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Alberto Bolzan and Pilot Italia Team Win Volvo Melges 24 Pre-Worlds

30 May 2008

The second and final day of the Volvo Melges 24 Pre-World Championship Regatta at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo brought respite from yesterday’s storms and two outstanding races in sparkling Costa Smeralda sunshine with a breeze that built steadily from 12 to around 20 knots.

Sixty-six of the 117 teams due to compete in the main championship elected to race in the Pre-Worlds Regatta and Italy’s Alberto Bolzan, sailing ITA727 Pilot Italia for Gianni Catalogna put in a bravura performance to win all three races and take the regatta. Switzerland’s Matthias Keller, helming SUI530 Acqua for Gianluca Tribo took second overall and also wins the Corinthian Pre-Worlds Regatta for all amateur crews.

Britain’s John Pollard sailing GBR690 A-Team Westaway finished third overall with the joint US/British GBR592 Sevenstar Slam crew of Simon Strauss, which includes double and reigning Melges 24 World Champion tactician Bill Hardesty, in fourth.

In the Corinthian Division second place overall went to Holland’s Carlo Vroon sailing NED177 and Germany’s Rudolf Houdeck sailing GER731 Secret Men’s Business was third.

Speaking after racing regatta winner Alberto Bolzan commented “These Pre-worlds results are relevant to understand how this World Championship will evolve. We won all the three races; in the first day was pretty shifty, and Pietro D'Alì (tactician) has been really good taking the proper side of the course. Today, having a stronger wind, the crew was decisive keeping a high pace. Affinity with Pietro is tight, and his choices convey a strong sense of security to the rest of the crew".

New York based Englishman Simon Strauss, who placed fourth overall, has been a stalwart in the Melges 24 class for years, but has really upped the stakes for this event. Sailing with double Melges 24 World Champion tactician Bill Hardesty (1999, 2007) and accomplished Melges 24 racers Quentin Strauss and James Hill, Simon is looking to fight his way to a top ten finish at Worlds for the first time.

"Today was definitely tricky with the breeze coming right off the land," commented Strauss. "The first start was left-favoured, and we sailed deep to that side. The leaders to the top mark came back to the left middle around three quarters of the way up and that seemed to provide the best combination of shift and pressure for the race. Downwind the starboard gybe was the way to go, one gybe and then in to the gate. The second race brought some relief to the right side about halfway up, though the pressure on the right was iffy until that point, making a flier to the right a bit risky. There was an even bigger right shift very close to the mark, possibly too close to really take advantage of."

Despite the frequent shifts Hardesty thought that "good lanes were far more important than tacking on every shift today - the breeze was shifting through five degrees or less, so we worked on our speed and found the best lanes we could." You can follow the progress of Simon, Bill and the Sevenstar Slam team at www.sevenstarslamracing.com.

Tomorrow the 117 teams from 16 nations have a final day of registration and further informal race practise. The Volvo Melges 24 World Championship 2008 commences on Sunday 1 June and runs through until Friday 6 June with twelve championship races scheduled. The 117 boat fleet will be split into four groups for an initial six race "round robin" series before dividing into Gold and Silver fleets for the final six races.

Volvo Melges 24 Pre-Worlds - Summary Results - as of 30-05-08 at 16:56

Place, Boat Name, Owner, Nation, R1-Points

  1. PILOT ITALIA Gianni Catalogna, ITA,1, 3.00
  2. ACQUA Gianluca Tribo, SUI,2, 36.00
  3. A-TEAM WESTAWAY John Pollard, GBR,26(ZFP), 37.00
  4. SEVENSTAR SLAM Simon Straus, GBR,16, 39.00
  5. PROFIL Bruno Jourdren, FRA,20(ZFP), 46.00
  6. HOOCHY COOCHY Carlo Vroon, NED,20, 55.00
  7. SECRET MEN'S BUSINESS Houdek Rudolf, GER,22(ZFP), 63.00
  8. HELMUT RISES AGAIN Nigel Grogan, GBR,15, 63.00
  9. SITTING DUCK Claes Rojning, SWE,21, 69.00
  10. AQUA RACING John Christian Eriksson, SWE,67(DNF), 87.00

For further information, regular reports and resultes please visit www.melges24worlds2008.com or contact:-

Fiona Brown, Press Officer, International Melges 24 Class, Tel +44 (0)7711 718470, E-mail fiona.brown@melges24.com, Skype fpbrown, 3 Palmers Rd, Emsworth, Hants, PO10 7DL. www.melges24.com

Jill Campbell, Press Officer, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Tel. +39 0789 902200, E-mail pressoffice@yccs.it, www.yccs.it

Roberto Lonardi, PR Manager, Volvo Auto Italia, Tel +39 051 537791, E-mail rlonard1@volvocars.com, www.volvocars.it

The Melges 24 is designed by Reichel Pugh (www.reichel-pugh.com) and considered the most unique one design sportsboat in the world as well as one of the fastest-growing classes of high performance yachts. For more information visit www.melges24.com

Volvo Cars was founded in 1927 and is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, producing premium cars for the global market. Brand core values are Safety, Environmental Care and Quality. For further information about Volvo, please visit www.media.volvocars.com or www.volvocars.com

Conte of Florence is an Official Supplier of the event. The Italian company has been a partner of the Volvo Cup for many years with a dedicated clothing line and is also present at the Volvo Melges 24 World Championship for which it has exclusively created technical garments. For more information visit For further information, regular reports and resultes please visitwww.conteofflorence.com.