Uka uka takes it

Victory for Lorenzo Bressani at the Volvo Melges 24 Worlds

Saturday June 7th 2008, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
The final day of racing at the Volvo Melges 24 World Championship, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, brought high drama and great celebration as the Italian Uka Uka Racing team of helmsman Lorenzo Bressani, owner Lorenzo Santini, Federico Michetti, Francesca Prina and tactician Francesco Bruni claimed victory over the 114 strong, 16 nation fleet in one of the most hotly contested events in the sailing calendar.

The Uka Uka Racing team was a favourite from the outset, but going into the final day and with three more races to sail it was still a five way shoot out between Bressani; IMS and Melges 24 World Champion Alberto Bolzan, sailing Pilot Italia for Gianni Catalogna; America’s Cup veteran and 2001 Melges 24 World Champion Flavio Favini, sailing Blu Moon for Franco Rossini; Luca Valerio, on Alina Helly Hansen for ; and 2006 Melges 24 World Champion Nicola Celon, helming ITA638 Marchingenio for Giorgio Marchi.

Race ten in the series got underway after an initial general recall in 10-12 knots from 280 degrees and on relatively flat seas. Favini led the fleet at the weather mark from Bressani with Nicolo Bianchi on Saetta, and Gabrio Zandona on Joe Fly for Giovanni Maspero, on his heels. Down the first run Favini began to pull away, but behind him the battle for second was still a three way tousle until the second beat when Zandona was suddenly forced to pull out because of a broken shroud turnbuckle. As Favini stretched out his lead the battle between Bressani and Bianchi raged with Bianchi eventually claiming victory in the closing moments. Meanwhile back in the pack Alberto Bolzan, Luca Valerio and Nicola Celon were dealing with problems of their own. Bolzan and Celon fought a hard battle for 11th place which Celon eventually won, while Valerio trailed in 26th place.

Going into race 11, Bressani now led with 27 points, Celon held second on 41, Bolzan was third on 44, Favini fourth on 53 points and Valerio fifth on 63 - but more surprises were to come.

Favini was one of several teams called over the line and had to go back. Despite his very best efforts he knew the game was over and he ultimately pulled out of the race. John Pollard, sailing A-Team Westaway, led the fleet at the first mark from Bianchi, with Valerio third and Roberto Martinez, helming Carla Ubertalli’s Online-Sim Firebolt fourth. Pollard went on to win the race and after a terrific battle Valerio took second from Bianchi with Martinez fourth. Bressani sailed across the line in tenth place and knew that the World Championship was his.

And so race 12 was to decide second place between Favini (53 points), Bolzan (57 points), and Valerio (65 points). Although out of the running for the title Binachi was determined to end his week in style and sailed to a superb win giving him seventh place in the overall standings. Bressani was keen to put the seal on his victory and took an extremely relaxed second while Celon came through to take third in the race and finish the regatta in 6th overall. Behind them Favini, Valerio and Bolzan were all well buried and concentrating as much on each other as fleet. Valerio got the best result at 15th, followed by Bolzan in 22nd and Favini in 30th to give Bolzan second place overall with Valerio third and Favini fourth.

Bressani, already a J24 World Champion and a veteran of world class campaigns in Mumm 30, Farr 40 and many other classes, teamed up with owner and Mumm 30 World Champion Lorenzo Santini and trimmer and team manager Federico Michetti, already a Melges 24 European Champion in his own right, last year specifically to challenge for this event. Adding America’s Cup veteran, Italian Olympic 49er and highly experienced Melges 24 sailor Francesco Bruni as tactician and Women’s World and UFO22 European Champion Francesca Prina on bow completed this formidable team.

A delighted Lorenzo Bressani commented: "It's my sixth world championship win, but in conjunction with the J/24 World Championship in 2003 it is the best win that I can remember! Obviously we are very happy. There are some really great teams here internationally as well as those that came from the US. The fact that Flavio did not have a good race - it was a turning point today. So, we are very happy."

