19 teams warming up
A top quality international fleet, comprising 19 teams from six countries (ITA, CZE, GBR, NED, USA, FRA), has gathered at the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda in Porto Cervo, on the eve of the third leg of the 2011 Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series.
Going into this regatta, John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti, leads the overall series by a margin of 6 points, from second placed Vincenzo Onorato & Paolo Masserdotti on Mascalzone Latino. Lying third in the series and tied on points with Mascalzone Latino is Alessio Marinelli on Audi Fratelli Giacomel Armonia. With Onorato/Masserdotti not in attendance this weekend, no doubt Kilroy and Marinelli will both be equally keen to turn in strong performances in order to consolidate their positions at the top of the leaderboard.
Such is the competitive nature of the International Melges 32 Class, that a large percentage of the teams competing at this event are each capable of winning individual races and even stringing together a series good enough to win the regatta outright. Among the talented owner/drivers likely to be vying for the podium positions this weekend are reigning Melges 32 World Champion Luca Lalli on B-Lin Sailing, 2009 World Champion American Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem, as well as reigning European Champion Britain's Joe Woods on Red. Beyond these proven championship winners however, Italian teams like Edoardo Lupi's Torpyone, Lanfranco Cirillo's Fantastica and Filippo Pacinotti's Brontolo HH have all previously proved themselves to be highly potent forces in this series.
Today's practise racing was sailed in warm sunshine and a fitful 6 - 7 knots easterly breeze. Local forecasts suggest that the breeze may remain light for the first two days of the regatta, with stronger winds anticipated for the final day.
Racing in the main eight race series gets underway tomorrow Friday 17 June and will run through until Sunday 19 June. Racing is scheduled to get underway at 11.30 local time each day, except for Saturday, when an additional standalone ‘Audi Invitational Race’ will be run, scheduled to start at 11.00 local time.