2008 Max Ranchi2008 Max Ranchi

Claudio Recchi Wins Two Races To Lead The Cagliari Edition of the Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series

27 June 2008

The Cagliari edition of the Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series exploded into life today with three races being completed in near perfect, ten to twelve knot, Mediterranean conditions. As expected, the racing was of the highest quality with the teams having to use every ounce of their skill and expertise to gain any advantage.

The crews arriving at the dock this morning were greeted by clear blue skies accompanied by a warm, gentle breeze. Following the skippers briefing, where the fleet were reminded by Chief Umpire Luca Babini of his intention to strictly enforce the class concerning bowsprits, all the boats left the dock well in advance of the 12.30 scheduled start time. Outside out of the confines of the harbour the breeze was solid and racing was able to start on time.

The fleet was split on the first upwind leg of race one with Stefano Leporati's 'Kismet' leading the group furthest right looking good for much of the beat. At the top mark however the boats who had worked the middle and left who had done the best and Michael Illbruck's 'Pinta' led a very compressed group around.

Down the run most boats chose to stay right but a group led by Claudio Recchi at the helm of 'Uka Uka' racing made a small gain by gybing out to the left. The choice of the leeward gate mark was almost exactly an even split with 'Uka Uka Racing' taking advantage of a couple of boats overstanding the laylines, to round first ahead of 'Pinta'.

With the breeze oscillating the tacticians had to be on top of their game and there were several place changes up the next beat. Rounding the top mark for the second time Luigi Melegari's 'Matrix - Cortina d'Amprezzo' took the lead from 'Uka Uka Racing' in second, then Armando Giuletti's 'Hiroshi - Citta di Milano'.

On the final run the boats who gybed early found more pressure and a big let down enabling them to make a huge gain. At the finish 'Uka Uka Racing' took the gun with 'Hiroshi - Citta di Milano' second and Savino Formentini's 'Bitipi' getting the decision on a photo finish with 'Pinta' to take third. The leader at the top mark, 'Matrix' came in fifth.

'Uka Uka Racing' had the upper hand right from the very start of race two and tactician Gabriele Benussi made sure that they were in complete control for the entire race. Behind them a fascinating three way battle for second place was going on between 'Bitipi', 'Matrix' and Fausto Rubbini's Thule. With places changing between these boats at every cross, predicting second was impossible until the final boat lengths to the line. In the end 'Matrix' did enough to claim second with 'Bitipi' clocking up another third ahead of 'Thule' and 'Kismet' in fourth and fifth.

The final race of the day was another close fought affair featuring lots of place changing both upwind and down. Aboard 'Hiroshi - Citta di Milano' tactician Ian Ainslie made the most of the shifts on the second beat to get them around the windward mark in the lead. With the breeze now flicking around considerably they did well to extend their lead on the final run to take a well deserved win.

Despite having rounded the last mark in second, as they neared the finish, 'Uka Uka' found themselves trapped on starboard gybe outside the layline for the right hand end of the line by a pack of boats. Despite desperate efforts to soak down into a gybing position they were unable to make it and consequently dropped to fifth. 'Thule' made the most of the last section of the run to take second ahead of 'Bitipi' who recorded yet another third place.

Despite their last race troubles Claudio Recchi and Gabriele Benussi aboard 'Uka Uka Racing' hold a two point lead over the ever consistent Savino Formentini and tactician Flavio Grassi on 'Bitipi'. Just one point behind in third is Armando Giuletti and Ian Ainslie on 'Hiroshi - Citta di Milano'.

The social programme kicked off this afternoon when the crews hit the dock and were able to enjoy free beer and pasta courtesy of Michael Illbruck's Pinta team. On Saturday evening there will be a Mojito Party hosted by Audi Medcup at their magnificent tented village which is in place for next week's TP52 event here in Cagliari. Sunday's final prizegiving will also take place at the Audi Medcup facility following the end of racing.

Five more races are scheduled in what is shaping up to be a superb regatta. Melges Europe will be issuing further daily press releases to keep you up to date as the Cagliari edition of the Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series unfolds.

As press releases, results and photos are made available, they will be posted online at the official web site of the International Melges 32 Class Association, www.melges32.com.

Melges Europe and the Melges 32 European Class are grateful for the continuing support of their sponsors: Audi and Moby Lines.

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For more information please contact:
Justin Chisholm
Melges Europe Press Office

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