Team Manager Federico Michetti, who started his Melges 24 sailing career with the late, great Giorgio Zuccoli Melges 24 World Championship in 2000, concurred, "This is amazing. Really, on every leg I was thinking of and praying to Giorgio to please, please, please help me. Please help us. This has been a really unbelievable season. I am so proud for everything, because we started with this team one and a half year ago and the goal was to win this Worlds. We have been looking forward to this so much. It's amazing, being the World Champion in Porto Cervo!"

In the Volvo Melges 24 Corinthian World Championship, for the all amateur crews, competition was equally fierce with Oyvind Peder Jahre, helming Terra Eindomsmeglng and crewed by Norwegian owner Stian Briseid, Sivert Denneche, Marius Falch Orvin and Taja Zaikova, ultimately taking the title by 14 points from reigning Melges 24 Corinthian North American Champion Bruce Ayres on Monsoon. Third place went to the 2006 Melges 24 Corinthian World Champions Bouygues Telecom, helmed by Jean-Francois Cruette and owned by Cedric de Kervenoael.

The results on the Silver Course were the closest fought of all with Corinthian teams filling the top three positions. Paolo Brescia took victory by just four points from Sonke Boy, helming Music 55 for Reudi Huber, with fellow Swiss Matthias Keller, helming Acqua for Gianluca Tribo in third place.

"We are so happy to have won the Silver fleet,” said Paulo Brescia, “however we would have like to have been sailing in the Gold fleet. This is just great, as we are a group of amateur sailors - I am an architect, the crew is combined of a lawyer and engineers. The Melges 24 is great because we can sail against such great sailors in the world. We have only sailed together for a short time, but my crew is a combination of some very good 470 sailors. We worked well together so we decided to race together, this is such a great class."

Speaking after racing Gold Course Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio said: “It’s been spectacular. The people here working on the committee and the mark boats - you don’t see it better than it gets here. They’re the ones who make it work, I’m just an enabler. The mark boat guys are outstanding as is the whole organisation. We got through the entire event without a single black flag.”

The International Melges 24 Class would like to thank the race committee, members and staff of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, title sponsor Volvo Cars Italy, supporting sponsors Conte of Florence and Moby Lines and the people of Porto Cervo for making this one of the most exciting Melges 24 World Championships to date.

“It has been a fantastic championship, it required a huge organizational and logistical effort but it was well worth it in the end,” said Edoardo Recchi, YCCS Sports Director. “We managed to hold all 12 of the races scheduled for the worlds, something which is rarely achieved and, in view of the conditions, is really quite remarkable. The level of competition was incredibly high and the racing was always close-fought and exciting, a really excellent championship."

Looking ahead for the International Melges 24 Class, the 2008 Melges 24 North American Championship and the 2009 Melges 24 World Championship will be hosted by the Eastport Yacht Club, Annapolis, Maryland, from October 26 to November 2. The 2009 World Championship will be on 27 October to 7 November, also in Annapolis. The 2009 Melges 24 European Championship will be hosted by the COYCH, Hyeres, France on 20-29 August .
 
