Bressani's Lead Stands Firm Going Into The Final Day Of Racing In Key West
23 January 2009
It's pretty safe to assume that ACURA Key West 2009, presented by Nautica has delivered everything it has promised and more to the Melges 24 fleet — the largest class in attendance. Lorenzo Bressani helming for Lorenzo Santini (Civitanova Marc, Italy) on ITA-715 Uka Uka Racing is still very much in the overall lead. Chris Rast helming for Franco Rossini (Lugano, Switzerland) on SUI-621 Blu Moon hacked away, but made little progress at taking over Bressani's lead as did Gabrio Zandona helming for Giovanni Maspero (Como, Italy) on ITA-777 Joe Fly.
The day was destined to be another beautiful, picturesque Key West afternoon — incredible sunshine, cool temps and some of the most challenging and shifty breezes seen yet at the event. The tough conditions provided each race of the day with its own set of racing obstacles and curve balls.
Race one of the day, race seven in a series of nine delivered a change-up in the running order of results. American entrant Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.) on USA-587 WTF blasted off the starting line with some impressive momentum putting him out ahead of the fleet almost immediately. At the top mark Field's lead was quite substantial, and as the race progressed his WTF Melges 24 just stretched the lead further. Zandona and Rast put on a great chase to catch him but clearly, Field had the race figured out. The real battle was for second and third between Zandona, Vince Brun (San Diego, Calif.) on USA-553 Bailout and Rast. Zandona grabbed second while Rast settled for third. Brun managed a fourth place finish, while Bressani got fifth.
The start of the last race of the day was interesting as the breeze went hard left right at the gun, putting the fleet almost horizontal with the starting line. Bressani understood how important it was to get back in the game on this race as he vied for just the right starting position alongside Rast. The start resulted in several individual recalls including a set back for Brun as he was called over early. The running order from the first top mark to the finish was Rast in first, Bressani in second and Brian Porter (Winnetka, Ill.) on USA-749 Full Throttle in third. Riccardo Simoneschi (Genova, Italy) on ITA-783 Giacomel Audi wound up fourth, Zandona held on to fifth after being challenged regularly by Henry Colie (Mantaloking, N.J.) with Peter Commette at the helm of USA-736 Babs finishing up in sixth.
A very special thank you to Melges Performance Sailboats as the Melges 24 fleet ROCKED Key West last night! Melges organized a party like last year at the Island Dogs Bar where USMCA Class President Travis Weisleder gladly announced/awarded Franco Rossini and Flavio Favini (Chris Rast accepted on their behalf) with champaign gifts as they are 2008 Melges 24 World and European Ranking Champions. Andy Burdick and Harry Melges also accepted gifts for 2008 North American Ranking Champion Brian Porter. This party was a giant celebration of the success surrounding the Melges 24 in Key West and around the world! Special thanks to all who were able to make it and THANK YOU to Melges!
As the fleet looks to the last day of racing in Key West, and the last two races of the event, throw outs are now in effect. Only one of Bressani's fifth place finishes is eliminated, Rast loses his seventh place finish in race five, and for Zandona his tenth finish in race one is gone. Usually this process brings the points spread closer but not this time in the Melges 24. This fleet is one of the most diverse and toughest in the world. Bressani knew coming into this event that he must be strong and persevering — the results show he has achieved that goal as he has a comfortable lead of seven points. But, he is anything else but 'out of the woods'. Just a simple mistake could cost him dearly. This same principle rings true for Rast in second overall only six points ahead of third place Zandona.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After eight races)
- Lorenzo Bressani/Lorenzo Santini, Uka Uka Racing; 1-1--1-1-2-5-2 = 13
- Chris Rast/Franco Rossini, Blu Moon; 4-2-2-2--6-3-1 = 20
- Gabrio Zandona/Giovanni Maspero, Joe Fly; -3-3-4-8-1-2-5 = 26
- Alan Field, WTF; -4-1-6-4-8-1-8 = 32
- Riccardo Simoneschi, Giacomel Audi; 6-5-4-3-2--12-4 = 36
- Vince Brun, Bailout; 2-6--5-9-3-4-10 = 39
- Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 5-8-8-7--4-6-3 =41
- John Kolius, KO Sailing; 3-7-9--3-5-7-9 = 43
- Bruce Ayres, Monsoon; 7-12-15-8-6-7--14 = 69
- Kyle Vowels; One Sixty; 8-13-11-10-12-12-14- = 80
It was a disappointing day for leading Corinthian Bruce Ayres (Newport Beach, Calif.) on USA-747 Monsoon. Miserable top twenty finishes were the product of the day as obviously, the tricky, shifty, sometimes lighter, sometimes heavier conditions took their toll. Loren Colehan (Santa Barbara, Calif.) on USA-556 Lounge Act didn't have such a great day either yet managed to hold steady as the second overall Corinthian.
- Bruce Ayres, Monsoon
- Loren Colehan, Lounge Act
- Gary Schwarting, Obsession
- Peter Cucci, El Matador
A very special thank you goes out to Shawn Grisham and his Bulls Eye Racing Team for the use of their protector this week in Key West. Due to his tremendous generosity we are able to bring you great photos, video and all the latest news from Key West. An addition, very special thanks to Bruce Ayres and Travis Weisleder. Their additional support to the Melges 24 Class is immeasurable! Thanks to you all.