Melegari Continues To Lead The Charge After Two Days Of Racing At Malcesine
10 May 2008
Fraglia Vela Malcesine; Lake Garda, Italy - Day two of the Malcesine edition of the 2008 Audi Sailing Series got off to an inauspicious start today at Lake Garda. The thermal breeze was in a particularly capricious mood, first tempting the race committee and the boats afloat as it looked to be about to build to normal Ora conditions, before shutting off completely leaving the lake mirror flat. After waiting patiently for a while the PRO made a wise decision and hoisted AP over A (now known as the ‘Coffee Time’ signal) to send the fleet ashore.
As the teams enjoyed their unexpected cappuccinos the chat was all about what would happen next. Local knowledge on the situation seemed to range widely. Some said it was too hot, some too cold and others too cloudy for good lake breezes. Happily for both sailors and the large spectator fleet something like normality soon returned and less than an hour after coming ashore the fleet was back out on the water lining up for race four of the championships in bright sunshine and twelve to fifteen knots of pressure.
With more breeze on the left hand shore side of the course the Race Committee had set a significant committee boat bias to the line. Tactician Adam Beashel aboard Pinta clearly wanted the pin end. With less than a minute to go he sent helmsman Michael Illbruck in on port towards the rapidly arriving pack. Pinta tacked underneath the fleet and successfully won the left hand end of the line. At the committee boat end Nicola Celon calling tactics for Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica pulled off a beautiful start – exiting the line at high speed. After a few hundred metres of the beat the two tacticians aboard Red and Kismet — Francesco Bruni and Morgan Reeser respectively, decided that they were going out to the right to avoid the tacking frenzy which was developing down the shore. This proved to be a smart move and when Kismet and Red flicked back onto starboard they were several lengths clear of the pack. After a few hundred meters Red tried to get back to the right but Kismet were not going to give away their advantage and immediately put a ‘slam dunk’ cover on Red which forced them back into the pack on the left. At the end of the beat the right paid more as the breeze faded on the left. This meant that Kismet was able to get around the weather mark three boatlengths ahead of Claudio Recchi on Uka Uka Racing in second and Ferdinando Battistella’s Hublot Big Bang in third.
On the run Kismet gave a demonstration of downwind sailing by consistently finding the best pressure and extending on the fleet with every gybe. At the bottom mark they had pulled out a thirty second lead over Hublot Big Bang and Francesco Martino’s Flying Fish. Up the beat Kismet were totally in control and with the breeze more consistent across the lake they were able to keep a loose cover on the fleet and gain leverage with every shift. At the top mark they had extended their lead to over a minute from Flying Fish who had squeezed past Hublot. On Kismet they could not put a foot wrong. They led the fleet on a long port gybe to the centre of the lake and were immediatel rewarded with a significant increase in pressure which helped them pull even further ahead. At the finish they were over a minute and a half in front of the next boat – a huge distance in a one design class like the Melges 32. Behind them the fleet duked it out for second place which was claimed on the line by Flying Fish ahead of Hublot Big Bang in third.
At the start of race two the fleet were bunched at the windward end of the line with only Fausto Rubbini’s Thule electing to take the pin end. Both Pinta and Hiroshi were called over early and had to restart. The fleet was quickly on to port and as the breeze moved around every few minutes, one side or the other seemed to be paying. At the end of the beat it was the right which came on strongest allowing that Kismet rounded first, Thule second and Hublot Big Bang third. Hublot had an issue on the hoist which dropped them down the order. As the boats headed down the run the breeze was noticeably softer and the boats were at the transition between heating and soaking.
For Uka Uka Racing disaster was about to strike. Hoping to make a big gain to get them back in the race they stayed out to the right, searching for more breeze down the edge of the lake. Unfortunately they pushed a little too hard and collided with a submerged rock, damaging their keel and leaving retirement their only option.
At the finish line it was overnight leaders Luigi Melegari and Matteo Ivaldi on Matrix who had made the best of the rapidly fading breeze to take the gun ahead of Thule and Kismet.
As the last of the boats finished a huge thunderstorm could be seen and heard moving quickly down the lake from the north making further racing for the day impossible.
With the discard now in play Matrix are able to throw out their eighth from this morning’s race to hang on to their overall lead. In second place only three points behind is Stefano Leporati and Francesco Bruni aboard Kismet. The final podium position at this stage is filled by Lanfranco Cirillo and Nicola Celon on Fantastica.
Racing will start early tomorrow as the race team try to catch up the lost race from today. The first start will be at 08.30 and the plan is to hold three races in the northerly Pela morning wind.
(5 Races, 1 Discard)
- Luigi Melegari | Mattaeo Ivaldi, Matrix = 9
- Stefano Leporati | Francesco Bruni, Kismet = 12
- Lanfranco Cirillo | Nicola Celon, Fantastica = 15
- Lorenzo Santini | Claudio Recchi, Uka Uka Racing = 15.3
- Fausto Rubbini, Lorenzo Bressani, Thule = 16
- Francesco Martino | Alberto Bolzan, Pilot Italia = 18
- Michael Illbruck | Adam Beashel, Pinta = 23
- Joe Woods | Morgan Reeser, Red = 23
- Armando Guiletti, Ian Anslie, Hiroshi = 25
- Antonello Morina | Andrea Casale, Sei Tu = 33
- Ferdinando Battistella | Andrea Rachelli, Hublot Big Bang = 35
- Savino Formentini | Flavio Grassi, BITIP = 41
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Melges Europe Press Officer