Lorenzo Bressani And Uka Uka Racing Take Lead At Melges 24 Worlds

17 May 2011

Day two of the 2011 Melges 24 Worlds in Corpus Christi, Texas delivered two spectacular races sailed in near perfect conditions, under crystal clear skies and in a solid breeze which built from 15 up to around 19 knots throughout the day. Lorenzo Bressani on ITA 817 Uka Uka Racing, and Brian Porter on USA 749 Full Throttle, traded blows at the front of the fleet in both races, with Bressani winning ahead of Porter in Race 3 and then Porter holding off Bressani to take the win in Race 4. Bressani's near perfect performance today means that he tops the leaderboard tonight with an 11 point lead over Kristen Lane on USA 812 Brick House 812, whose 10, 3, scoreline sees her in second overall, tied on points with Flavio Favini on SUI 596 Blu Moon in third, and Andrea Racchelli on ITA 735 Altea. Yesterday's overnight leader Nathan Wilmot on IRL 607 Embarr could only manage a fifth and an eleventh today, dropping him down to fifth overall.

Reveling in the windier conditions on Day 2, Brian Porter on USA 749 Full Throttle and Lorenzo Bressani on ITA 817 Uka Uka Racing, spent both of today's races engaged in their own private battle at the front of the fleet. Bressani led the first race of the day from start to finish, with Porter chasing hard throughout in second. In the second race of the day, it was Porter who led at the windward mark ahead of Bressani who arrived at the buoy on port tack, just a couple of boat lengths behind. With no gap to tack into, Bressani was forced to duck behind two boats before then rounding in fourth. By the leeward gate, a charging Bressani was up to second and clearly focused on closing Porter down even further. As the leading pair blasted down the final run, Bressani had reduced Porter's lead to just a few lengths, and the Italian appeared to be gaining with every gust. In the last few feet to the finish, Porter, coming in at pace from the right, just managed to pull off a gybe in front Bressani, who was hurtling in from the left. With Bressani arriving at full speed on the layline to the finish, Porter was just able to complete his gybe in time enough to surf home, only a few feet ahead.

Despite finishing tenth in the first of today's races, Kristen Lane at the helm of USA 812 Brick House 812, proved that her race win on the opening day was no flash in the pan, when in the second race of the day she clawed her way back from a poor windward mark rounding to ultimately take third. Rounding the final windward mark in seventh place, Lane showed blistering pace down the last leg to move within striking distance of the pack of boats all scrapping for third. Nailing the port layline into the finish with absolute precision, Lane came in very hot from the left to snatch third place, after just managing to thread herself between the pin end line boat and the fast approaching bowsprits of Andrea Racchelli on ITA 735 Altea, Flavio Favini on SUI 596 Blu Moon and Bora Gulari on USA 820 New England Ropes/West Marine. Lane's gutsy maneuver has earned her second place in the overall standings at the end of Day 2.

It is a testimony to the extremely close nature of the racing at this championship that second placed Lane is in a three way tie on points with both Favini and Racchelli, who are in third and fourth places respectively. Indeed just six points separate second from seventh overall. A fifth and an eleventh today for yesterday's regatta leader Nathan Wilmot on IRL 607 Embarr sees him drop to fifth place overall, with a four point advantage over Alec Cutler on BER 655 hedgehog in sixth. After a poor opening day by his own standards, Brian Porter on USA 749 Full Throttle has moved up to seventh by way of his 2,1 performance today.

Now holding an eleven point advantage at the top of the standings, the reigning world champions on Uka Uka Racing, were looking understandably calm and relaxed after racing today. "Yes it was a good day for us." commented their tactician Jonathan McKee. "We are obviously very happy with the way things went today. We managed to get off the line quickly and we felt we had good boatspeed in those conditions." Asked if he had been following a particular strategy today, he had this to say "It was all surprisingly subtle out there. The wind was pretty steady and there wasn't a consistent side of the racecourse which seemed to pay. It was more about finding the best pressure downwind and avoiding the bad sets of waves upwind." Trimmer Federico Michetti, paid this tongue in cheek tribute to his helmsman. "Rufo (Lorenzo Bressani) likes the breezy conditions, so this makes it very easy for the rest of us. He is like a racehorse, we just take the blinkers off his eyes at the start, and off he goes!"

In the all amateur Corinthian Division, Eiichiro Hamazaki on JPN 783 continued to dominate with another pair of bullets to give him an 11 point overall lead over August Hernandez on USA 533 High Voltage in second and Christof Wieland on GER 635 Unsponsored in third.

With the normal weather system in Corpus Christi now appearing to have re-established itself, local opinion suggests that tomorrow may bring windier conditions still. Racing on Day 3 is scheduled to start at 11 AM local time with two more races scheduled.

Racing at the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship in Corpus Christi Texas continues tomorrow Wednesday 18 May and runs through until Saturday 21 May.