Uka Uka runaway leader
The 2011 Melges 24 World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas reached its mid-point today, with races five and six being completed in overcast but breezy conditions. Despite the fresh conditions, the racing was characteristically tight throughout the fleet with each start and every mark rounding fiercely fought.
Overnight leader Lorenzo Bressani at the helm of Uka Uka Racing, won both of today's races to establish a 15 point lead and an effective stranglehold on the championship. A fourth and a seventh for American Kristen Lane on Brick House 812, sees her retain her second place overall, tied on points now with Flavio Favini helming Swiss entry Blu Moon in third. Also tied just one point adrift of Favini, in fourth and fifth respectively are American Brian Porter on Full Throttle and Nathan Wilmot with the Irish on Embarr.
Race 5 started bang on time on in a solid 15 knots of breeze. The fleet got away to a clean start at the first time of asking, with the boats quickly splitting into two distinct groups on either side of the first beat. Uka Uka Racing soon established an advantage in the group on the left, while Brick House 812 led the pack on the right. When the fleet converged on the approach to the first windward mark it was Bressani who led around the buoy, with Lane close behind in second and Norwegian Eivind Melleby on Full Medal Jacket and Brian Porter overlapped in third and fourth. Alec Cutler on Hedgehog was hot on their heels in fifth.
Down the first run Bressani showed some remarkable off-wind pace to extend his lead considerably by the leeward gate. With the breeze ratcheting up to around 17 knots, behind Bressani there was a real scrap on for second place. Alan Field, who had rounded the previous mark in seventh place, sailed a remarkable leg to move up to second at the gate, just ahead of a large gaggle of boats who arrived at the buoys en masse. Alec Cutler led the group into the left hand buoy but broached in the process of dropping his chute, causing Nathan Wilmot, who was right on his transom, to do the same. The ensuing chaos allowed Andrea Racchelli on Altea, Porter and Favini , to sneak through inside them at the buoy. Meanwhile, almost simultaneously at the other gate mark, Melleby, Lane and Bora Gulari on New England Ropes/West Marine were rounding three abreast.
With Bressani leading comfortably at the second top mark, and Field also looking relaxed in second, attention turned to the street fight for third place between Lane and Melleby. These two converged right at the mark with Melleby coming in on port and tacking in closely in front of Lane on starboard, forcing her to throw her bow up to avoid a collision and subsequently fly a protest flag. Despite Lane pushing Melleby hard down the final run there were no changes to the top four positions at the finish, with Bressani taking the gun, Field second, Melleby third and Lane fourth. Cutler came home fifth with Favini in sixth. Later in the day Lane's protest against Melleby for the incident at the top mark was upheld by the protest committee, resulting in the Norwegian receiving his second disqualification of the championship.
The second race of the series also got away cleanly with the fleet once again splitting left and right in the early stages of the beat. Bressani made another good start and initially led the group on the left before choosing to work his way to the middle soon after the half way point. A significant left shift in the second half of the beat rewarded Wilmot and Favini, who had been working that side of the beat and they rounded in first and second at the first windward mark. Bressani rounded a couple of lengths behind in third, with Porter, Guy Mossman on Battle Rhythm, and Melleby rounding in quick succession behind. With the breeze now up at 18 knots plus, the first run was a high speed affair which saw Wilmot holding off Favini right up until the final approach to the leeward gate. As the two boats gybed together, Favini's slicker execution enabled him to roll over the top of Wilmot and lead around the left buoy. Wilmot peeled off to the right buoy and rounded just ahead off Bressani.
On the second beat, despite Bressani and Wilmot appearing to be engaged in a private match race on the right, they arrived at the top mark ahead of Favini who had been sailing his own race on the left. In the final few boat lengths, Wilmot led Bressani in on the port layline, with the Italian close enough behind to prevent the Irish boat from tacking. Rounding the top mark locked together, they continued their match race down the run, with Bressani eventually prevailing to take another race win and Wilmot closing out the rapidly advancing Favini just before the finish line to take second.
