2008 Max Ranchi2008 Max Ranchi

Melges Europe Team Profile ITA 185 LEA 'Amalia de Lana'

12 July 2008

It is well known that the Melges 32 European fleet acts like a magnet to today's top flight one design racers, with some of the best known names in the world flocking to compete in this dynamic class. However the Cagliari round of the 2008 Audi Sailing Series also saw the arrival of a new team with a rather atypical crew profile. LEA is raced by a collective of friends who last sailed together some twenty year previously. Their vintage crew includes two grandfathers and has a combined age of 331. The boat takes its name from the first letter of the owners' Christian names – Luigi Carini (61), Ernesto Faraco (49), Andrea Pace (54), Adriano de Concini (62), Alfonso Gennari Santori (50) and Eugenio Marsaglia (55). For reasons perhaps best know to themselves the group of owners like to be referred to as 'Amalia de Lana' which (roughly) translates as the 'Woolly Jumpers'.

The team whose last serious yacht racing was back in the dim and distant days of IOR are not lacking in experience and can count Atlantic crossings, Whitbread Round the World Races and 80's Mediterranean One Ton Cup campaigns amongst their collective sailing CV's. Remarkably they had not seen a Melges 32 in the flesh until their new boat was delivered to their first regatta in Cagliari in June this year. Equally amazing is the fact that they decided to join the class after seeing You Tube footage of the Melges 32 on the Internet.

Ernesto Faraco explains how they came to choose the Melges 32. 'We all raced together very seriously in the old days but we stopped when professionalism came into the sport and we simply found it too expensive to compete properly. After deciding this year to start racing again, we wanted to find a class where the owners were not relegated to sitting at the back and writing cheques. The owner-driver rule in the Melges 32 class is perfect for us in that way. We saw video of the boat on the internet and immediately rang Harry Melges to find out how to buy one. He put us in touch with Melges Europe and Federico Michetti and Luisa Bambozzi have looked after us superbly since then. Now, here we are at our first regatta with a brand new boat'.

Despite what appeared to be a baptism of fire on their first day's racing, in fifteen knots in Cagliari, the veteran team are clearly besotted with the Melges 32. Ernesto, who was helming at that regatta told us 'We are very happy. Today we did not finish any of the races but we learned lots of things that we were doing wrong and tomorrow will be much better. We love the Melges 32.' He was right – they did get better. In gentler conditions over the following days of the regatta they not only finished all the races but also had cause to celebrate when, in one race, they managed to round the first windward mark with a boat behind them. The rest of the Melges 32 fleet clearly admire the passion that the 'Amalia de Lana' have demonstrated and they have been deluged with offers of help and advice to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.

Team LEA are clearly in the class to stay. They will be competing at all of the remaining 2008 Audi Sailing Series regattas and even have hopes of attracting a sponsor to cover the costs of transporting the boat to compete in some of the US regattas. Saga Insurance – are you listening?

For more information please contact, please contact Justin Chisholm, Melges Europe Press Officer on mobile at +44 7769 938722, or Skype: justinchis.