All Five Competing U.S. Teams Make the Gold Fleet in Sardinia
4 June 2008
Porto Cervo, Italy - Now four days into the Volvo Melges 24 World Championship 2008, all five US teams competing in Sardinia have successfully made the Gold fleet cut. With more than 100 International Melges 24 sportboats racing, the fleet has enjoyed six races making up and officially concluding the round robin series. Leading the US initiative is Brian Porter from Winnetka, Ill. on 'USA649 Full Throttle' seated in seventh overall.
Simon Strauss (resident of New York, N.Y.) on 'GBR592 Team Sevenstar Slam' with Bill Hardesty calling tactics is 17th and quick to comment after racing that the team seemed to be getting into the groove with a great deal of upwind speed, yet feeling a little off the pace downwind.
Bruce Ayres from Newport, Beach, Calif. on 'USA637 Monsoon' is seated 26th overall and ranked as one of five top Corinthians. It was an amazing day for Ayres as their third place finish in race six was undeniably satisfying. With a really nice start they immediately began clawing their way through the top five positions. In a sustained 25 knot breeze, Ayres made a great effort, but couldn't catch Championship leader Luca Valerio on 'ITA722 Alina Helly Hansen' and Gabrio Zandona at the helm for Giovanni Maspero on 'ITA633 Joe Fly' on the final downwind run and beat. Ayres proudly took third in the race.
Geoffery Pierini from Bernardville, N.J. with Doug Clark at the helm on 'USA551 Gazoo' is placed 39th. "I haven't sailed the Melges 24 much in the last 4 years. Although I sailed in Jacksonville and in St. Petersburg they were three-day, light air regattas so not much stock there. Here, the slightest adjustments or delay, whether it be the backstay or the mainsheet, traveler or jib trim, you go sideways for a second. It is so tough. Every inch that you lose is like 15 boat lengths,' commented Clark. "This has been very challenging. It's the first time we have sailed together as a team so, we are still learning how to communicate. Every mark rounding is an adventure. Regardless though, whatever the pressure downwind it's a fun ride. You are surfing downwind and life just can't get any better."
"This is a marathon, definitely not a sprint, 'Clark continued. "This is not going to get any easier moving up to the Gold fleet. Now, a satisfying tenth place finish is going to be like finishing twentieth, so our challenge is to turn it up a little. Comparing the class to four years ago, the bar has risen so high between professional sailors and the Corinthians. Things have changed for the better. If you want to be good you have to sail against the best. The pros are in it so, you have to go there."
Stephen 'Alex' Shafer on 'USA677 Sweaty Betty' had a difficult day and find themselves in 44th overall. "It was a disappointing day of equipment failure,' said 2005 Corinthian World Champion Marty Kullman, calling tactics for Shafer.
The next time the teams go racing, it will be full on championship racing with the top contingents going head-to-head. All other scheduled races were canceled for the day. Teams can anticipate going afloat early again for potentially a three-race day on Thursday.
FULL OVERALL RESULTS (After six, round robin races)
- 'Alina Helly Hansen', Luca Valerio/Maurizio Abba
- 'Pilot Italia', Alberto Bolzan/Gianni Catalogna
- 'Uka Uka Racing', Lorenzo Bressani/Lorenzo Santini
- 'Blu Moon', Flavio Favini/Franco Rossini
- 'Saetta', Nicolo Bianchi
- 'Marchingenio', Nicola Celon/Giorgio Marchi
- 'Full Throttle', Brian Porter
- 'Poizon Rouge', Jean-Marc Monnard
- 'Altea', Andrea Racchelli
- 'Brontolo Ab Medica', Matteo Ivaldi/Filippo Pacinotti
For further information, regular reports and results please visit www.melges24worlds2008.com
For more information or press photos, please contact Joy Dunigan, USMCA Press Officer and Class Communications Director via email or by phone at (912) 398-5776.
Or, for International Melges 24 Class contact Fiona Brown, Press Officer, International Melges 24 Class, Tel +44 (0)7711 718470, E-mail, 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
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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 visit www.conteofflorence.com.
The Melges 24 is designed by Reichel Pugh and considered the most unique one design Sportboat in the world as well as one of the fastest-growing classes of high performance yachts. More information can be found at the official website of the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USMCA), the International Melges 24 Class Association (IMCA).