Pos Helmsman/Owner Sail No. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 Tot
1 UKA UKA RACING Lorenzo Bressani/Lorenzo Santini ITA 715 10 6 1 2 2 1 14 1 1 3 10 2 39
2 PILOT ITALIA Alberto Bolzan/Gianni Catalogna ITA 727 2 1 3 1 7 4 10 14 4 12 13 22 71
3 ALINA HELLY HANSEN Luca Valerio/Maurizio Abba ITA 722 1 30 1 2 3 1 6 20 3 26 2 15 80
4 BLU MOON Flavio Favini/Franco Rossini SUI 521 11 5 6 3 1 3 18 3 2 1 58 29 82
5 ETABETA Luca Bursic/Paolo Testolin ITA 730 29 4 18 4 9 9 5 4 5 8 14 9 89
6 MARCHINGENIO Nicola Celon/Giorgio Marchi ITA 638 7 50 7 1 3 6 3 8 6 11 39 3 94
7 SAETTA Nicolo Bianchi/Nose Sailing Team Ass. Sport ITA 716 27 1 11 6 4 2 34 21 17 2 3 1 95
8 FULL THROTTLE Brian Porter/Brian Porter USA 649 5 3 2 13 8 6 12 18 14 10 24 6 97
9 BRONTOLO AB MEDICA  Matteo Ivaldi/Filippo Pacinotti ITA 667 6 13 9 5 6 5 15 7 7 29 5 58 107
10 POIZON ROUGE Jean/Jean-Marc Monnard SUI 599 3 5 10 9 5 8 19 16 12 25 26 4 116
11 EURO-VOILE Christophe Barrue/Denis Infante FRA 639 16 10 10 5 8 16 31 12 8 16 7 8 116
12 GULLISARA  Carlo Fracassoli/Comerio Giuseppe ITA 673 3 20 12 7 5 13 7 13 22 22 8 14 124
13 A-TEAM WESTAWAY John Pollard/John Pollard GBR 690 5 28 5 10 15 10 8 17 45 7 1 27 133
14 COTES D'ARMOR Ronan Dreano/Troel Simon FRA 470 2 9 4 20 7 13 23 2 15 42 16 26 137
15 SEVENSTAR SLAM Simon Strauss/Simon Strauss GBR 592 29 14 19 4 2 5 17 22 13 43 6 7 138
16 ALFA SPIDER Gabriele Benussi/Vanni Edoardo Pavesio ITA 742 25 10 4 7 6 9 9 31 10 35 9 25 145
17 ONLINE -SIM FIREBOLT Roberto Martinez/Carla Ubertalli ITA 574 9 2 12 14 38 7 24 5 58 19 4 13 147
18 ALTEA Andrea Racchelli/Andrea Racchelli ITA 735 36 7 2 3 4 15 22 25 9 9 43 16 148
19 TEAM BARBARIANS  Jamie Lea/Stuart Simpson GBR 691 1 8 29 6 11 10 38 19 21 15 25 5 150
20 TERRA EINDOMSMEGLNG Oyvind Peder Jahre/Stian Briseid NOR 554 15 4 6 12 18 20 2 34 25 4 12 37 152
21 WOLFPACK RACING TEAM Geir Dhal Andersen/Team Lek NOR 733 6 32 3 17 14 4 4 15 23 49 29 28 175
22 MONSOON  Bruce Ayres/Bruce Ayres USA 637 20 24 23 12 10 3 20 9 16 32 27 23 187
23 BOUYGUES TELECOM Cruette/De Kervenoael FRA 612 7 16 5 21 11 7 58 11 31 21 23 45 198
24 MELLNOSE Pablo Soldano/Pablo Soldano ITA 609 27 13 14 25 9 8 16 27 19 53 31 10 199
25 JOEFLY Gabrio Zandona/Giovanni Maspero ITA 633 22 27 8 8 1 2 1 6 11 58 58 58 202
26 GAZOO Doug Clark/Geoffery Pierini USA 551 17 9 29 35 23 24 28 10 18 6 58 19 218
27 LENNY  Tonu Toniste/Tonu Toniste EST 646 24 8 7 14 12 26 27 32 58 40 36 18 244
28 PROXIMO Arpad Litkey/Xsailing HUN 728 17 3 21 23 14 35 45 45 28 24 28 12 250
29 PROFIL Bruno Jourdren/Bruno Jourdren FRA 756 31 20 17 9 19 11 26 39 27 28 40 30 257
30 RAT PACK Oliver Schwall/Oliver Schwall GER 627 34 30 8 8 17 11 13 58 58 30 30 20 259
