Col in control
Race five started at the first attempt with individual recalls in around 5 knots and although the left end of the line was favoured a big right hander meant those who didn't take the early tack found themselves out in the cold. Stefanini not only picked the shifts but had blistering speed and at the top mark led the fleet by almost a minute. Keith Musto rounded second ahead of Morland Pedersen and Gustaf Ohrn with yesterday's double winner Eivind Melleby in fifth, Nicolo Sadelli fifth and Maurizio Abba just pipping Riccardo Diamanti for seventh place.
As the race management team worked flat out to successfully keep the course square to the clocking wind Stefanini and Musto spent the rest of the race stretching out their lead with Stefanini finishing 50 seconds ahead of Musto and over 4 minutes in front of the rest of the fleet. Morland Pedersen and Abba had a terrific fight for third with Abba sneaking ahead on the second beat. Behind them Norwegian Herman Horn-Johannessen made up ten places to take fifth while Melleby dropped back to sixth crossing the line overlapped with Luca Santella, helming Joe Fly for Giovani Maspero.
By the start of race six the wind had increased to 8-10 knots and with a current pushing the fleet over the line the race officer went straight to black flag. The first attempt to start was a general and the second had individual overs with a total of 17 boats being black-flagged. Among those out of the race were Stefanini, Shark Kahn and Jean Francoise Cruette. Philippe Kahn was also black-flagged but appealed for redress and has been awarded average points after photographic evidence was presented to the jury.
At the weather mark Cedric Pouligny, helming for Bruno Jourdren, led Jorgn Heje, Abba, Peter von Koskull and Rix. Pouligny and Heje held their positions down the first run but on the second beat Abba caught a smart shift to sail round them into to lead leaving Pouligny in second whilst Heje dropped back to fifth, Rix pulled up into third and Von Kuskell moved into fourth. On the final lap Abba successfully held off Pouligny who in turn had to hold back Rix. Von Kuskell finished fourth and Heje fifth.
The wind was holding at around 8-10 knots and again the race committee went straight to black flag for race seven but this time the fleet got away at the first try with half a dozen boats being sent home. Again the wind went right in a big way and this time it was Pedersen who lead at the first mark. Behind him Austria’s Michael Schineis, a former FD sailor helming in his first major Melges 24 regatta, slotted into second from Remy Arnaud, Christoff Nielsen, Marc Ryan and his team from the Bahamas, Jean Cruette, helming Scuttum for Cedric De Kervenael and Benjamin Cohen in seventh. Pedersen did a great job to cover the pack for the rest of the race but on the final lap Arnaud just got past Schineis who was still delighted with his third place. Philippe Kahn and Cruette had a great fight for fourth which Kahn eventually won while Rix sailed a smart race to pull up from the teens to six.
Overall leader Sebastian Col, who is crewed by owner Phillip Ligot, Christian Ponthieu, Thomas Allen and William Thomas, sailed consistently today to score 10, 10, 15 giving him a 3 point lead on 42 points. Eivind Melleby scored 6, 8, 30 but discarded the 30 to take second place from Maurizio Abba who has equal points after scoring 3, 1, 11 today but has a 57 discard. Fourth placed Flavio Favini was not so lucky ending up with 9 and 22 and discarding 57 from race seven to give him a total score of 58.
Three more races are scheduled over the next two days with more light airs forecast for tomorrow.