Wins for Hamish and Micko take Kings Cup to final decider, but Lavarello on verge of title (updated)
The last race of the Patron Series and the first race of the Ocean Cup were raced last weekend in medium Easterly winds with Micko Sheppard-Capurro and Hamish Risso winning one race each.
This means that the Kings Cup will once again be decided next weekend in the final race of the season with Charlie Lavarello and Hamish Risso battling it out once more for the championship in a repeat of last year's exciting deciding race. However, with one second and one third place in this weekend’s races, Charlie Lavarello is still the big favourite as he only needs to get into the top 3 in the final race to win the Kings Cup.
Patron Series – Race 4
The 4th race of the Patron Series was held on a course between Western Beach and the RAF mark a mile out into the bay.
It was Micko Sheppard-Capurro that got the best start at the pin end of the line just ahead of Hamish Risso in Fencer and Pablo Villar in Emendek, whilst behind them Charlie Stagnetto and Charlie Lavarello had to tack off towards the less favourable southern end of the course to clear their wind.
In the very close beat that ensured, Micko managed to keep ahead of the fleet to round in first place ahead of Hamish Risso in Fencer who misjudged the rounding slightly and slowed the boat right down as he pinched up to make the buoy thereby not only allowing Charlie Stagnetto to overtake him but also give Charlie Lavarello and Pablo Villar (once again deputising for the absent John Bassadone) the opportunity to close the gap on him substantially.
On the run down to the RAF, the fleet split slightly with Hamish and Charlie Stagnetto taking a more northerly route whilst the other 3 leading boats stayed further South. As a result of these decisions Micko managed to extend his lead quite comfortably whilst behind him Charlie Lavarello managed to sail a very good run to round the RAF mark in second place just ahead of Pablo Villar, with Charlie Stagnetto 4th and Hamish Risso 5th respectively.
As the boats sailed back up towards Western Beach, Hamish was the first to tack off to the north and this caused most of the other boats to also tack off north where the wind appeared stronger and more favourable. This decision appeared to pay off for Hamish and he temporarily closed in on the boats in front of him but it was never quite enough to overtake any of them.
At the front of the field, Micko was sailing a great beat to maintain his lead over the chasing pack whilst behind him Charlie Lavarello and Pablo rounded the mark very close to each other with Charlie Stagnetto and Hamish a little further back and starting to fall behind the leaders.
On the final run Micko managed to extend his comfortable lead whilst behind him, Charlie Lavarello and Pablo engaged in a battle downwind with Charlie just managing to hold on to round the RAF for the last time in second place.
As the boats headed up to the finish, the leading boats all decided to go north early with Pablo starting to put some serious pressure on Charlie Lavarello whilst further back Charlie Stagnetto and Hamish were also making gains to once again compress the field and set up an exciting final 200 metres.
With Micko finishing comfortably in first position, and Hamish making gains out in the south, the pressure was on Charlie Lavarello to try and keep the chasing boats behind him and this he managed to do successfully with a series of defensive tacks on top of Pablo whilst Pablo himself had to tack on Hamish to prevent him coming through and take his third place.
In the end Charlie Lavarello managed to hold on to take second place just ahead of Pablo with Hamish just pipping Charlie Stagnetto on the line to take a consolation 4th.
Patron Series – Race 4 results
1 Micko Sheppard-Capurro in Andromeda (Crew Michael Double & Esther del Pozo Sanchez)
2 Charlie Lavarello in Nemesis
3 Pablo Villar in Emendek
This means that Charlie Lavarello won the Patron Series with John Bassadone & Team winning the runners up.
Ocean Race 1
Since this was an Ocean race, the second race of the day was sailed on a longer course than the first with the course going all the way from Western Beach to a buoy off the port of Algeciras and once again it was Micko and Pablo that got the best starts in the north and forcing Hamish and Charlie Lavarello to the less favourable south.
Once again the first beat was a tense affair with Micko and Pablo holding on to their leads but behind them Hamish, Charlie Lavarello and Charlie Stagnetto were having a close battle to round the first mark in third. In the end it was Pablo that managed to round the first mark in first position with Micko just behind him whilst behind him the other 3 boats all went round together.
On the long run down to Algeciras, Micko attempted to take Pablo's wind with little or no impact whilst behind them Hamish stayed out in the north and started to pull away from the two Charlies and pull alongside the two leading boats thanks to a better breeze and some good spinnaker work from Phil Moyes who was sailing with Hamish as cover for the absent Paul Borda.
As Hamish got closer, Pablo decided to sail further north and engage the overtaking Hamish resulting in both boats sailing higher than was necessary and allowing the chasing boats to catch up a little. As the boats approached the Algeciras mark, Hamish had to accept defeat in his attempt to take the lead and instead turn his attention to ensuring that Micko would not pass him on the inside of the mark, leaving Pablo to round first.
Once rounded, Hamish made the decision to tack off to the north immediately whilst Pablo hesitated a little before also tacking off. Further back Micko stayed heading south and Charlie Lavarello and Charlie Stagnetto also headed south for a short while before tacking back towards the north.
Hamish's decision soon proved to be the correct one and this was even more evident as the boats behind him tacked once again back to the south leaving him alone in the north with a stronger and more favourable wind than the rest of the fleet.
As a result of this, Hamish arrived at the RAF mark well ahead of the chasing pack with Charlie Lavarello benefiting from his position as the most northerly boat of the pack to round in second just ahead of Pablo. Further back Micko's decision to stay south backfired spectacularly and he was forced to round the RAF in 5th place behind Charlie Stagnetto.
On the run back to Algeciras, Hamish managed to extend his lead thanks to a massive battle for second place behind him between Charlie Lavarello and Pablo Villar which resulted in both boats having to put in several gybes, slowing them both down in the process.
However, despite Pablo's efforts, Charlie Lavarello just about managed to round the Algeciras mark in second place behind Hamish and after sailing for about 50m or so in southerly direction, both Charlie Lavarello and Pablo soon tacked off to the north where Hamish had already headed immediately after rounding the mark.
On the beat back, all four chasing boats started to catch the leader Hamish whilst at the same time getting closer and closer to each other which resulted in Charlie Lavarello and Pablo exchanging tacks in the battle for second place. As they neared the Spanish mole, a tack out to the north by Pablo finally bore fruit and he was able to pass Charlie Lavarello and put himself into second place. However, this wasn't the only problem for Charlie Lavarello as Micko and Charlie Stagnetto were closing in on him and his once secure second place was threatening to turn into a nightmare 5th.
As the boats sailed to the finish Hamish was able to take another win whilst Pablo took second. Behind them Charlie Lavarello just managed to hold off the threat from Micko and Charlie Stagnetto to take a valuable 3rd pace.
Ocean Race 1 Results
1 Hamish Risso in Fencer (Crew Miro Kunes & Phil Moyes)
2 Pablo Villar in Emendek
3 Charlie Lavarello in Nemesis
Kings Cup Standings
1 Charlie Lavarello in Nemesis – 24 points
2 Hamish Risso in Fencer – 26 points
3 John Bassadone & team in Emendek – 29 points
This means that John Bassadone cannot now win 2021 Kings Cup and that only Charlie Lavarello and Hamish Risso can go in the final race of the season next weekend with any chance of winning the Championship. However, Charlie will be the big favourite going into the final race as he only needs to get one of the top 3 places to claim the championship whilst Hamish needs to win the final race and hope that Charlie does not finish inside the top 3 for him to take home the cup.
Updated with full report