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Luigi Melegari's 'Matrix' Leads After Day One Of The Malcesine Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series 2008

9 May 2008

Racing in the Malcesine edition of the 2008 Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series got underway in spectacular style today at Lake Garda.

Three races were sailed in bright sunshine and shifty ten to fourteen knot breezes. The racing was fast and furious and produced three separate race winners. Significant variations in the breeze strength and direction meant that it was a tough day out for the fleet’s tacticians. With consistency so hard to achieve and many opportunities to go from ‘penthouse to outhouse’ good mental fortitude was as important as sailing skills.

Race one started in a solid ten knot breeze and with all the teams keen to get away to a good start a general recall was perhaps inevitable. On the restart the committee boat end was hotly contested with two boats being forced out at that end. Ferdinando Battistella’s Hublot Big Bang, Lanfranco Cirillo’s Fantastica and Joe Woods’s Red were all called over early and each made swift returns to the line.

The left hand shore side of the beat proved to have a little more pressure and the boats which got there first also benefited from a port lift as they came back out. Approaching the windward mark the breeze faltered temporarily, dropping back to only four knots. First around was Luigi Melegari’s Matrix followed by Armando Giuletti’s Hiroshi and Francesco Martino on Flying Fish.

The shore side was again favored downwind and the crews had to perform a series of quick succession gybes to try to try to get a clear lane. Although the pressure was now at around 10 knots once more the boats were predominantly in low ‘soaking’ mode. At the leeward gate Matrix had built up a thirty second lead over Stefano Leporati’s Kismet who had moved smoothly up from fourth to second. Third round was Pinta. Most boats chose the right hand gate (looking upwind) and tacked back on to starboard almost immediately. The right hand side of the beat was looking increasingly underused as the fleet fast forwarded to the left once more.

At the top mark Matrix had extended slightly on Kismet. Hiroshi had sneaked past Pinta into third. The leading three boats, now able to sail their own race, held their positions to the finish. Behind them the chasing pack were locked in a melee of gybing battles for clear air.

Race two got underway after a short delay for the thermal breeze to properly establish itself. The fleet were well spread along the line and initially it looked like the pin end starters had the upper hand. However about a quarter of the way up the beat it became clear that Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica who had made a committee boat start and stayed out to the right were now leading comfortably. They maintained their lead around the top mark but had to fend off attacks from all quarters as first the breeze was stronger inshore and next offshore. Exhibiting excellent fleet management technique they extended their lead at the bottom mark to nearly forty seconds. Biggest gainers on this leg were British entry Red who went from ‘zero to hero’. Having started the run almost last they rounded the leeward mark right back in the hunt in fourth. Their smiles were to be short lived however as early on the beat they got on the wrong side of some shifts which dropped them back into the pack.

Claudio Recchi at the helm of Uka Uka Racing got the bit between his teeth however moving quickly from midfleet into second and right behind leader Fantastica. With the breeze flicking around more than ever Recchi was soon able to get into a position mount a charge for the lead. Half the way down the run he made his move. Gybing out from the shore just before Fantastica he used his windward advantage to take the lead. Fantastica was still very close however and now looking for an opportunity to snatch back the lead. The race was decided three quarters of the way down the run. In an effort to find more breeze Fatastica gybed out towards the middle of the lake. Uka Uka stood on towards the clubhouse and immediately picked up a massive gust. When the boats converged again Uka Uka had pulled out a hundred metre lead which they easily held to the line. Fantastica came through second and Matrix third.

At the start of race three Uka Uka Racing demonstrated perfect time on distance skills to pull off a text book, full speed, pin end start. They hit the left as hard as they could and quickly established leverage on the rest of the fleet. Red who had been forced out to the right used their excellent boat speed to converge at the windward mark in second place. However the downwind leg was to quickly turn the positions upside down. As the leaders headed for the expected extra pressure inshore, Fausto Rubbini on Thule, who had gybed at the mark, now picked up a significant increase in pressure which carried him past the whole fleet and into a massive lead. Spotting the extra pressure offshore, the fleet all gybed simultaneously on to port. This scenario left early leaders Uka Uka Racing and Red languishing at the back. Thule rounded the leeward mark well ahead of Michael Illbruck on Pinta in second and Fantastica in third. These positions remained unchanged for the rest of the race. It was some consolation for Uka Uka that on the final downwind leg they managed to get back to sixth.

So at the end of the first day of racing the consistency of Luigi Melegari and tactician Matteo Ivaldi aboard Matrix has earned them first place overall with eight points. In second is Claudio Recchi and his tactician Gabriele Benussi on Uka Uka Racing with twelve points. Close behind in third is Lanfranco Cirillo and local tactician Nico Celon with fourteen points.

The Malcesine Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series continues tomorrow with three more races scheduled.

FULL RESULTS

  1. Luigi Melegari | Ivaldi Matteao, Matrix - 1,3,4 = 8
  2. Lorenzo Santini | Claudio Recchi, Uka Uka Racing - 5,1,6 = 12
  3. Lanfranco Cirillo | Nicola Celon, Fantastica - 9,2,3 = 14
  4. Michael Illbruck | Adam Beashel, Pinta - 6,8,2 = 16
  5. Stefano Leporati | Francesco Bruni, Kismet - 2,6,8 = 16
  6. Francesco Martino | Alberto Bolzan, Pilot Italia - 4,5,7 = 16
  7. Armando Guiletti, Ian Anslie, Team Hiroshi - 3,9,5 = 17
  8. Fausto Rubbini, Lorenzo Bressani, Thule - 10,7,1 = 18
  9. Joe Woods | Morgan Reeser, Red - 7,4,9 = 20
  10. Antonello Morina | Andrea Casale, Sei Tu - 8,11,11 = 30
  11. Savino Formentini | Flavio Grassi, BITIP -12,10,10 = 32
  12. Ferdinando Battistella | Andrea Rachelli, Hublot Big Bang - 11,12,12 = 35

VIEW AUDI SAILING SERIES 2008, MELGES 32 PHOTO GALLERY: CARLO BORLENGHI & GUIDO TROMBETTA

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Justin Chisholm

Melges Europe Press Officer

+447769 938722