Lorenzo Bressani Wins World & European Ranking, Alan Field Takes North American Ranking
The 2009 Melges 24 World Ranking Series, which featured 26 events, 13 in North America and 13 in Europe, attracted a near record entry of 366 competitors despite the global economic downturn. As always the series was closely fought with the ovarall result only being decided on the final events of the series. Competitors may compete in as many ranking events as they like but only their top four results will count towards the World Ranking and their top three results towards the European or North American Rankings.
Ultimately it was Italy's Lorenzo Bressani, at the helm for the legendary Uka Uka Racing Team of Lorenzo Santini, who claimed overall victory. The top five was entirely dominated by the Italian teams with Flavio Favini, helming for Switzerland's Franco Rossini aboard Blu Moon, taking second place just 5.7 points behind Bressani, Carlo Fracassoli took third, Riccardo Simoneschi fourth and Andrea Racchelli fifth. Breaking the Italian domination was American Alan Field who finished in sixth place with fellow American's Argyle Campbell seventh and Guy Mossman eighth. It was great to see sailors from some relatively new Melges 24 nations making an impression on the ranking as well with Slovenia's Peter Podunavac in ninth and Austria's Christoph Skolaut tenth.
The European Ranking top five entirely mirrored the World Ranking with Bressani again taking victory from Favini, Fracassoli, Simoneschi and Racchelli. Fellow Italian Pietro Sibello took sixth place with Germany's Kicker Schaefer seventh, Podunavac eighth, Furio Patrizio Monaco ninth and Giovanni Pizzatti tenth.
The North American Ranking went to Alan Field and his crew aboard WTF with Argyle Campbell second, Guy Mossman third, Paul Hulsey forth and John Podmajersky fifth. The battle for sixth place was extremely close with Bruce Ayres eventually getting the better of Scott Nixon by just 1.2 points. Brian Porter, August Hernandez and Peter Lane rounded out the top ten.
Alan Field and his crew not only won the North American Ranking but they also take the honours as the crew competing in the most ranking events this season having raced in no less than seven events in venues right around the USA including Key West, Annapolis, Detroit and Newport Beach, California.
For Lorenzo Bressani this was a second World Ranking victory, the first being in 2007, and he summed up his feelings about his season at the helm the Uka Uka Racing team by saying, “I’m very happy to have won again the World ranking. It has been an incredible year for our team, winning almost each race we took part in. We won ACURA Key West, the Nood Regatta in Annapolis, the Italian Championship, the Melges Week in Torbole, the European Championship and also the Pre-Worlds in Annapolis. We gave way at the World Championship, but it has really been the worse week of our team since it is born. Overall it has been a wonderful season for Uka Uka Racing and the icing on the cake is this double victory in the World and European Ranking. I’m raring to come back on the water in Key West in January. Next year will be another intensive season for us. We have a very good program culminating with the Worlds in Estonia. “
Although it is the race winners who are mentioned specifically in this report, the World Ranking Series is about more than just who wins the regattas. It brings together friends old and new at some of the best sailing venues on the planet and each event has its own unique atmosphere and style. The fact that, even in a year when the global economy has been in major crisis, the Melges 24 World and Continental Rankings can still attract a near record entry says a great deal about the camarderie of the competitors and the quality of the events on offer.
The 2010 European Ranking Events Schedule has now been published and dates for the North American Ranking Events will be published shortly on the IMCA 2010 Regatta Schedule.