2008 Carlo Borlenghi2008 Carlo Borlenghi

Stefano di Properzio on Mataran leads after day one of the Cala De'Medici - Rosignano edition of the Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series

12 July 2008

The sun shone brightly, but for a long time the breeze refused to make an appearance at the first day of the Cala De'Medici - Rosignano edition of the Melges 32 Audi Sailing Series. When it did eventually materialise, around 1430, it was a fitful offering which never managed to struggle above five knots. However after several hours of waiting on the dock the fleet were keen to race and they got away first time from a slightly pin biased startline.

Newcomer to the fleet Mauro Mocchegiani on Rush Diletta were called over early and had to make a long slow return to re-cross the line. Claudio Recchi at the helm of Lorenzo Santini's Uka Uka Racing won the pin but came off the startline a touch slow. To windward of them by a couple of boat lengths was Massimo and Stefan Leporati's Kismet who hit the line with better speed. However it was Stefano Di Properzio at the helm of Mataran who, having started to windward of both Kismet and Uka Uka Racing, hooked into a patch of breeze first and shot forward to take control of the race at this early stage. These three boats, along with Francesco Martino helming Pilot Italia, hung out to the left for several minutes before being headed and tacking simultaneously on to port. Mataran continually getting into the patches of breeze first, were able to build up a thirty second lead by the end of the first leg. With the boats who went hard right being stranded by a left hand shift at the end of the beat it was Kismet who rounded second, followed in quick order by Pilot Italia and Uka Uka Racing.

There were no place changes on the right favoured downwind leg and Mataran sailed perfectly to extend their lead to over one minute at the leeward gate. The race team set a change mark to the left, to take account of the shifted breeze and at the top mark for the second time Mataran rounded well ahead. Kismet, having worked the right of the beat had dropped out of contention allowing Pilot Italia to move into second, ahead of Uka Uka Racing and a quickly improving Savino Formentini on Bitipi.

On the downwind leg Mataran continued to extend and at the finish they were over three minutes ahead of the chasing pack – a margin of victory rarely achieved at a Melges 32 regatta. Pilot Italia took a comfortable second followed by Uka Uka Racing, Bitipi, Kismet and Michael Illbruck's Pinta.

As the wind dropped away there was no chance of more racing and the fleet quickly headed for the marina. Back ashore Mataran's owner/driver Stefano Di Properzio told us that he was delighted with this first race win in the Melges 32 class – especially as this was only his second regatta in the fleet. Stefano has moved up to the Melges 32 from the Melges 24 class where he raced with the same core team. He commented that there were many similarities between the 24 and the 32 but if anything the 32 is easier to keep 'in the groove. Talking about today's race he said 'We led from the start and initially concentrated on keeping cover on the pack behind us' he said. 'But later we had a good lead and were able to sail our own race. Our Russian tactician, Sergei Chevtsov, did a great job and he helped us pull out a large margin by the finish'.

At this morning's briefing the fleet unanimously expressed its appreciation for yesterday's excellent practice race session, which had been laid on courtesy of Michael Illbruck and his Pinta team. Also thanks to Pinta, as soon as the fleet came ashore tonight the hungry sailors were able to enjoy a beer and pizza party on the dock.

Racing will continue tomorrow when the forecast suggests better winds, which should enable the race committee to catch up with some of the races lost today.

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.

Melges Europe and the Melges 32 European Class are grateful for the continuing support of their title sponsor Audi and also to Moby Lines for their generous assistance with the transportation of the fleet during the 2008 Audi Sailing Series.

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