The 83 strong fleet from 15 nations experienced mixed fortunes on the opening day of the 2004 Melges 24 Worlds. As we go to press there are still a number of ourstanding protests against the race committee which could considerably affect the results.
Prior to the results of the protests and after two races in light to moderate winds it is currently Flavio FAVINI, helming for Switzerland's Franco ROSSINI, who heads the leader board from Italy's Nicola CELON, Germans Alba BATZILL and Dietrich SCHEDER and Rob SMITH, helming for Britain's Stuart SIMPSON. Among those protesting are first race winner Sebastien COL and defending World Champion Shark KAHN.
Although both races got away at the first attempt in each case there were a significant number of individual recalls. Unfortunately the committee were very slow in calling numbers and anyone who waited for the radio call before returning had little hope of ever of fighting their way back into the pack. Luca SANTELLA and Kenneth THELEN had the misfortune to be over in both races whilst defending champion Shark was over in the first and started cautiously in the second. Col claims that he realised he was over the line before the radio calls were made and had already returned and cleared himself before his number was called.
In the first race Col got an excellent start and lead the fleet throughout the race. Behind him Rob GREENHALGH, helming for Paul LOVEJOY, and Kristoffer SPONE, helming for Nils HAUFF, did battle for second and provided some of the closest action of the day for the spectators with Spone eventually finishing ahead. Keith MUSTO, Olympic silver medallist in the FD in 1964, proved that he still has what it takes by finishing fourth just ahead of his old adversary Alba BATZILL.
In the second race Flavio FAVINI, helming for Franco ROSSINI, led the pack in on the starboard lay line of the first weather mark as Maurizio Abba approached on port. Abba just cleared Favini who then slid round inside him to take the lead. Unfortunately Abba was one of those who had failed to return on an OCS so his efforts were for nought.
Favini spent the rest of the race opening out his lead to win comfortably. Rob SMITH had a great afternoon working his way up through the front of the pack to take second from Jean Paul DOUCHY, Dietrich SCHEDER and Nicola CELON.