charlie Lavarello had sailed into an area with little wind and was really struggling at the back of the fleet a long way behind the leaders.
At the first mark rounding at Western Beach it was Pablo Villar who managed to make the most of a northerly puff and round the first mark just ahead of Hamish Risso with Nick Cruz in third and Charlie Lavarello still languishing well behind in 6th place.
On the first run, it was Nick Cruz in EOS who managed to take to most direct route to the mark and, benefiting from some excellent spinnaker taking from Joey Imossi, managed to push ahead of both Hamish and Pablo to round the RAF mark just ahead of them both, with Hamish getting the better of Pablo to round in second whilst behind them Charlie Lavarello was slowly making ground on those ahead of him but still only managing to round in 6th.
After rounding the RAF, the leading 3 boats all headed towards the south, whilst behind them Monty Spindler deputising for Charlie Stagnetto in Fairdawn, Michael Double deputising for Micko Sheppard-Capurro and Charlie Lavarello had all tacked off to the north immediately.
On seeing this, and the fact that Nick was pulling away from him and Hamish, it was Pablo Villar who made the first move of the leading boats by also tacking towards the north followed quickly by Hamish and then Nick. However, it was soon clear that the damage had been done with Monty Spindler overtaking Nick and Hamish to go into second place behind Pablo.
As the boats continued on the beat, Monty made the fatal mistake of going too far south and in the process wasted all of his good work done in the north, falling back into 6th place whilst ahead of him the leading 5 boats all bunched up with Pablo just about holding off the challenge Hamish to retain his slim lead and round the Western Beach buoy first.
Just behind these two boats, the race was really hotting up with Charlie Lavarello, Nick Cruz and Michael Double all rounding the mark together and setting off for a titanic battle on the run to try and claim 3rd.
However, despite the best efforts of Michael Double to push the other two boats up to windward it was Charlie Lavarello on the outside that managed to do the best of the three and he rounded the RAF for the last time in 3rd place behind the leader Pablo and Hamish in second.
On the final beat up, Hamish and Pablo were keen not to make the same mistake as before and both tacked off to the north immediately upon rounding the RAF but Charlie Lavarello in third went for a different tactic and headed to the dreaded south where the leading boats had previously lost out and where Monty had gone from second to 5th a lap earlier.
Whilst Hamish and Pablo were engrossed in their own battles and being kept busy by the threat posed to their lead by a resurgent Nick Cruz and Michael Double, Charlie continued towards the south and once he tacked, the reason became obvious.
Much to the horror of the leading boats, Charlie had managed to find a beautiful southerly breeze which he took full advantage of to not only close the gap on his leading rivals but actually sail past them and take the lead.
In the remaining part of the beat, Hamish tried to go south to pick up some of Charlie’s breeze, but unfortunately for him it was not there, and in fact he was completely outpointed by Charlie in the north and so fell even further behind the new leader whilst Pablo tried desperately, but ultimately in vain, to try and overtake Charlie in the north.
In the end it was an incredible and comfortable win for Charlie and his crew, his 7th in the last 9 races, and one which seems to have clinched the title for him. Behind him Pablo took second whilst Hamish just managed to hold off Michael Double to take 3rd.
Patron 2 results
1. Charlie Lavarello in Nemesis (Crew John Armstrong & Dhiraj Nagrani)
2. Pablo Villar in Emendek
3. Hamish Risso in Fencer
2021 Kings Cup standings
1. Charlie Laverello in Nemesis - 17 points
2. John Bassadone & team in Emendek - 20 points
3. Hamish Risso in Fencer - 21 Points
The results mean that Charlie Lavarello now leads the Kings Cup by 3 points with only 4 races to go. Although this lead is not unassailable, it is definitely commanding and two good results in the final two races of the Patron series next week should be enough for Charlie to claim another King’s Cup.