North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Alberto Bolzan
#NSVICTORYLIST: CAIPIRINHA IS 2020 WORLD CHAMPION
Mainsail Trimmer Alberto Bolzan’s Take on the Melges 32 Worlds
The racing season for Martin Rejnes’ Caipirinha* started a little different than usual. Typically the crew gets together before the season begins and spends time on the water practicing and attending as many events as possible to get up to speed. Still, with the threat of COVID, their season jump-started at their first event. In a typical environment, the season’s start would allow teams to train and focus on improvement areas. This year, an exceptional year indeed, teams had little to no opportunity to fine-tune. Catching up with the mainsail trimmer, Alberto Bolzan, who had much to say about how this season was unlike others, but all the same how fun it is competing in such a high-level class with great competition and camaraderie.
“It was a bizarre season beginning for us. Starting much later this year, it was full-on, just taking what we’ve learned in previous years and trying to start where we left off. Fortunately, we were very fast from the get-go, as in previous years, which made things a little easier for us to get right back into it.”
Villasimius served up a little bit of everything for competitors, challenging all scopes of the crew work, boat speed, and tactical decisions. Alberto comments, “the secret to our success was speed, hands down. Thanks to that, we were able to take a conservative approach to each race for this championship. We also were very consistent when it came to race results. We did not win any races, but we kept our point count low.”
When it came to staying conservative, Caipirinha* made sure they got off the line. Clear air meant speed, which made all the difference. As far as staying consistent, it wasn’t only about race finishes. The team has the same pre-start plan, which they execute each race at each event. It included matching up with the fastest boats to make sure you were where you needed to be on the rig. “We made sure we stayed close to our competition,” said Alberto. “Although we got no bullets, we sailed what I would call a perfect championship.”
Before each day begins, their routine comes into play. “We assess the conditions, look at the forecast, and think about what we can do with our sail set up and rig tune. Once we leave the dock, we scope out the racing area. We sail around and try to figure out if any risks are depending on which side of the course we are on, so there are no surprises,” said Alberto. Collecting valuable information before the race started allowed them to focus on other things. “In a few of the lighter air races, making the right observations pre-start was the contributing factor to our success,” said Alberto.
What makes Capiriniha’s* sailing program strong is that the core team sails together in other classes. “We’re good friends, says Alberto. “And we know what a fast boat should feel like. So you put us together on one boat, and we can make it happen.” The team also gives thanks to their coach Flavio Grassi who has provided them with feedback based on observations and can find the tiniest things they can work on that make a huge difference. “Flavio comes from America’s Cup and Olympic background, so he analyzes every move we make and helps us improve each time.”
The average experience level in the Melges 32 class is very high, so each team is a threat. Caipirinha* is always working to keep things easy and straightforward. That way, no mistakes can happen, and they can put themselves in a fair position to have a good race result.
“Our closest competition at the event, second place finisher Christian Schwoerer on La Pericolosa is fast, no doubt,” says Alberto. “Every time we see them, we are challenged. Last year, this year, they are very fast. That has made the game of winning that much more fun from a sports aspect.”
As far as the event location, Alberto loves the venue. “Villasimius, Sardegna is such a great place to host events. They have top-notch conditions, always challenging, which makes the perfect platform for fleets like the Melges 32 to come and play.”
North Sails has been working hard to develop the fastest sails for the Melges 32 class for many years to help clients perform their best. Alberto comments, “North’s experience is unrivaled, not just from Italy, but from all over the world. How the sails have evolved and how high-level the technology is now, makes the class what it is today–the perfect high-performance platform.” North Sails class experts want to congratulate team Donino, Gspot, Vitamina, and new teams, Star Telekom and Heat, for their hard work during this challenging year.
Now that the Worlds have come and gone, is it all over?
Alberto says, “It’s never over. We will be working together in this class and others, always working hard to be the fastest boat with the fastest sails on the racecourse.”
Have questions about race-winning sails? Contact your Melges 32 Class expert today.