31 MAIDOLLIS Giovanni Pizzatti/Gian Luca Perego ITA 664 8 12 13 11 16 21 47 58 34 18 22 58 260
32 RIVERSTONE Tommaso Del Rio/Alessandro Bagnoli SLO 689 8 45 40 13 12 12 11 46 36 20 35 48 278
33 RETT RUNDT HJORNET Herman Horn-Johannesse/Team Rett Rundt Hjornet NOR 732 4 2 16 58 27 20 29 36 35 48 45 17 279
34 BLOW Peder Nergaard/Peder Nergaard NOR 600 52 37 9 39 13 14 25 44 24 36 15 24 280
35 ROCAD RACING Mikael Lindqvist/Ingemar Sundstedt SWE 532 13 12 17 15 32 39 32 24 26 52 50 21 281
36 CODE ZERO Geoff Carveth/Miles Quinton GBR 654 26 14 28 17 25 22 37 33 30 14 53 36 282
37 ( 48)(BL)(N) Benoit Cheron . FRABC1/Benoit Charon FRA 381 14 23 22 32 32 16 41 42 29 23 21 35 288
38 PERROS-GUIREC Albaret/srPerros FRA 261 25 11 18 22 16 32 46 38 43 39 19 32 295
39 MACS Dietrich Scheder/Dietrich Scheder Bieschin GER 537 34 15 21 16 60 17 58 35 42 13 17 31 299
40 SECRET MEN'S BUSINESS  Houdek Rudolf/Houdek Rudolf GER 731 14 11 20 24 24 12 35 41 38 44 49 38 301
41 O\'TOMATE Lebourdais/Paul Coirre FRA 375 23 19 15 41 25 41 36 28 48 31 11 33 303
42 SWEATY BETTY Stephen Alex Shafer/Stephen Shafer USA 677 9 39 13 26 20 59 48 29 37 5 42 43 311
43 GIVE ME FIVE Adrien Follin/GM5 Racing Team FRA 451 18 7 22 26 27 32 49 23 46 45 18 58 313
44 FISHDOG  Mario Ziliani/Augusto Viansson Ponte ITA 571 41 6 15 10 60 33 58 52 20 54 20 11 320
45 ZIG ZAG 18  Henri Samuel/Henri Samuel FRA 644 12 17 37 23 10 30 21.5 58 58 41 33 42 324.5
46 DUMBO Giovanni Debiasi/Giovanni Debiasi ITA 682 30 49 19 21 22 19 21 25.9 25.9 50 48 50 330.8
47 TORPYONE Edoardo Lupi/"I Lupi di Mare" ITA 681 20 34 16 11 39 18 44 48 39 27 46 44 338
48 HOOCHY COOCHY Carlo Vroon/Carlo Vroon NED 117 31 15 30 24 21 40 43 50 47 17 32 39 339
49 FRANZ ROCKS Christoph Skolaut/Christoph Skolaut AUT 406 4 60 46 18 21 14 33 43 41 33 44 58 355
50 CONTE OF FLORENCE Andrea Magni/Arturo Mazzanti ITA 567 16 19 24 58 18 36 30 40 49 37 47 47 363
51 MASAMANTES 628 Lorenzo del Felice/Renato Vallivero ITA 628 24 37 32 27 17 29 40 26 58 38 51 46 367
52 MARGARITA Jakub Kozelsky/Petr Matuska CZE 704 12 22 25 40 22 26 39 37 50 55 54 41 368
53 AQUA RACING  John Christian Eriksson/John Christian Eriksson SWE 431 28 33 27 19 36 15 42 49 32 56 41 49 371
54 HYDE SAIL  Nigel Grogan/Nigel Grogan GBR 546 50 26 20 32 13 28 50 30 44 47 34 58 374
55 STORM Morten Astrup/Morten Astrup NOR 697 46 43 31 15 26 22 52 47 33 51 37 34 385
56 KA-NALU-NUI Gunter Tzeschlock/Gunter Tzeschlock GER 640 11 36 38 27 28 28 51 51 51 46 38 51 405
57 RODOP+B33 Lucas Neumann/Martin Kulik CZE 692 15 38 23 58 31 23 53 58 40 34 52 40 407

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