Brit boats take pole
The Audi Melges 32 European Championship got underway today in Cagliari and out front, waving the British flag, Joe Woods on Red with tactician Paul Goodison and Peter Rogers on Highlife, flanked by Ruaridh Scott are tied for first place overall, with Woods holding first on countback.
The two British teams surprised everyone as they were not among the list of teams immediately favoured to lead the event after three amazing races.
The day began with a light, south wind around 8 knots. Lanfranco Cirillo, on Fantastica with Michele Paoletti, called for a strong pin end start. The English team was quick to get out front with Cirillo following. The racing got tighter as the breeze diminished, a situation that only the best tacticians can surely handle successfully. They commanded to the finish line with Luca Lalli and tactician Lorenzo Bressani on BLinSailing.com in third, Cirillo in fourth and Francesco Martino with tactician Alberto Bolzan on Pilot Italia finishing fifth.
The wind shifted steady to the right for race two. Carlo Alberini on Calvi Network and tactician Gabriele Benussi wanted to quickly forget the opening round as it was certainly not their best performance (they eventually retired in the third and final race due to a broken backstay after contact with Martin Knetig on Black Mamba). Alberini had a nice groove on the first leg, working themselves closer and closer to the group that included Cirillo and Rogers. It was a photo finish for Rogers, thanks to a perfect gybe, taking control and the win ahead of Cirillo in second, Alberini finished third. Jean Francois Cruette on Teasing Machine beat out Lalli after a prolonged duel to take fourth.
The breeze intensified for the final round, 15 knots at 230 degrees. Everyone agreed that the right side looked the best, but Brontolo’s Filippo Pacinotti with tactician Freddie Loof had the courage to choose the left looking for pressure, rounding the top mark in first. Behind him, Woods was waiting for just the right moment to make an aggressive move for the lead, tacking to the right anticipating that Pacinotti would relinquish control of the lead. Woods took charge and the win with Pacinotti finishing second. Lalli placed third showing success in almost every situation, playing the day rather conservatively. Rogers made an excellent recovery to finish in fifth. It was just enough to place him even in points and on an even line with Woods for first overall. It was great first day of racing for the British colours.
Full results here