The ORC Sportboat fleet has gathered in Portoroz and is ready to race starting tomorrow Tuesday 27 August having passed their measurement checks and registration and inspection formalities. These include weighing all boats, checking all sails to be used (and measuring them when necessary), and checking all safety equipment.
The first race on the four-day schedule is a Coastal race from Portoroz north around Piran and around a mark set off the coast near Izola, and return. The time limit is 1900 CET.
Inshore windward/leeward racing then starts on Wednesday, 28 August and continues daily through Friday 30 August. Six inshore races are planned in addition to the Coastal race, and no more than three inshore races will be run per day.
In total there are 30 boats from 8 countries: 18 in Division A and 12 in Division B to be raced and scored separately. Corinthian trophies will be awarded to entries that qualify with all-amateur crew.
The boat that is drawing most of the attention is Banda Larga, an old Ultimate 30 designed by Farr and originally called Longobarda, which has been refitted and raced in the last few years in lakes in Northern Italy by Piero Re Fraschini, CEO of the company that bears his name. This firm is renowned for building high-precision parts for large sailboats, such as the keel bulb for Comanche, and special carbon fiber parts for Ferrari.
Banda Larga races with a crew of eight, six of them hanging on a trapeze, have no engine and just a centerboard. The helmsman is the multi-decorated Flavio Favini, with Tiziano Nava calling tactics, and 4 more distinguished Italian crews. The GPH of this 30-foot speedster is close to the same as a TP52, and there is a big difference with the second fastest entry, Christian Babich’s Thompson 630 Esco Matto No Limits from Switzerland and refitted in Trieste to participate in the very popular local Open class. The third fastest is Cattivik, Gianni de Visintini’s UFO 28 who is has the fastest GPH rating of Class B at 572 sec/mile, having symmetric spinnakers as well as the Delta 84’s in that class.
Starting from the slow end of the list in Class A there is a fleet of eight Melges 24’s, coming from different countries – as far away as Ukraine. In Class A there are also three FarEast 28’s and two Esse 850’s.
In Class B Paolo Nava’s Veruschka, a Rivetto design that started racing with the IOR Mini Tonners in the early 1980’s and marked the start of the career of Claudio Maletto as a designer, has the slowest GPH rating at 723 sec/mile, followed (from the bottom up) by other smaller One Designs, such as Damajan Miljavec’s Elan Express Nika and Beniamino Zermini’s SB 20 Eavle.
At about 150 sec/mile, it is a large range of rated speeds, and it will be a tough test for the handicap system. The Sportboat segment of the ORC world is indeed intended to mix in the same fleet different types of One Designs, but allows modifications and obviously accepts one-off boats as well.