Audi Sailing Series 2008: Melges 32 Event 1, Fraglia Vela Malcesine
9 May 2008
The first round of the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series 2008 kicks off today in beautiful Malcesine on Italy’s Lake Garda. Twelve European teams make up the entry list including two recent winners of US Melges 32 regattas. Red, owned and steered by Joe Woods from the UK comes into this event on the back of a closely fought victory at the Annapolis NOOD. Morgan Reeser joins the team for the first time in the tactician’s role. Michael Illbruck’s Pinta has also been victorious on the US Melges 32 circuit this year – convincingly winning the Miami SORC in March. Calling tactics for Illbruck aboard Pinta will be New Zealand America’s Cup sailor Adam Beashel.
Both Red and Pinta will be keen to make an impression at this inaugural European Melges 32 event but they face stiff competition from teams like Lorenzo Santini’s Uka Uka Racing with class veteran Claudio Recchi helming and Gabriele Benussi as tactician. Armando Giulietti’s Team Hiroshi are fresh from their comprehensive win in the RC44 Cagliari Cup. Giulietti has brought in Team Shosholoza’s Ian Ainslie to provide tactical input. The list of other big name sailors goes on and on and if the truth be told, all of the teams here in Malcesine are capable of winning races over the next three days. Predicting an overall winner at this stage is nigh on impossible.
Yesterday most of the teams took advantage of a perfect 10 to 15 knot breeze to get some boathandling practice and test their speed against each other. Observers were treated to the spectacular sight of eight Melges 32’s tacking and gybing in close formation along the shore outside the Fraglia Malcesine Vela clubhouse. If this is a portent of the action to come once racing starts then both competitors and spectators are in for a fantastic few days.
Tactic are the official suppliers of race instruments on the Melges 32 and a close partner of Melges Europe. During the practice session Bugli Gianluca from Svama Nautica SRL - Italy’s authorised Tactic distributor, spent time on every boat calibrating and optimising their Tactic units. Also, following racing today Tactic UK Greg Wells will be giving a thirty minute clinic for the competitors on how to make the most of the functionality of their instruments.
Racing starts later today with three one hour races scheduled. Right now the teams are waiting for the northerly morning breeze to give way to the southerly thermal Ora wind. Italy along with most of Europe is in the grip of a high pressure system so it is considered unlikely that the Ora will develop fully today. Nevertheless the fleet can expect more than ten knots by the time the first race takes place this afternoon.
A full report on today’s racing with all the action from the racecourse will follow in subsequent press releases.
For more information please contact:
Melges Europe Press Officer