Melegari Wins Malcesine — Melges 32 Regatta 1, Audi Sailing Series 2008
11 May 2008
The final day of the Malcesine edition of the Melges 32 2008 Audi Sailing Series started early this morning for the race team, competitors and spectators alike. Racing commenced promptly at 08.30 in an effort to catch up the race lost due to yesterday afternoon’s thunderstorm. This gave the fleet an opportunity to experience the northerly Pela wind which was blowing solidly at twenty knots as the boats lined up for the first start.
Lorenzo Bressani calling tactics aboard Fausto Rubbini’s Thule attempted a port end start but in the final seconds had to duck a Francesco Martino’s Flying Fish and Claudio Recchi on Uka Uka before tacking under the pack. Fortunately for them Uka Uka were called over early and had to return to the startline giving Thule a clear lane. As the fleet began to peel off on to port, together with Flying Fish they held on out to the left of the racecourse. At the top mark however it was the pack coming in from the right who had done the best.
Michael Illbruck’s Pinta rounded in the tight front four boat pack and once his hoist was completed gybed immediately into good pressure which swept him into the lead. Overnight leaders Luigi Melegari’s Matrix battled hard downwind and up the next beat to arrive close behind Pinta at the second weather mark. Illbruck’s team on Pinta kept a close cover on Matrix to stay in front to take the win. Nico Celon the tactician aboard Fantastica put his local knowledge to good effect - heading over to the centre of the lake where he picked up some private extra pressure enabling him to pass two boats and claim third ahead of Armando Giullietti’s Hiroshi Citta di Milano.
With six races completed and two more scheduled now Matrix held a seven point lead over Kismet and Fantastica who were both on eighteen points.
Race two was sailed in a slightly reduced breeze – now down at around 15 knots. FFantastica applied the pressure on Matrix by taking a race win after a closely fought battle with Hiroshi Citta di Milano. Kismet had their overall aspirations dented when they finished back in eleventh place. Matrix however held their nerve taking fourth behind Francesco Martino’s Flying Fish.
With the breeze fading fast and one more race to go only Fantastica, four points behind, now stood a chance of spoiling Matrix’s party. An initial attempt by the race team to get a third race away in the dying northerly had to be scrapped on the first downwind leg when the wind quickly moved through 180 degrees leaving the boats beating to the leeward mark. After a thirty minute delay to allow time to reset the course the final race got away in a dying seven to eight knots. The race officer sensibly shortened the course at the end of the second beat and it was Francesco Martino’s Flying Fish who ghosted in just a bow’s length ahead of Fausto Rubbini’s Thule. Armando Giillieti on Hiroshi Citta di Milano rounded off a good day with a third place.
Matrix could only manage fifth but with Fantastica languishing back in last place, after being called over early at the start, it was enough for Melegari’s crew to celebrate taking the overall title as they crossed the line.
So Luigi Melegari with his tactician Matteo Ivaldi and their team on Matrix have taken first blood in the Melges 32 2008 Audi Sailing Series. When the final scores were tallied the win was convincing. Their 1, 3, 4, 8, 1, 2, 4, 5 scoreline gave them an eight point advantage over second placed Lanfranco Cirillo on Fantastica with twenty eight points. Francesco Martino’s Flying Fish took the final podium position with thirty one points.
If this regatta is anything to judge by then racing in the Melges 32 European circuit is going to be extremely tight. No one boat dominated the event at this regatta and there were seven different race winners with eight teams discarding a position in the bottom two. The start lines and mark roundings were electrifying watch and both upwind and down the Melges 32 showed itself to be a true thoroughbred one design.
The next leg of the 2008 Audi Sailing Series takes place in Cagliari in the south of Sardinia from the 27th to the 29th June. The tour goes through 2008 to include Porto Santo Stefano in July, Santa Margherita Ligure in September and Genoa in October.
(8 Races, 1 Discard)
- Luigi Melegari | Mattaeo Ivaldi, Matrix
- Lanfranco Cirillo | Nicola Celon, Fantastica
- Francesco Martino | Alberto Bolzan, Pilot Italia
- Fausto Rubbini, Lorenzo Bressani, Thule
- Stefano Leporati | Francesco Bruni, Kismet
- Armando Guiletti, Ian Anslie, Hiroshi
- Lorenzo Santini | Claudio Recchi, Uka Uka Racing
- Joe Woods | Morgan Reeser, Red
- Michael Illbruck | Adam Beashel, Pinta
- Antonello Morina | Andrea Casale, Sei Tu
- Ferdinando Battistella | Andrea Rachelli, Hublot Big Bang
- Savino Formentini | Flavio Grassi, BITIP
For more information please contact:
Melges Europe Press Officer