Sunshine and blue skies finally returned to the sailing paradise of Porto Cervo today, and the one-design fleet of 30 boats competing in the Melges 32 World Championship managed to fit in the maximum three daily races for the first time in the series. With six races now completed, a discard permitted and four more races scheduled, the leader board of the Audi Melges 32 World Championship, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, has begun to take a more definite shape. Caludio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA), overall leaders since day one, took a third place and a bullet today and discarded an 11th in the final race to increase their lead over second-place Bliksem (USA) to nine points. Pieter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) Bliksem in turn sits 13 points ahead of Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly (ITA) while a battle for third place is assured with only 3 points separating the boats in the third through eighth place.
Race Four, the first of the day, started at 12.05 in approximately 10-12 degrees of breeze from 025° with well formed waves. Joe Fly,with Francesco Bruni on tactics, took a good start and rounded the first windward mark ahead of Red (GBR), owned by Joe Woods and Pilot Italia (ITA), owned by Francesco Martino. By the leeward mark Pilot Italia had moved up to lead the fleet with Joe Fly in second place ahead of Team 93 and Bliksem. The American boat continued to make up ground on the last two legs to cross the finish line in first place ahead of Pilot Italia and Team 93. 2009 Audi Melges 32 sailing series winner Calvi Network appeared to return to form, gaining a fourth place ahead of Joe Fly.
Wind and sea conditions remained unchanged for the start of Race Five which saw Bagua 753, owned by Andrea Cechetti and with Vasco Vascotto on tactics, lead the fleet for the first time in the series. Cecchetti’s team was followed around the first windward mark by Team 93 with Joe Fly in third. Rush Diletta (ITA) with Ray Davies of Emirates New Zealand fame on tactics, rounded in fourth. The top three boats held their positions around the leeward mark but by the finish line it was Team 93 that took its second bullet of the series ahead of Joe Fly and Bagua 753.
For the start of the third and final race of the day the course was shifted to 030° and then adjusted to 040° while wind speeds remained constant at approximately 13-14 knots. Calvi Network was out in front this time round and was followed around the windward mark by Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino and Bagua 753. Calvi Network held her lead throughout the race and was chased across the finish line by Filippo Paccinotti’s Brontolo, with Frederik Loof calling tactics, and Uka Uka Racing, owned by Lorenzo Santini and Alessio Marinelli with Lorenzo Bressani on tactics.
Gabriele Benussi, tactician on Calvi Network and winner of the Audi Melges 32 Series in 2008 and 2009, was understandably pleased today, “It was a positive day for us; it was important to break the negative cycle. We have good spirit and today we raced with the determination and ability which allowed us to win the Audi Melges 32 series. Today’s racing was great, very challenging for all of the tacticians. The course was very open and the wind continued to jump which allowed us to use pre-tactics. Today the right side was on, and so when we were on that side downwind we were able to gain important places.”
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