Abba leads in Sweden

A report from the penultimate day of the Melges 24 Worlds

Friday August 13th 2004, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: Scandinavia
Races eight and nine of ten were sailed at the Melges 24 Worlds today in Marstrand and with a slight increase in breeze the 81 competitors had their best days sailing yet. Philippe Kahn and Geir Dahl Andersen were the individual race winners whilst in the overall standings Italy's Maurizio Abba has now overtaken Frenchman Sebastien Col, helming P&P for Phillip Ligot, to lead by 4.6 points with Stuart Rix of the UK, helming Quentin Strauss's Team Gill, in third place. Norway's Eivind Melleby placed third over night, must have wished he'd stayed in bed as he twice fell foul of the black flag dropping him down to fifth and out of contention.

Today the wind was in the northwest and race eight started in a shifty 8-10 knots after a general recall. With the black flag in force six boats were sent back. The left hand end was favoured and both Philippe and Shark Kahn set up for a last minute tack into the line right on the pin, unfortunately there was only room for one of them and Shark found himself forced to spin out. Philippe Kahn meanwhile shot out from under the boats to weather and tacked to cross the fleet.

At the first mark Philippe Kahn led Luca Santella, helming Joe Fly for Giovanni Maspero, Rix, Michael Schineis and Andrea Rachelli. Flavio Favini, helming Blu Moon for Franco Rossini, slotted into sixth ahead of Geir Dahl Andersen with Col in eighth. While Philippe Kahn consolidated his lead to eventually win by over a minute the rest of the pack were in for some outstanding racing. With each mark rounding the lead changed as Rix, Santella, Favini, Col and Dahl Andersen battled their way around the course. Eventually it was Rix in second with Santella third, Dahl Andersen fourth, Favini fifth, overnight leader Col sixth and Abba seventh.

Race nine was definitely the most exciting of the championship so far. At the start the wind was a good 10-12 knots and the black flag was in immediate force with 10 boats sent home. Again Philippe Kahn fancied the pin end and again he got a cracking start. Favini took a more conservative approach up the middle and led at the weather mark from Jean Paul Douchy. Behind these two Philippe Kahn looked good for a top five place until all hell broke loose as a barging port tacker fouled up their approach starting a huge log jam. Risto Ajanko saw a gap and tacked inside the raft for third whilst Dahl Andersen went round the outside and into fourth.

Col was the first to pop clear of the melee followed by Peter Von Kuskell, Gianni Giordo and Cedric Pouligny, helming for Bruno Jourdren, in eighth. Shark Kahn had been looking a bit average on the approach but sailed smartly round the mess and into ninth. Philippe Kahn came off worst of the bunch and was down in the low twenties by the time he was able to get going again. Favini led for the next three legs while Col pulled up into second ahead of Dahl Andersen on the second beat with Douchy dropping to fourth and Kenneth Thelen taking ten places for fifth. The final lap was frantic with constant place changes. Up the final beat Dahl Andersen went hard right to sail into the lead leaving Favini second, Col third, Thelen fourth and Douchy fifth. Deitrich Scheder had quietly worked his way up from an eleventh at the first mark to take sixth from Pouligny with Shark Kahn eighth.

In the overall standings the computation of results is now a complicated affair with the best of finish position or average points for every boat in race 2, average points for a large number of boats in race 1 and various further individual redress awards in other races. The organisers would like to thanks the scorers who are putting in many extra volunteer hours. After all the calculations have been made Maurizio Abba leads going into the final race on 46.4 points, Sebastien Col, helming P&P for Phillip Ligot is second with 51 points, Stuart Rix, helming Team Gill for Stuart Rix, is third on 64.9 points and Flavio Favini, helming Blu Moon for Franco Rossini is fourth with 65 points.

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