Alberto Bolzan Leads After Day One at Volvo Worlds

1 June 2008

Porto Cervo, 1 June 2008 - The Volvo Melges 24 World Championship, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, got off to a challenging start today with the 114 strong fleet from 16 nations completing two of twelve scheduled races. The large number of competitors means that the fleet must be divided across two race courses. The fleet has been split into four groups and will sail a six race Round Robin series with each group racing the others twice to identify the Gold and Silver fleets for the final six races of the series.

Today’s two races were extremely tough with winds ranging from under 5 to almost 20 knots with massive shifts, big holes in some areas and mini squalls under the clouds in others. There were regular rain showers across the course initially but conditions did improve later with the second race finishing in sunshine. Race Committee member Wayne Bretsch gave an example of just how extreme the conditions were saying. "Between races the weather mark boat was reporting 18-20 knots from around 115 degrees, but at the committee boat end we had as little as 5 knots from 060 degrees. We waited, tried to start, postponed relatively fast, could see the wind on the water that the weather mark boat was reporting and waited for it to hit us, which it did with a vengeance at about 18 knots from 125 degrees. It was a rough day for the competitors and it was a rough day for the race committee and the mark boats. The mark guys in particular did an outstanding job of reporting wind and putting marks in very accurately at short notice.”

Overall Italy’s Alberto Bolzan, helming Gianni Catalogna’s ITA727 Pilot Italia, leads the regatta with an impressive 2, 1 score-line proving that his victory in the Pre-Worlds competition was no fluke. Norway’s Olympic Bronze Medallist (Soling/Sydney) Herman Horn-Johannessen sailing NOR732 Rett Rundt Hjornet lies three points behind in second. Reigning Melges 24 North American Champion Brian Porter of Chicago, IL, aboard USA649 Full Throttle, and Swiss America’s Cup sailor Jean-Marc Monnard, in SUI599 Poizon Rouge, share third place on eight points. Britain’s Jamie Lea, helming GBR691 Team Barbarians for Stuart Simpson is one point behind them in fifth.

In the Corinthian Division, for the all amateur teams, Oyvind Peder Jahre, sailing NOR 554 Terra Eindomsmeglng for Stian Briseid, leads the fleet and lies 17th in the overall competition. Second Corinthian is Rudolf Houdek in GER731 Secret Men's Business, with joint 2006 Corinthian Melges 24 World Champion Jean-Francois Cruette, helming FRA612 for Cedric De Kervenoel third.

After racing Alberto Bolzan, Melges 24 World Champion 2006 as tactician for Nicola Celon and IMS World Champion to name but two of his many victories, summed up the day perfectly. "It was a difficult day. We were very lucky. We made good choices today and Pietro [Catalogna, tactician] is fantastic and did not miss a tack. We finished second place in the first race and won the second race. Because there was a lot of wind shifts, and sometimes the wind was strong and at other times it was light. It was very difficult as one second you could gain a lot and the next moment you could lose a lot so we were very lucky. The crew was perfect and the boat is very fast and we are very determined in the sea."

Fifth placed Jamie Lea reinforced Bolzan’s comments saying "We had a good start in the first race. We managed to tack onto port early, as it was the thing to do because the wind went right. Really good speed up the first beat then crossed on the little shift at the top, which put us in front. It was very shifty at the top. Big ups and downs, so we were changing gears a lot. It was a good solid day. The level of competition is exactly where we expected it to be and more. There are about 20-30 boats out there that are really. We are just going to keep plugging away at it."

Two further races are planned tomorrow with racing due to start at 11:30. The twelve race series runs until Friday 6 June.

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.