Melges 24 Worlds go down under
Published on February 2nd, 2014
Geelong, Australia (February 2, 2014) – Australia’s southern states are in the midst of another summer heatwave. The upshot is Geelong’s trusty afternoon sea breeze was waylaid today, cutting short the Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 by one race.
The standings at the end of four days and 11 races became the final results, denying American Bora Gulari the opportunity to trade places for second overall.
Blu Moon helmsman Flavio Favini and owner Franco Rossini had the world championship wrapped up with a day to spare and opted to haul out and pack up the boat this morning, ready for shipping back to Europe.
Their win gives the Blu Moon team of Favini, Gabriele Benussi, Stefano Rizzi, Giovanni Ferrari and Nicholas Dal Ferro the prestigious double of current European and World Melges 24 champions.
The fleet poked around Corio Bay until 10 minutes before the 1500hrs cut off to start racing then crews turned for home to haul out and change into their civvies for tonight’s gala dinner.
Harry Melges’ STAR team from the USA, including Jeff Ecklund and two of the crew from last year’s world championship winning team of Full Throttle, Federico Michetti and Andy Burdick, were delighted with the contrary breeze.
“We were happy to leave things as they were. We were duking out for the title, but obviously it’s better to be second than third,” said Melges. “Hats off to Flavio and his team, they sailed an awesome regatta. They’ve been sailing in the Melges 24 class for a long time and with all the effort they put in they deserve to win, their hard work paid off.”
On his Aussie adventure the class co-founder added, “We made a lot of new friends and had a great time. It’s always good to kick Bora’s ass too”.
Gulari and his crew of Jonathan McKee, George Peet, Jonny Goldsburry and Norman Berge saved the best until last and West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes was just a point off STAR in third overall.
“We missed an opportunity to move up. We’ll have just to go after Harry next time,” said Gulari. “It’s good to race against him; the crew are a class act. Star and Blu Moon are both really good teams, they are the reason I enjoy sailing in the Melges.”
Fourth was Chris Larson’s Cavallino/McLube and fifth was Riccardo Simoneschi’s Audi.
Nathan Wilmot’s Melges Asia Pacific Kaito was sixth on the ladder and the best placed Australian team. The Olympic 470 gold medallist says it wasn’t quite the result he was hoping for, but he was happy to mix it up with the big boys.
“The international guys brought the level up from what we are used to in Australia,” Wilmot acknowledged. “The top five results show how much regular sailing improves the team. It’s the little one percenters like mark roundings they do so accurately. It’s hard to put a team together to beat that.
“Blu Moon sailed a great regatta to win the worlds. All credit to them, they deserve to be where they are.”
The top Corinthian results were also settled yesterday. John Bacon’s Roger That from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club helmed by Cameron Miles and crewed by Bacon, Craig Pocklington and James Mayjor finished first with 16 points to Robin Deussen’s Red Mist on 25 points and Geoff Fogarty’s Amigos on 35 points.
Deussen, one of a large field sailing for Adelaide Sailing Club, opened the Corinthian series strongly with Red Mist, but couldn’t reign in Miles and Co. who also finished a respectable ninth overall from the 26-boat fleet.
On the Corinthian division Deussen commented, “For the non-professional teams it’s a bonus, we still want to go well against the guns though”.
Consistent afternoon sou’east sea breezes during the preceding Gill Melges 24 Australian Open Nationals gave many of the teams the chance to acquaint themselves with Corio Bay and straighten out any kinks before the main game.
Reliable winds averaging 12-14 knots and sunny skies blessed the first three days of the world championship, Wednesday 29th to Friday 31st January. For the final two days hotter temperatures delayed the wind’s arrival yesterday and cut today’s final race 12 out of the program.
Final Results (Top 5 of 26: 11 races, 1 discard)
1. BLU MOON, Flavio Favini (SUI825), 6-3-(7)-1-2-5-1-4-1-2-3, 28 points
2. STAR, Harry Melges (USA841), 2-2-3-5-1-1-9-(13/ZFP)-3-6-4, 36
3. WEST MARINE RIGGING, Bora Gulari (USA820), (8)-7-6-2-6-2-3-6-2-1-2, 37
4. CAVILLINO / MCLUBE, Chris Larson (CAN795), 1-1-5-10-4-3-6-3-10-(17)-1, 44
5. AUDI, Riccardo Simoneschi (ITA840), 4-4-(19)-4-3-4-5-7-7-7-7, 52
Event photo gallery
By Lisa Ratcliff/Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 Media – On Course Communications
Day 4 racing video highlights by Beau Outteridge Productions