The coveted Trofeo Challenger Armatore Costa d’Argento was won overall by the J/24 AVOLTORE sailed by her owner Massimo Mariotti (member of Circolo Nautico and Vela Argentario). They won the IRC Category and also finished second overall in the ORC ranking after a fierce battle with the Grand Soleil 46 Pierservice Luduan sailed by fellow club member Enrico de Crescenzo (CNdVA). “This year, my club with other major Argentario clubs (the Yacht Club Santo Stefano and the Circolo della Vela Talamone) established the Trofeo Challenger Armatore Costa d’Argento which included three offshore races: Caravaggio Trophy race held on 19 and 20 March; Pasquavela held from March 26 to 28 at YCSS; and the Royal Trophy Deans of Spain held from April 9 to 10,” explained Massimo Mariotti. “The battle, since the first race, the Trophy Caravaggio, was between Pierservice Luduan and Avoltore. While Pierservice Luduan won regularly on elapsed time, Avoltore emerged on several occasions at the top of standings on corrected time. After Pasquavela, Avoltore led the ORC ranking by 0.5 points. So, it was the third, and final, event that would make the difference. The first day of the Royal Trophy Deans of Spain saw Pierservice Luduan beat Avoltore for just 37 seconds on corrected time. Therefore, the two teams were playing for all the marbles in the second and final day. The first day of the Royal Trophy Deans of Spain was a 20nm race around four offshore buoys, characterized by all possible winds (the sirocco to the mistral) that, for a few hours, blew with great intensity. The crews, in fact, were heavily engaged in a game of tactics to make the most of the winds. At first, fighting in light winds (from the southeast between 5-7 knots) and then, after a strong wind shift (towards Northeast, gusting to 20 knots), we were forced to maneuver quickly and make rapid sail changes.” Mariotti continued to say, “Sunday, however, the race was about 30 miles from Porto Santo Stefano to Giannutri (the island tour) and arriving in Porto Ercole (basically a downwind run before passing Giannutri, then a beat to Cala Galera). Unfortunately, Avoltore stumbled in the wind shadow of the small isle of Hercules (near the finish), and the end result of the day was less brilliant as could be. Certainly, the race with the larger boats offshore completely changes the tactics of the race and is less strenuous but no less fun than racing between one-designs. Sailing offshore tests true navigation, it’s a bit more relaxed, and you are sailing in the beautiful sea of Argentario. Aboard Avoltore was our crew of Lorenzo Sclano, Alessandro Pucci, Marianna Buzzetti and myself at the helm. I wish to emphasize that Alexander (about 25 years) and Marianna (about 17 years), who were sailing the J/24 for the first time ever, were absolutely superb! The J/24 has behaved very well with all speeds and on all occasions, impressing opponents (especially, those sailing “big boats”) for its versatility and for the brilliant achievements! Thank you Rod Johnstone, amazing boat, even today!” For Trofeo Challenger Armatore Costa d’Argento sailing information, visit http://www.ycss.it/.