Luca Lalli, BLinSailing.com - Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta 2012
Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta 2012 day 1 was electrifying.
PRO Bruce Golison fired off four great races leaving Luca Lalli, aboard Blinsailing.com ahead by a phenomenal eleven points. Twenty-eight year old Lalli is a former Melges 32 World Champion.
At his side, at the time of that championship and this one, is none other than tactician Lorenzo Bressani. 'Today was very good. The last race though, I think we could have been faster,' said Lalli. 'I think if we would have held off the other team just a little longer we could have won. It just turned out they were closer to the line when we tacked.'
Fleet newcomer Grant Hood on Bohica is seated in second overall. Hood countered Lalli's call for domination by winning the last two races of the day making him his closest competition. In third is Michael Kiss' Bacio.
Audi Melges 20 starting line action - Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta 2012
Race One of the day commenced under moderate temperatures, a warm wind of 16-20 knots, overcast skies and a light chop. The first start was clean with Hood taking an early lead at the top mark, while Lalli and Paul Reilly's Red Sky Sailing Team following in an aggressive chase. With kites perfectly set, Lalli and Reilly accelerated quick to take the lead, eventually commanding the fleet and battling for position right up to the gate. Lalli was first through, then Reilly. Back upwind Lalli remained strong holding on to take the win. Wilber and Reilly battled to the finish line with Reilly sliding from the left with amazing speed to take second. Wilber settled for third.
With the breeze holding steady, Kiss' Bacio came on strong in Race Two to take an early lead. Lalli managed to come from behind at the final weather mark, stealing the top spot and taking the win. Reilly continued to play the shifts just right finishing in second, followed by Marcus Eagan on Cajun Underwriting claiming third.
Grant Hood, Bohica - Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta 2012
In Race Three, Hood lashed out once more at the stiff competition taking an almost 100 yard lead at the weather mark. Hood launched and set his spinnaker, then extended for the win. 'When we finished that second race, and we finally stopped, I looked around and didn't see any other boats. I looked at my tactician and said 'you didn’t tell me I was this far ahead,' said a smiling Hood. 'They were telling me the whole time to concentrate.'
The final race of the day waved goodbye to the cold front and said hello to light clouds, stunning sunshine and blue skies. The breeze on conditions remained firmly in place as Steve Sisson at the helm of Tony Tabb's Elevation Racing seized the top mark in first, Hood in second and Lalli, seemingly relaxed, charged forward in third.
The three top boats put spectators on the edge of their seats as they took their positions, jostling back-and forth, within a boat length of one another to the finish. Hood, along with Gold Cup Champion tactician Jonathan McKee, simply out-tacked Bressani right at the line. Hood ended up being closer by half-a-boat length therefore taking the win. Lalli was second and to port, Tabb finished third.
Today produced ideal planning conditions leaving every team grinning ear-to-ear. With a steady 16-20 knots of breeze (22-27 knot gusts) almost every team had their eyes on the Velocitek, only to be thrilled with 15+ knots of speed downwind. For these Melges roadsters it’s appropriately referred to as 'rippin'. The confirmed top speed was 16.9 kts recorded by Reilly’s Red Sky. Sweet.
Two additional races take place on Sunday, the final day of racing. Tune in to the Audi Melges 20 Blog for as they happen updates.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After four races)
1.) Luca Lalli, BLinsailing.com; 1-1-3-2 = 7
2.) Grant Hood, Bohica; 8-8-1-1 = 18
3.) Michael Kiss, Bacio; 3-4-4-10 = 21
4.) Tony Tabb, Elevation Racing; 5-13-5-3 = 26
5.) Brian Kamilar, Funner; 7-5-8-7 = 27
6.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing Team; 2-2-19-5 = 28
7.) Marcus Eagan, Cajun Underwriting; 10-3-12-9 = 34
8.) Marc Hollerbach, Fu; 13-7-10-11 = 41
9.) Pieter Taselaar, Bliksem; 11-9-2-20 = 42
10.) Rob Wilber, Cinghiale; 4-23-11-4 = 42
Full Results here
Michael Kiss, Bacio (left) and Luca Lalli, BLinsailing.com (right) - Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Regatta 2012