Aspire and Artemis slug it out for 5.5 Metre World Championship in Porto Cervo

Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemysław Gacek, Edward Wright) and Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli-Saether) extended on the fleet with a race win apiece on the penultimate day of the 2023 5.5 Metre World Championship at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo, Sardinia. Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John Bacon, James Mayjor, Terry Wetton) moves up to third.


Thursday brought light and occasionally moderate winds for a great day of racing in Porto Cervo, while many of the top 10 recorded some high scores, which opened the gap for the top two boats.

The first race started with a Mistral wind of 8-9 knots with several boats over the line at the start, which left them playing catch up. The front runners from the start were Jean Genie (GBR 43, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Ruairadh Scott), Aspire and Ku-Ring-Gai III rounding the first windward mark in that order, very close to each other. 

The Jean Genie
The Jean Genie

Aspire and Ku-Ring-Gai III used the downwind pressure well, both passing Jean Genie and from that point onward, they led the race, with Aspire crossing first ahead of Ku-Ring-Gai IIIJean Genie managed to secure third on the last downwind leg, passing Artemis.

In the next race, Artemis, did everything right to lead upwind and round the top mark, and while constantly challenged, maintained the lead to win the race. It was a close very race with the wind sometimes increasing to about 12 knots. The battle included Jean GenieGirls on Film (GBR 41, Louise Morton, Andrew Mills, Sam Haines) and Aspire.

However, Artemis was flawless, staying focused despite the narrow margins. Aspire also sailed well, passing Jean Genie at the second windward mark and challenging Girls on Film for second. However, the British team crossed second with Aspire in third. 

After few days struggling with light winds, Scandinavian Gold Cup winner, Jean Genie posted a 3,4 to move back up to fifth overall.

Overall, Aspire maintain the overall lead on 19 points, followed by Artemis in second place with 23. Ku-Ring-Gai III moves up to third. Behind them, the points are really close with just ten points between the next six boats. It is still very much all to play for on Friday.

Ku-Ring-Gai III
Ku-Ring-Gai III

John Bacon said, “What fantastic news to be in third place overall. The first race today was incredible for us. We hit the water keeping in mind the words of our coach: he told us today would be our day. We sailed without mistakes, with excellent trim, and managed to bring home the best result of the entire week.

He paid tribute to the leading two boats, Artemis and Aspire are sailing fantastic and that’s great to see, but hopefully we can work our way up.

“Hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow. We are happy to be here in Porto Cervo, representing our club and our country, sailing in a fantastic fleet.”

Fabrizio Cavazza, President of the Italian 5.5 Metre Class and helmsman aboard Cibele, the leading Classic boat here, “We find ourselves in a stunning location, with fantastic weather characterized by sun and wind, and we have been warmly welcomed by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. In short, it’s been a fantastic week, and we are having a great time.

“The 5.5 Class comprises three different types of hulls: Modern, Evolution, and Classic. I own a classic boat, and it’s significant that, after many years, the World Championship is taking place in Italy and has gathered virtually the entire Italian fleet, eight boats out of ten. The event, with 34 participating boats, has attracted teams from 10 different nations.”

Just two races remain on Friday to decide whether the title goes to Poland, Norway, or perhaps elsewhere. The wind looks light, but it will be a close finish.

Results after 8 races
1 Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemysław Gacek, Edward Wright) 19
Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli-Saether) 23
3 Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John Bacon, James Mayjor, Terry Wetton) 41
4 John B (BAH 26, Gavin McKinney, Mathias Dahlman, Lars Horn Johannessen) 43
5 The Jean Genie (GBR 43, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Ruairadh Scott) 45
6 New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 46
7 Girls on Film (GBR 41, Louise Morton, Andrew Mills, Sam Haines) 49
Ali Baba (SUI 224, Flavio Marazzi, Julie Marazzi, Eline Marazzi) 51
Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Daniel Stampfli, Nicolas Berthoud) 57
10 Shaolin (SUI 226, Philippe Dürr, Andreas Kindlimann, Hans Von Werdt) 57

Results after 8 races:

Many more photos from day 4 here:

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