domingo, 12 de octubre de 2014

"LATIFA" gana al "EILEAN" en el reto de la Isla de Elba

El bermudiano yawl de1936, Latifa, gana la regata contra el "Eilean", bermudiano ketch de la Officine Panerai

El sábado 4 de octubre era la fecha fijada para el desafío en la Isla de Elba entre "Eilean", barco de época de Officine Panerai , y "Latifa", también construido por el gran arquitecto escocés William Fife III en el mismo año. Las dos bellezas de vela proporcionaron una batalla maravillosamente reñida y emocionante en la lengua de mar entre las islas de Elba y Capraia, con "Latifa" como ganador general.

El bermudiano yawl, que estaba patroneado por su dueño Mario Pirri , arrojó el guante al CEO de Panerai, Angelo Bonati, hace unos meses durante la Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, el circuito internacional para barcos de época y clásicos que recientemente llegó a la conclusión de la temporada con Les Régates Royales de Cannes. Las reglas eran simples : los dos competidores comenzarían desde la Marina Marciana en la isla de Elba , regata hasta la isla de Capraia y regreso, con una distancia de 36 millas en total. El primero de los dos que cruzase la línea de meta sería el ganador (sin ningún tipo de rating, en tiempo real). Las única regla eran que los dos competidores irían con el mismo número de tripulantes a bordo y ser patroneado por sus propietarios.

Los dos barcos se reunieron en los muelles del Circolo Vela de la Marina Marciana. Una moneda decidió qué barco saldría a barlovento. Eilean ganó el sorteo. Después de que los dos capitanes se dieran la mano, los barcos y las tripulaciones abandonaron el puerto deportivo con un tiempo absolutamente perfecto: la temperatura superó los 20 grados, visibilidad excelente , sin perturbaciones y una agradable brisa del nordeste.

Once they had exited the port and hoisted their main sails, Latifa and Eilean began the classic tacking and gybing match-race pre-start circling manoeuvres. At 10.25, the two boats drew alongside each other in a wind of around 8 knots, the agreed signal was given and the race began. Both Eilean and Latifa had aboard crews made up of both Italian and foreign sailors, nautical brokers, classic boat owners and naval gear specialists. Manoeuvres aboard Eilean were coordinated by Captain Andrew Cully and Mauro Patruno, an Italian Navy boatswain with a long string of classic yacht regattas and a round-the-world voyage aboard the naval training vessel Orsa Maggiore, to his credit.
Within a few seconds of the start, Eilean’s crew sprang into action to boost her speed, hoisting sails such as the mizzen staysail and asymmetric gennaker, which saw her power up to 6 knots and leave Latifa trailing in her wake. However, between the late morning and early afternoon, Latifa bridged that gap to a large extent, holding her position downwind from Eilean, but still edging closer to Capraia all the time. Towards 14.00, however, Latifa took advantage of an onshore breeze which saw her round the agreed mark – a GPS point located near Punta del Ferraione - ahead of Eilean. This hailed the start of her return leg to Marciana Marina. Eilean, in fact, didn’t gybe around the same mark and begin chasing Pirri’s boat until half an hour later.
The Panerai yacht gradually made up the distance until she was just a short way off her rival’s stern. However, after five hours of racing, Latifa hit upon the perfect sailing trim and took off once again. In the light air, her lighter 40-ton displacement (Eilean’s is 50), smaller, more aerodynamic deckhouse and cleaner hull (Eilean had come to the challenge having covered at least 2,500 nautical miles in the season) made all the difference. At 15.50, 22 miles into the race with a further 16.5 left to port at Marciana Marina, Eilean realised it would be impossible to continue under sail in virtually no wind. She then officially communicated to Latifa she was abandoning the challenge and conceded defeat.
The prize-giving ceremony took place later in the afternoon aboard Latifa. Giancarlo Lodigiani, representing A.I.V.E., the Italian Classic Sailing Association of which both yachts are members, presented Mario Pirri with a gold medal engraved with Eilean and Latifa’s names and the year of the challenge. Latifa’s owner also received a further gift of two cases of champagne.
Mr Pirri declared: “I am not a competitive sailor - I love sailing just for the enormous pleasure of blue water cruising. I was a little concerned before this challenge and I admit I studied Eilean in detail, starting with her sail plan. We were lucky enough to take advantage of an onshore breeze at Capraia which allowed us beat our rival. I wouldn’t rule out repeating the challenge but perhaps we could introduce a few corrective parameters to create a better balance between two boats considered unique works of art of their kind. My compliments to Officine Panerai for the classic siling circuit which has been promoting and nurturing historic boat culture as a whole for the last 10 years.” 

