One point separates top three
The 2011 Melges 32 World Championship, hosted by Real Club Nautico de Palma, delivered yet another day of spectacular one-design performance racing with William Douglass' Goombay Smash and tactician Chris Larson taking an aggressive lead by one single point. Needless to say, the championship is far from over, and what is in store for the final day of racing will undoubtedly be exciting. Slipping a notch to second overall is John Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti with tactician Vasco Vascotto, tied in points with Lanfranco Cirillo and tactician Michele Paoletti on Fantastica in third.
"This is amazing. The top three boats are separated by one point," said an overly-excited Cirillo."Tomorrow will be fantastic and I'm sure, very enjoyable. We did not expect to be so close to the top, so for us this is just great. We are confident and look forward to some incredible competition."
The first race of the day was delayed by almost an hour or so before boats were off the line and on their way to completing race seven in a series of ten. Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino and tactician Francesco Bruni launched an all-out assault on the fleet, not just winning the first race with a massive lead, but took success another step further to win race two of the day as well. Onorato's remarkable day on the water has catapulted him to sixth place, up from twelfth overall.
"We hit the lucky lanes today," said Bruni. " The first start was pretty good and all the shifts went our way. The fact that we were not the boat always in the corner this time played to our best advantage. Upwind we were super fast. Our guys were really good. Downwind, we can do better, but we've certainly improved since we started the regatta."
The second race of the day made all the difference for both Onorato and Douglass. Both with great starts, Onorato pulled to the front almost immediately, challenged by Edoardo Lupi's Torpyone and Branko Brcin on tactics, Mauro Mocchegiani's Rush Diletta and tactician Matteo Ivaldi, Marc de Antonio's Bribon-Movistar and tactician Hugo Rocha, Joe Woods and tactician Paul Goodison on Red and Douglass rounded the top mark respectively. Lupi was super fast downwind trumping Onorato at the left-hand gate, the two were followed closely by Douglass. Back upwind, Douglass picked up a few more positions, rounding second behind Onorato, putting down a great chase to the finish. Onorato took the win, Douglass was second, while Mocchegiani scored a nice third.
"We had the start of a lifetime in the second race today. There were several key teams that looked to be drifting backwards. We got off the pin, then hit the perfect layline. That was huge," said Larson. "It made all the difference. It was a tough day for sure."
With one point separating the top three boats, the excitement leading up to the final races will most certainly mark it as one of the memorable moments in Melges 32 Class history. All three boats possess the desire and killer instinct to win.
Kilroy is an honourable competitor with instinct for success and very well armed with one of the strongest teams ever assembled. Until today, he led the championship, proving that his Samba Pa Ti ensemble is first class.
Cirillo is one of the class' most treasured class members, warmly and affectionately known to all as 'MoMo.' He and his Fantastica team are destined for an amazing result no matter what and long-overdue to win a marquee international title.
Douglass is no slouch. He has proven many times over that he works well under pressure, and the same goes for his team. As one of the most colorful and unpredictable Melges 32 class members, Douglass surely will deliver a performance on the water and off.
Weather predictions for the final day of racing possibly call for some rain, however racing is on schedule. Friend the class on Facebook and tune in for the dramatic conclusion of the championship.
Images from Nico Martinez/www.nicomartinez.com