In the amateur-only Corinthian Division, Japan's Eiichiro Hamazaki on Esprit continues to dominate with two more wins today to maintain his perfect score so far. By way of two third places today, German Christof Wieland on Unsponsored moves up to second overall ahead of Scot Holmgren on Rosebud, whose pair of second places today sees him ease into the Corinthian top three.
Racing at the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas continues tomorrow Thursday 19 May and runs through until Saturday 21 May, with six more races scheduled.
|1||21 / ITA 817||UkaUka Racing||Lorenzo Bressani||||2||1||2||1||1||7|
|2||02 / USA 812||Brick House 812||Kristen Lane||8||1||||3||3||7||22T|
|3||20 / SUI 596||Blu Moon||Flavio Favini||3||6||||5||5||3||22T|
|4||29 / USA-749||FULL THROTTLE||Brian Porter||||9||2||1||7||4||23T|
|5||04 / IRL 607||Embarr||Conor Clarke||2||5||5||||9||2||23T|
|6||17 / BER655||hedgehog||Alec Cutler||||8||3||7||4||5||27|
|7||01 / USA 811||WTF||Alan Field||1||||11||8||2||9||31|
|8||15 / ITA 735||ALTEA||Andrea Racchelli||4||7||7||4||10||||32|
|9||16 / ITA 819||AUDI||Riccardo Simoneschi||7||||4||9||12||10||42|
|10||32 / JPN 783||Esprit||Eiichiro Hamazaki||11||4||9||||11||11||46|
|11||25 / USA 820||New England Ropes/West Marine||Bora Gulari||15||10||12||6||8||||51|
|12||06 / USA 623||Brick House 623||Peter Lane||||18||6||10||6||12||52|
|13||27 / NOR 804||Full Medal Jacket||Eivind Melleby||5||3||[33/DSQ]||12||33/DSQ||6||59|
|14||08 / AUS 553||Bandit||Warwick Rooklyn||14||13||13||13||14||||67|
|15||24 / USA 786||BATTLE RHYTHM||Guy Mossman||||15||17||14||16||8||70|
|16||22 / FRA 644||ZIG ZAG 18||Henri Samuel||12||16||15||17||||23||83|
|17||31 / USA 379||Team Velocitek||Daniel Kaseler||20||||20||18||13||16||87T|
|18||28 / GER 635||Unsponsored||Christof Wieland||[33/RAF]||19||18||16||19||15||87T|
|19||07 / AUS 686||Coco||Heath Walters||13||17||19||||22||20||91|
|20||05 / USA 700||ARDOR/C.R.E.A.M.||David O'Reilly||19||20||||20||15||19||93|
|21||10 / USA 533||High Voltage||August Hernandez||||14||14||19||24||25||96|
|22||26 / USA 604||Tom Slick||Jeff Wittenberg||10||23||16||22||||26||97|
|23||03 / USA 674||Rosebud||Scott Holmgren||23||||22||23||17||14||99|
|24||13 / USA 615||Funtech Racing||Charlie Hess||24||||21||21||20||22||108|
|25||12 / USA675||12happythoughts||David Brede||||25||24||25||18||21||113|
|26||14 / USA 24||Smokin||Kevin Clark||21||24||||24||21||24||114|
|27||09 / USA 344||Cold Shot||Steve Eller||17||28||25||||29||28||127|
|28||11 / CAN 121||Black Dog||Dave Black||27||22||27||28||28||||132|
|29||18 / USA 494||Wee Jaggie||Andrew Walford||30||||29||27||25||27||138|
|30||33 / USA 480||Monsoon II||Mark Hulings||26||30||26||||27||31||140|
|31||23 / USA 15||Abordage||Erwan le Gall||29||29||||30||30||29||147|
|32||30 / USA 201||Mako||Stephen McMillan||31||||31||32||31||32||157|