Lining up for the Gill Melges 24 Worlds in Geelong
Wednesday January 22nd 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australia
Boats from San Francisco to Geelong, from California to Australia, will all be chasing the title at the Melges 24 World Championship next week.
Audi Ultra is starting her 2014 sailing season facing the longest away race of all: Riccardo Simoneschi’s team ended 2013 with the World Championship in San Francisco, but has headed Down Under where over 29 January to 2 February the best teams in the class will be fighting it out to beat reigning champion Brian Porter’s Full Throttle.
Unprecedented leader and number one in the class ranking, Audi Ultra is ready for this challenge. Riccardo Simoneschi has four of his five original crew that competed on board during the last season. Vittorio Rosso, has been replaced by Luna Rossa sailor Manuel Modena, and past Melges 24 World Champion with James Spithill in 2005.
Aboard Audi Ultra will also be tactician Enrico Fonda, pitman Federico Buscaglia and bowman Lucia Giorgetti.
Holding a World Championship in Australia has thinned out the fleet , however it has raised the quality with only the most professional teams deciding to take part.
Around 30 teams will be competing in Geelong, including a group of winning teams. Besides Audi Ultra, among the favourites Flavio Favini’s Blu Moon, American Bora Gulari’s West Marine Rigging, Olympic champion Nathan Wilmot’s Kaito Northshore Marine and Harry Melges’ Star. Not to be understimated are teams like Altea of Andrea Racchelli, that has also been a regular winner. Sadly reigning Melges 24 World Champion, Brian Porter and his Full Throttle Racing Team are absent from the line-up.
“This World Championship will be hard for several reasons,” says Simoneschi. “The conditions, the race course on a very narrow bay doesn’t make it easy and then there is the fact that at least 15 teams are capable of winning. Many Australian crews will be relying on the skills of Olympic medallists in their teams and it will be tough on the start line. We have all ingredients for a successfull championship.
© 2013 Helly Hansen, Published August 1
Last weekend, July 26-28, was a great weekend for sailing. Sporting Helly Hansen gear, the Audi Ultra crew was crowned the winner of the 3rd act of the European Sailing Series in Melges 24 class. The regatta took place at Torbole and was joined by a myriad of fantastic sailing teams.
It took eight intense and hard fought races for the Audi Ultra team to secure the victory of the third stage of the series. The winning crew was composed of helmsman Riccardo Simoneschi, tactician Enrico Fonda, trimmer Federico Buscaglia, pitman Michele Cannoni and bowman Lucia Giorgetti. The team demonstrated its skills by coping with the unstable Ora wind. Their will for a win was obvious from the very beginning of the race, even with the tough competition they had to face. In the final ranking Audi Ultra got the first place and was followed by EFG Bank with an 8-point-margin, and Giogi at 3rd place. Right behind them were the Japanese team of Makoto Nagahashi & Taki 4 of Giacomo Fossati.
After racing in Torbole waters, Audi Ultra’s helmsman Simoneschi shared his impressions from the competition and his expectations of their next challenge in the continental circuit of the Melges 24 Class: “Torbole has been very important, allowing us to understand our skills in preparation for the next European Championship in Medemblick that’s taking place on the third week of August. In Holland we’ll have to face many of the same sailing teams and other more tricky ones such as Lenny, two-time Olympic medalist Tonu Toniste and Storm Capital Sail Racing of the Norwegian Peder Jahre, already three-time European Corinthian Champion.”
We wish the team luck in their preparation and we will follow with excitement the upcoming decisive stages in Medemblik, Holland (16-24 August) and Hanko, Norway (6-8 September).
More Info: Audi Sailing Team
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