Alex Shaerer and team Caol Ila on top at Rolex Capri.

After winning the Tre Golfi offshore line honour trophy Alex Schaerer’s Maxi72 Caol Ila continued its winning ways by concluding Rolex Capri Sailing Week in ultra-close fashion in the racer division. Caol Ila just knocked Sir Peter Odgen’s 77ft mini maxi Jethou off the top spot after she secured a second place in the final race as Jethou came home fourth.

This was so close that initially the Caol Ila R crew felt they had lost. As Schaerer explained: “It was tough because we needed one boat between us and Jethou in order to win. We were hopeful we could get Vesper [Jim Swartz’] between us but that didn’t work by 12 seconds. So then we said ‘that’s fine - Jethou did a good job this week – they won."

It was only when the time of Roberto Lacorte’s Mills Vismara 62 SuperNikka was corrected out, that it was found she had slipped into third, beaten by Caol Ila R by just two seconds. After discards were applied, Caol Ila knocked Jethou into second by 0.75 points with SuperNikka (the half-way stage leader) third, just 0.5 further astern after five races.

“Capri is a place I always love and it is good to come for regattas because it is not a place you go to the beach!” continued Schaerer, refuting the idea that sailing in Capri is typically a light wind affair. “We’ve always had wind here. In the Volcano Race one year we had 55 knots!”

Similarly this week, light it generally wasn’t, with an outstanding, giant windward-leeward yesterday in 12 knots while today’s race saw the wind gusting up to 20 knots, albeit dying towards the finish.

Today’s course included a beat of more than an hour’s duration, followed by a run and a partial lap of Capri in moderate winds but oceanic-scale seas, challenging both helmsman and crew.

Jethou’s Sir Peter Ogden admitted that after a glowing start to the regatta, today hadn’t been their best. “We were quick upwind but we didn’t sail downwind like we’ve done all week. We seemed slow. It’s dampened our optimism a bit.”

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