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27 October 2009, 10:50 am
Larson Top The Leaderboard After Day One At Melges 24 Worlds
The Melges 24 fleet get away from the starting line on day one in Annapolis
The Melges 24 fleet get away from the starting line on day one in Annapolis

Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis Melges 24 World Championship 2009
Annapolis, Maryland, USA

The Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis 2009 Melges 24 World Championship got underway on Monday with two tricky races sailed in predominantly light airs out on Chesapeake Bay.
As well as having to deal with a capricious breeze, which peaked this the morning at around ten knots but dropped to around six knots by the afternoon, the fifty-one-boat fleet also had to factor some complex and not insignificant current flow into their race strategies. With the local conditions playing such a major role in things, it is perhaps no surprise that it was 'local boy' Chris Larson at the helm of 'West Marine Rigging and New England Ropes' who was able to make most sense of it all. Backed up by tactician Richard Clarke, Larson turned in the most consistent results for the day, with a 5, 2, scoreline that sees him top the leaderboard tonight. Despite snagging a crab pot when leading race one, Flavio Favini on the Swiss entry 'Blu Moon' still managed to post a third and fifth today and sit in second place, just one point off the lead. After recovering well from a poor start in the first race, Italy's Carlo Fracassoli on 'Gullisara' clawed his way back to ninth place at the finish, before taking a comfortable win in the second. This pair of top ten results were good enough to put him third overall at the end of the first day.

Reigning Melges 24 North American Champion, Terry Hutchinson on Quantum Racing, had what can best be described as a very mixed day on the water; having pulled off a spectacular win in the first race of the day and finishing in thirty-seventh place in the next. Hutchinson was surprisingly philosophical about things this evening when he commented, "The win in race one was very satisfying as we had great speed and everything felt great. Our thirty-seventh in the next race was no more or less complicated than us allowing ourselves to get completely dorked by two competitors in the middle of the start line. There are actually a lot of positives about that second race performance and we are confident that we will be able to pick ourselves up tomorrow, with our usual attention to detail and focusing in on getting off the start and nailing the first shift."

Bill Hardesty and tactician Vince Brun aboard 'Events Clothing and Atlantis' also struggled for consistency today with a nineteenth in race one followed up by a solid third in race two. Asked about today's conditions Brun shook his head ruefully and commented 'Pretty tricky all round. It seemed to us that you had to pick a side, as there was nothing to be gained from working the middle. The spread of the fleet means that if you guess right then you are in the top few, but if you get it wrong you are nowhere.' Nevertheless after two races the 'Events Clothing and Atlantis' team sit securely inside the top ten in seventh place.

The ever improving Alan Field and his USA crew aboard 'WTF' sailed two impressively composed races today and their 4, 6 scoreline puts them in fourth place and well within striking distance of the podium teams. Top flight European Star helm Eivind Melleby steered Norwegian entry 'Full Metal Jacket' into fifth overall with an 8, 4 tally for the day. Current Melges 24 US National Champion Brian Porter on 'Full Throttle' started the day with a second place before faltering slightly with an eleventh in the second race and now sit in sixth place tonight.

Reigning World and European Champion and regatta favourite Lorenzo Bressani on 'Uka Uka Racing' had a terrible start to his title defence, due in no small way to an ankle injury sustained to bow-girl Francesca Prina yesterday, which tragically may see her take no further part in this regatta. 'Uka Uka Racing' struggled to an uncharacteristic 26, 10 scoreline and sit in fifteenth place at the end of the first day. Bressani was clearly speaking candidly when he told us that "The first race was simply a disaster. Everything was bad, my start, our tactics the whole thing just went wrong." Perhaps most significant however was the recovery that Bressani pulled off in the second race after another poor start. In a twelve race series it is always risky to bet against the determination of the 'Uka Uka Racing' and with every team here likely to put in a high score this week, only time will tell how important their tenth place this afternoon will be come the end of this regatta.

Results - click here

Justin Chisholm
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