Rick Tomlinson Photography / www.ricktomlinson.com

Uka Uka runaway leader

Two more bullets for Lorenzo Bressani at the Melges 24 Worlds

Wednesday May 18th 2011, Author: Justin Chisholm, Location: United States

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.

Full results:

Pos Bow/Sail   Boat   Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Tot
1   21 / ITA 817   UkaUka Racing   Lorenzo Bressani   [6]   2   1   2   1   1   7  
2   02 / USA 812   Brick House 812   Kristen Lane   8   1   [10]   3   3   7   22T  
3   20 / SUI 596   Blu Moon   Flavio Favini   3   6   [8]   5   5   3   22T  
4   29 / USA-749   FULL THROTTLE   Brian Porter   [16]   9   2   1   7   4   23T  
5   04 / IRL 607   Embarr   Conor Clarke   2   5   5   [11]   9   2   23T  
6   17 / BER655   hedgehog   Alec Cutler   [9]   8   3   7   4   5   27  
7   01 / USA 811   WTF   Alan Field   1   [11]   11   8   2   9   31  
8   15 / ITA 735   ALTEA   Andrea Racchelli   4   7   7   4   10   [13]   32  
9   16 / ITA 819   AUDI   Riccardo Simoneschi   7   [12]   4   9   12   10   42  
10   32 / JPN 783   Esprit   Eiichiro Hamazaki 11   4   9   [15]   11   11   46  
11   25 / USA 820   New England Ropes/West Marine   Bora Gulari   15   10   12   6   8   [18]   51  
12   06 / USA 623   Brick House 623   Peter Lane   [18]   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   [17]   67  
15   24 / USA 786   BATTLE RHYTHM   Guy Mossman   [22]   15   17   14   16   8   70  
16   22 / FRA 644   ZIG ZAG 18   Henri Samuel   12   16   15   17   [23]   23   83  
17   31 / USA 379   Team Velocitek   Daniel Kaseler   20   [21]   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   [26]   22   20   91  
20   05 / USA 700   ARDOR/C.R.E.A.M.   David O'Reilly   19   20   [23]   20   15   19   93  
21   10 / USA 533   High Voltage   August Hernandez [28]   14   14   19   24   25   96  
22   26 / USA 604   Tom Slick   Jeff Wittenberg   10   23   16   22   [26]   26   97  
23   03 / USA 674   Rosebud   Scott Holmgren 23   [26]   22   23   17   14   99  
24   13 / USA 615   Funtech Racing   Charlie Hess 24   [27]   21   21   20   22   108  
25   12 / USA675   12happythoughts   David Brede   [25]   25   24   25   18   21   113  
26   14 / USA 24   Smokin   Kevin Clark 21   24   [28]   24   21   24   114  
27   09 / USA 344   Cold Shot   Steve Eller 17   28   25   [29]   29   28   127  
28   11 / CAN 121   Black Dog   Dave Black 27   22   27   28   28   [30]   132  
29   18 / USA 494   Wee Jaggie   Andrew Walford 30   [31]   29   27   25   27   138  
30   33 / USA 480   Monsoon II   Mark Hulings 26   30   26   [31]   27   31   140  
31   23 / USA 15   Abordage   Erwan le Gall 29   29   [30]   30   30   29   147  
32 30 / USA 201   Mako   Stephen McMillan   31   [32]   31   32   31   32   157  
 

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