by Joy Dunigan
Melges 32 World Championship fourth and largest edition will be held by the International Melges 32 Class Association (IM32CA), hosted by New York Yacht Club (NYYC), from September 20th to 29th 2012. Thirty-four Melges 32s representing eight countries have registered to compete for the class' most coveted title. As expected, the final field of competitors is one of the strongest and most talented laden including twenty-one teams from the United States, six from Japan, four from Italy and one each from Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Turkey, Switzerland and Sweden.
Melges 32 World Championship 2012
One team in particular that has great aspirations of victory in Newport is Mascalzone Latino owned by Italy's Vincenzo Onorato, current leader of the 2012 Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series and European Champion.
'We have sailed in Newport many times and have won two major international titles here.' says Onorato. 'Now, I am really proud to come back with my Melges 32 team. I am satisfied with the first part of the 2012 season, and the Mascalzone Latino team is ready for the most important appointment of all - the World Championship, organized by the New York Yacht Club. We have been sailing a lot this year in the U.S. and we have participated in every Audi Sailing Series event completed thus far.'
With 2008 470 Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Wilmot as tactician, and the additional likes of Alberto Bolzan and Andrea Ballico, Onorato is clearly prepared to position himself to win.
Onorato's next greatest rival from Europe is fellow Italian owner Lanfranco Cirillo aboard Fantastica. Cirillo, endearingly referred to by everyone in the fleet as 'Momo', packs a real punch of consistency with Michele Paoletti as tactician, Niccolo Bianchi and Claudio Celon forming the core of this very successful Melges 32 team.
Winner of the 2011 Audi Sailing Series, Cirillo knows what it will take to be victorious. 'We have been sailing a lot this year, but in Newport, we go to have fun.'
Italian standout boats Bombarda, owned by Andrea Pozzi with tactician Gabriele Benussi and Torpyone, owned by Edoardo Lupi with Branko Brcin on tactics are making a first-time, North American appearance.
The Japanese will also be well represented at Worlds with an impressive six teams. 'The Melges brand is fairly new to Japan and becoming more and more popular everyday.' says Melges Japan representative Kan Yamada. 'The Melges 32 is great fun and offers up the very best one design racing competition in the world. It is just incredible to have Japan represented in this arena.'
From Keisuke Suzuki aboard Swing with tactician Jesper Radich, to Roberto Tomasini Grinover's Robertissima locked and loaded with the legendary Vasco Vascotto on tactics, the European and Australasian offense looks promising.
The 2012 Melges 32 World Championship will present five days of competition and a fantastic social events schedule. Onsite registration will begin on September 20th, Pre-Worlds warm-up competition will be held on September 22nd and 23rd, and five days of full on World Championship racing starts on September 25th running through September 29th. Worlds never fails to be an event of epic proportions with excellent, competitive racing.
Post Worlds, the final chapter of the 2012 Audi Sailing Series concludes in Naples on October 19-21.
Full Entry List (Owner/Tactician)
1.) Phil Lotz/Brad Read, Arethusa
2.) Jason Carroll/Cameron Appleton, Argo
3.) Pieter Taselaar/Nick Thompson, Bliksem
4.) Andrea Pozzi/Gabriele Benussi, Bombarda
5.) Michael Dominguez/Andy Horton, Bronco
6.) Joel Ronning/Bill Hardesty, Catapult
7.) Malcolm Gefter/Andrew Campbell, Celeritas
8.) Ed Tillinghast/Allan Terhune, Jr., Dark N' Stormy
9.) Dalton DeVos/Jonathan McKee, Delta
10.) Makoto Uematsu/Ken Read, Esmeralda
11.) Lanfranco Cirillo/Michele Paoletti, Fantastica
12.) Terry McSweeny/Seadon Wijsen, Flat Stanley
13.) William Douglass/Chris Larson, Goombay Smash
14.) Deneen Demourkas/Kelvin Harrap, Groovederci
15.) Alec Cutler/Richard Clarke, Hedgehog
16.) Mark Plaxton/Peter Holmberg, INTAC
17.) Alex Jackson/Charlie McKee, Leenabarca
18.) Vincenzo Onorato/Nathan Wilmot, Mascalzone Latino
19.) Naofumi Kamei/Manuel Weiller, Mamma Aiuto!
20.) Steve Rhyne/Johnny Lovell, Mojo
21.) John Taylor/Jeff Madrigalli, Ninkasi
22.) Benjamin Schwartz/Chris Rast, Pisces
23.) Daisuke Kimura/Umihiko Arakawa, Quetefeek
24.) Roberto Tomasini Grinover/Vasco Vascotto, Robertissima
25.) Richard Gorannson/Matt Humphries, Inga III
26.) Willis 'Andy' Lovell/Steve Benjamin, Rougarou
27.) John Kilroy/Paul Goodison, Samba Pa Ti
28.) Keisuke Suzuki/Jesper Radich, Swing
29.) Takashi Okura/Eiichiro Hamazaki, SLED
30.) Edoardo Lupi/Branko Brcin, Torpyone
31.) Ryan DeVos/Ed Baird, Volpe
32.) Steve Howe/Morgan Larson, Warpath
33.) Yukihiro Ishida/Ross MacDonald, Yasha Samurai
34.) Alexis Michas/Brian Ledbetter, Zetiana
Melges 32 World Championship Website