Official Statement, International Melges 32 Class Association, Lake Garda Incident

16 July 2013

The following communication is an Official Statement from the International Melges 32 Class Association (IM32CA) regarding the incident that occurred this weekend on Lake Garda.

Additionally, provided below are apology statements from Filippo Pacinotti's Brontolo and Marc de Antonio's Bribon-Movistar.

Filippo Pacinotti, Brontolo
My name is Filippo Pacinotti and I am the owner of the Melges 32 Brontolo.
Brontolo is racing the Melges 32 European Circuit since 5 years now.
During the 4th leg of the 2013 Circuit in Torbole – Lake Garda – Italy for reasons that I will try to explain in details at the end of this statement my boat during racing sailed through the Optimist Fleet that was competing for their Pre Worlds organized by the Yacht Club of Riva del Garda (Fraglia Vela Riva).
It happened 2 times upwind and 2 times downwind in 2 different days.
Brontolo was not the only Melges 32 sailing there, it happened to multiple boats of the fleet. 
I thought a lot about how to start this kind of press release and the I decided to go straight forward:
I have to express my most sincere apologies to 4 groups of people:
• The Kids – especially those who have potentially been scared by our behavior.
• Their Families for the same reason above
• The Coaches that have undirect responsibility on the water for their athletes
• The Optimist International Class that, I imagine, was putted under heavy pressure for what happened.
Let me have even some words for my crew, including the afterguard, that has no responsibility either if some exists.
I could have easily gybed away being the helm in my hands.
Again, on my opinion, there are reasons why this has happened, the helmsman is not looking for excuses but some additional infos should been analized.
Hopefully what above is clear enough.

Now why this has happened?
• North Lake Garda is a very particular place where to sail, crowded and superbusy on the water during summer time (hundreds of dinghies, kitesurf, windsurf etc). It is a place like many knows which obliges you to sail on the extreme border of the racing area (left or right it depends).
• The racing areas for the Optis and the Melges 32 were overlapping. Both racing committees were, on my opinion, not reacting to this fact in the way they could (moving one of the field away from the other even after many complaints).
• Communication between the Yacht Clubs and the racing committes was simply not working.
• Moroever, with the exception of the last day, the starting time for the 2 fleets was basically the same.
• Conflicts were basically guaranteed.
• As a results the “encounters” with the Opti Fleet were usual, I would not say safe but usual.
• While racing we thought was an option to go extreme left and to cross the Opti Fleet we maneuvered to find our hole, depowering the boat letting the kite fly for a while and then proceed until the finish line as well documented in the video posted.
• We thought was safe enough. We did not hit anybody, nobody was even close to be injured, we had no discussion with our racing committee that clearly saw us and many other right there.
• The Melges 32 Brontolo did not infringe any rule letting, on our opinion, enough water for everybody to sail.
To make what has become a long story short this has been a bad day for me, for sure this it is not going to happen again to my boat and I feel sorry for what happened.
At the same time let’s try all to stay objective and understand well that there were too many coincidences not created by the competitors.
Hope this helps. 
- Filippo Pacinotti
 

Marc de Antonio, Bribon Movistar
The purpose of this letter is to clarify the events that happened in Lake Garda, Italy, on Friday July 12th during the 4th Event of the Audi Sailing Series Circuit for the Melges 32 class.

1. The boat Brontolo and ourselves, Bribon-Movistar, we were then first and second respectively and we were, I believe, sailing the second downwind leg of the second race. In the same leg while we were sailing on port we found the offset mark of an Optimist regatta in the middle of our race course.

2. We didn’t know if it was training or a race and we saw a clear space between their group of boats so we decided to keep going, therefore we eased our asymmetrical to lose power, slow down and have more control. We went from doing 15 knots to 11 knots of boat speed. There was around 16, maximum 18 knots of true wind speed.

3. Not a single Optimist had to alter their course at any point and there wasn’t at any moment a distance of less than a length (around 10 metres) between us and any Optimist.

4. The remaining Melges 32 boats that were behind us to our stern or slightly to our leeward saw the situation and managed to change their course with more time ahead and stay away from that group.

5. Once we passed the first group of Optimists, two or three minutes later we saw another larger group of optimists so we gybed to avoid them and head to our arrival.

6. We did not give more importance to this fact, since we believed we hadn’t affected anyone.

7. The next day as soon as we saw again a large fleet of Optimist in the water near our race course we communicated this to one of our committee boats before the start so they could be more careful when setting up our race course and so they could coordinate with the Optimist race committee to avoid an overlap between the two race courses and fleets.

Our surprise was seeing that since yesterday, Monday, this has been commented negatively by a group of people in an American blog. The editors of the blog and some readers have judged some facts that they didn’t see personally. They do this based on a video, the comments of the person who recorded it and a photo. In both cases, and especially in the photo because of a zoom effect of the camera it may seem that the distances were smaller than they actually were.

We know that the Melges Europe class, the International Melges Class and the Club organizer of our race have already been in touch with the appropriate people to clarify this fact. We, as Bribon-Movistar team and me personally as skipper, co-owner and person in charge at the time, through this letter we would like to clarify the facts and apologize if someone really thinks that we could have somehow affected any of those kids who were sailing in that race.

You should also remember that some of our crew sailed Optimist until not that long ago and some even have children that sail Optimists nowadays. Who could ever think that we could act without evaluating the situation and putting in the minimum possible risk any of these children?

Kind regards to all and again I would like to apologize to the children if they felt affected at any point and to those who, because of the comments raised in that blog, may have been offended or felt upset.

Marc de Antonio.
Bribon-Movistar. Melges32


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