Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Tale Of Two Winds

PHOTO: ©2010 Meredith Block
Just One Point Separates Leaders After Cold Breeze Blasts Fleet

July 24, 2010 (Malcesine, Italy) - The storms that forced a race's abandonment yesterday and nearly ended the raging One Sails dance party last night left an unexpected gift on the mountains to the North of Lake Garda this morning - 6 cm of snow! Cold conditions in the highlands typically create the Northerly thermal breeze known as the Pelear wind each summer morning, but the surprise conditions supplied an extra strong Pelear for the entire day on Saturday, holding the racers ashore for nearly two hours and preventing the normally reliable Southerly Ora wind from appearing. "This cold wind is too much for Class Rules - we've seen more than 25 knots for a while now," said PRO Fabio Barrasso during the long delay, frustrated with the potential of more lost racing. But as the sun warmed the mountains, wind speeds decreased just enough to guarantee adrenaline-filled rides, and Barrasso sent the fleet out to play in 20 knots of wind.

Benedetto Giallongo's Value Team drew first blood, winning the first race from wire to wire and taking over the regatta lead, after Francesco Farneti's Reggini barely finished in the top ten. Giallongo's team would struggle for the rest of the day, though Farneti continued his troubles in Race 2, while 3rd place Notaro Team and fourth place Turnover were both on fire with the leaders in their sights. "We just could not find our speed," said Value Team tactician Chicco Fonda. "Francesco [Scarselli, helm] flies in this big air, but boats were coming in and crossing us from the left, the right - everywhere." Reggini finally found their legs in the final race, the windiest of the day, finishing second over the line and giving the team a slim one-point lead over Giallongo. Fonda was looking forward to the battle tomorrow. "We think we found our problem, but we can easily finish this regatta anywhere from first to fourth place," he said. "We think we've found our problem, but we'll find at 9:30 if that's the case."

A replacement driver and tactician aboard Luca took the final bullet with a substitute crew and a helmsman who'd never driven a Melges 20 before, and Luca tactician Daniele 'DeDe' Deluca was as surprised as anyone. "Ivan Venturi and I jumped on board this morning to replace our friends when work called them away, but it was his first time on a Melges 20, so our expectations were not too high," said Deluca. When asked if tomorrow would bring more top finishes for the team, Deluca was stoic. "We had a great time and these are very good sailors, but we had a lot of luck today. We'll just have more fun tomorrow and see what happens."

Starboat sailor Oleg Chtchetinine drove 8 hours through the heart of the Alps to have a look at the Melges 20 as he searches for his next boat for his home lake in Switzerland. "The boat is obviously a lot of fun and very fast, but what really stands out are the event organization and the support of the Class provided by Melges," he said. "I think if the circuit continues along its path, we will see plenty of new fleets growing all over Europe over the next few years."

The 2010 Audi Melges Gold Cup Champion will be crowned after an expected three final races, which will begin at 0930 CET on Sunday. Local experts expect typical Pelear morning and Ora afternoon conditions.

Top Ten Results (After 7 Races)
1.) Francesco Farneti, Reggini Sailing Team; 3-2-1-4-8-[11]-2 = 20
2.) Benedetto Giallongo, Value Team; 1-1-[8]-2-1-8-8 = 21
3.) Luca Domenici, Notaro Team; 5-8-4-1-[16]-4-4 = 26
4.) Marco Perazzo/Renato Vallivero, Turnover; 10-4-2-9-7-2-5 = 29
5.) Marco Morina, Sei Tu 20; 2-6-[12]-10-3-1-10 = 39
6.) Michael Kiss, Bacio; 6-[23]-DNF-3-2-9-3= 46
7.) Stefano di Properizio, HULK; 4-3-14-6-12-[15]-9 = 48
8.) Federico Strocchi, Cheyenne; 8-[16]-9-7-6-13-7 = 50
9.) Fausto Rubbini, Thule; 13-5-3-19-[23]-6-6 = 52
10.) Luca Modena, Luca; 14-10-[17]-17-13-3-1 = 58
Full Results
Official Audi Melges 20 Gold Cup Event Website
Full Entry List

View Photo Gallery - Meredith Block
View Photo Gallery - Andy Burdick
View Photo Gallery - Renato Tebaldi
View Photo Gallery - Fabrizio Prandini
View Photo Gallery - Luca Butto for Carlo Borlenghi B-Plan

2010 Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series Results (After 3 Events)
1.) Benedetto Giallongo, Value Team; 51 pts.
2.) Carlo Alberini, Calvi Network; 53 pts.
3.) Luca Domenici, Notaro Team; 62 pts.
4.) Francesco Farnetti, Reggini Sailing Team; 63 pts.
5.) Renato Vallivero, Turnover; 71 pts.

Full race reports, interviews and photo galleries will be posted online each day after racing. Stay tuned to the Official Audi Melges 20 Web Site, the Official Audi Melges 20 Blog, and for all the latest details. You can also friend the Audi Melges 20 on Facebook, follow on Twitter and/or subscribe to the Official Audi Melges 20 You Tube Channel.