Eilean, “little island” in Gaelic, was built by the Fife shipyard to a William Fife III design in 1936 and splashed the following year. Eilean has completed no less than 36 Atlantic crossings, and has sailed back and forth between Europe and Antigua for most of her long career. In 1982, she was used as the floating set for Duran Duran’s video for their hit song Rio. In 2006, Eilean was discovered in a very dilapidated condition by luxury Italian watchmaker Officine Panerai. The company immediately purchased her and moved her by cargo ship to Viareggio and the Francesco Del Carlo yard. There she remained for over three years during which time she was completely and meticulously restored. Eilean has a composite hull made of 4 cm Burmese teak planking on galvanised iron ribs, floor plates, beams and reinforcements. Almost all of her original hull planking was saved during her renovations. In 2012, Eilean completed another transatlantic voyage. 

Mention Latifa, one of Fife’s most elegant yachts, and you can’t help but mention Mario Pirri, a valiant seafarer who has owned her since 1976. He took his family on a round-the-world voyage aboard the teak and steel-built Latifa in 1994-95, as well as undertaking no less than 11 solo Atlantic crossings and one of the Indian Ocean. Characterised by her canoe stern, she was built for Michael Mason and finished second in both the 1937 and 1939 Fastnets. She was used to search for clandestine German submarine bases in Irish waters during the second world war. In 2009, the yawl won the Gerry Zaccagni prize at the Vele Storiche Viareggio which is awarded to historic craft whose crews have combined meticulous maintenance with seafaring prowess. Latifa also won the overall prize at the Antigua Concours d’Elegance in both 2001 and 2011. In 2013, she triumphed in the Fife Regatta in Scotland too.

Founded in Florence in 1860 as a workshop, shop and school of watch-making, for many decades Officine Panerai supplied the Italian Navy in general, and its specialist diving corps in particular, with precision instruments. The designs developed by Panerai in that time, including the Luminor and Radiomir, were covered by the Military Secrets Act for many years and were launched on the international market only after the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997. Today Officine Panerai develops and crafts its movements and watches at its Neuchâtel manufacture. The latter are a seamless melding of Italian design flair and history with Swiss horological expertise. Panerai watches are sold across the world through an exclusive network of distributors and Panerai boutiques.

In honour of its historic links to the sea, Officine Panerai has promoted classic sailing culture for many years through its sponsorship of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the leading international circuit for these vintage craft. In 2007, the company also acquired and restored the Bermudan ketch Eilean. Built in 1936 by the legendary Fife yard at Fairlie in Scotland, she is now the brand’s ambassador at vintage and classic boat rallies and regattas. 

The Italian Classic Sailing Association (A.I.V.E) was founded in 1982 to preserve the historic, artistic and technical legacy of vintage yachts launched before 1950, and classic craft launched up to 1975. The Association is headquartered at the Yacht Club Italiano in Genoa and is recognised by FIV (the Italian Sailing Federation) as well as being a member of CIM – the International Committee for the Mediterranean. A.I.V.E promotes the maintenance and restoration of classic and vintage craft with the aim of preserving their original nature, structural solidity and historic and aesthetic value.

Fuente: Prensa Officine Panerai

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©Luis Fernandez