Uka Uka Dedicate Their Win to Giorgio Zuccoli
13 June 2008
The Volvo Melges 24 World Championship 2008 was one of the very best, but for new Melges 24 World Champions Lorenzo Bressani, Lorenzo Santini, tactician Francesco Bruni, Federico Michetti, and Francesca Prina it was an almost magical experience. For the 'Uka Uka Racing' team on ITA-715, Giorgio Zuccoli was a spiritual sixth crew member.
The 'Uka Uka Racing' team officially assembled just over a year ago with one major goal in mind, to win the Melges 24 World Championship in Sardinia, hosted by the very prestigious Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.
Once upon a time, there was a great Melges 24 World Champion named Giorgio Zuccoli. Although very accomplished in a variety of other boats, the Melges 24 in particular was close to his heart. He led the charge of Melges 24 domination in the Italian performance yachting market and competed in the first, and the second World Championships resulting a score no higher than second place at each event. The third attempt was a charm. In La Rochelle, France September 2000, Zuccoli sped to victory.
At the finish, press boats, dear friends and family members awaited his crossing with tears of happiness and an overwhelming joy. At that magical moment, Giorgio appeared to be invincible. His attitude was so positive and uplifting. Another famous figure in sailing history was standing by as part of the cheering entourage — the legendary Buddy Melges. As Giorgio came across the finish line Buddy called out "Giorgio." Hearing his name exclaimed, it was as if Giorgio levitated at the sound of Buddy's voice – the only exchange was a 'thumbs-up' from Melges. It was the greatest moment in International Melges 24 Class history.
Giorgio's inner strength and perseverance was of an inspiring nature. Diagnosed with cancer six years prior, every minute and second that he spent with his crew aboard 'Ali Ali ITA-139' was precious. Before each race, Giorgio took an injection of morphine because the pain caused from the cancer was so intense. Six months later in March of 2001, Giorgio passed away, finally succumbing to his illness.
Today, Zuccoli's legacy lives on. His name is impressed upon the exquisite International Melges 24's perpetual European trophy. In 2005, at the Ocean Reef Worlds 'Ali Ali', the very boat that Giorgio won his 2000 Championship in, won a race. And now, with Lorenzo Bressani and 'Uka Uka's' incredible World Championship conquest, it serves as an ongoing reminder that Giorgio's presence is forever with the Melges 24.
On behalf of the 'Uka Uka Racing' team, they proudly dedicate their victory and title of 2008 Melges 24 World Champions to friend and mentor 2000 Melges 24 World Champion Giorgio Zuccoli.