Heading into the final day of racing and with just one windward-leeward race scheduled for tomorrow, Pieter Taselaar’s (New York, N.Y.) Bliksem (USA) has moved into the lead in a fleet of 30 boats competing at the Audi Melges 32 World Championship 2009, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Bliksem has knocked Claudio Recchi’s Team 93 (ITA), leaders of the overall classification since day one, out of the top spot and now holds an 11 point lead. Third place is currently occupied by Uka Uka Racing (ITA), owned by Lorenzo Santini and Alessio Marinelli.
With almost two-thirds of the fleet hailing from Italy and many top names in Italian sailing present, Taselaar has achieved no mean feat; he is assisted of course by Australian 470 class star Nathan Wilmot, Olympic gold medal winner (2008) and three-time World Champion. Mathematically, victory is not assured, but after gaining two bullets and placing in the top ten in eight out of the nine races run, Taselaar is certainly looking healthy. Behind him sit three Italian teams separated by 13 points – Team 93, Uka Uka and Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly – that will be battling for podium finishes tomorrow.
“We had a pretty good day today,” affirmed Nathan Wilmot of Bliksem. “We fought our way back through the fleet in each of today’s races and now we lead by a fair bit. Hopefully we will be able to do enough tomorrow to win the first-ever Melges 32 Worlds. The conditions today were okay; the wind dropped off a bit but having said that, the last race, with light air, was our best of the day.”
Race seven, the first of the day, started on schedule in approximately 15 knots of northeasterly wind. At the first mark Bagua 753 led Teasing Machine (FRA), owned by Jean Francois Cruette, Francesco Martino’s Pilot Italia and Uka Uka Racing. At the leeward gate Bagua 753 (ITA), with America’s Cup tactician Vasco Vascotto, continued to lead while Uka Uka had climbed from fourth to second ahead of Teasing Machine. Bagua 753 and Uka Uka retained their position to cross the finish line ahead of Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA) and Bliksem.
Red (GBR), owned by Joe Woods, led throughout Race Eight, which was set at 025° and later adjusted to 40° as the wind shifted right. The English boat led Teasing Machine and Pilot Italia around the leeward mark. Pilot Italia moved up to second place during the downwind leg ahead of the French boat. During the remaining two legs Uka Uka Racing tore up through the fleet to arrive second behind Red and ahead of Filippo Pacinotti’s Brontolo (ITA).
The final race of the day, the ninth of the series, saw Joe Fly, with America’s Cup sailor Francesco Bruni on tactics, lead at the first windward mark ahead of Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network (ITA) and Brontolo. At the leeward gate Joe Fly led Brontolo with Matrix Cortina D’Ampezzo – tactician Ray Davies – in third. Joe Fly crossed the finish line victorious ahead of Bliksem and Argo.
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