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25 July 2010

Rimini Co-Owners Hold On To Victory, Narrows Series Points Gap To Giallongo

July 25, 2010 (Malcesine, Italy) - 
Despite an early 9:30 start, only one race would be possible on the final day of the inaugural Audi Melges 20 Gold Cup. With the overall victory in the balance, and tight grouping among numerous boats further down the standings, it would be an exciting one.

"Our plan was to take the right side of the first beat, but certainly not the way we did it!" said Reggini tactician Branko Brcin, referring to the 10-boat pileup at the final start that left Reggini at a standstill immediately after the start. "Fortunately, the right turned out to be the place to be," said Brcin. Their epic recovery began with a near-perfect windward leg, and by the top mark, they passed most the fleet, rounding in 10th place.

Value Team helmsman Francesco Scarselli had a much better start, though tactician Chicco Fonda chose the left side of the first leg - a choice which would prove disastrous. "I thought there was something over there, and on the first leg, I was wrong," he said. By the top mark, Value Team had fallen back to 17th position. "We kept it positive and had an incredible downwind run, and by the bottom, we'd caught Farneti," said owner Benedetto Giallongo. Fonda wanted to cross behind Farneti and continue to the right side of the lake, though Scarselli instead chose to gybe close to Reggini, who took advantage of the situation and forced Value Team into a foul. "We had an unfortunate misunderstanding on our boat, and the resulting penalty turn meant that we had to once again come back from a big deficit," said Fonda. In the end, despite a brilliant second beat Value Team didn't have enough race course to catch and pass Farneti.

Principal Race Officer Fabio Barrasso sent the teams to shore after patiently waiting for the wind to stabilize, though it never would. Sailors filled the Fraglia Vela Malcesine restaurant, patiently waiting for an Ora wind that would arrive far later than usual, and too late for the event's rules. "With a strong North-flowing current and a very weak and spotty wind from the North, I could not find a way to set a fair course, before the wind shut off," said Barrasso, who hoisted the signal abandoning racing promptly at 1430 to the crowd's cheers. The sailors then turned their attention on the winning crew, gently urging them into the chilly waters of Lake Garda in celebration. "We're very happy for Francesco and Andrea," said Giallongo as he watched the traditional dousing. "They worked very hard, they deserve their win, and we look forward to a rematch in Rimini." After 23 races in the 2010 Audi Sailing Series, Giallongo leads Farneti/Musone by just 9 points going into the final event. "We're going home, and we can't wait to sail the last event there," said Farneti. When asked whether the venue would provide an advantage for his team over Giallongo and Domenici, he said nothing - but he smiled.

A long delay to resolve a protest gave sailors time to haul and pack up their Audi Melges 20s and enjoy the hospitality of the FVM's staff, and by 5 PM, the protest was decided against Luca Domenici and Team Notaro, who were disqualified from the final race for a mark rounding incident, dropping them one position to fourth place overall, and allowing Sei Tu 20 a chance to sneak into fifth place on countback, tied on points with America's Michael Kiss. "Disappointed? No way!" said Kiss after being incorrectly awarded a trophy that he knew he'd just missed out on. "I bought a boat for Italy because I love everything about this place, even if it means I don't take home any silverware."

Sei Tu 20 tactician Flavio Favini seemed far more happy to have sailed with son Luca than he was with any trophy, as his high-profile racing career rarely allows such a treat. "I love sailing with my dad," Luca said.

GRATITUDE ALL AROUND
The International Audi Melges 20 Class offers deep thanks to the Fraglia Vela Malcesine and all its volunteers and staff, Audi and all the event sponsors, and the international media for its attendance and strong interest. "We are gracious to have such good support from so many sources, but especially, our owners and crews," said International Class Vice Chairman (Europe) Giallongo. "We also invite everyone to visit the Melges Europe Facebook Page to see the hundreds of photos posted there, and we encourage all our sailors and their friends to tag the pictures so everyone can see them.

WHAT'S NEXT?
Three more impeccable events are forthcoming for the Audi Melges 20 - 2010 U.S. Nationals Championship (August 27-29 in Macatawa, Mich.), the final Audi Sailing Series Circuit event in Rimini (September 11-12). The fleet will also participate at Oktoberfest on September 24-26 on Lake Starnberg, Germany.

Top Ten Results (After 7 Races)
1.) Francesco Farneti, Reggini Sailing Team; 3-2-1-4-8-[11]-2-4 = 24
2.) Benedetto Giallongo, Value Team; 1-1-[8]-2-1-8-8-7 = 28
3.) Marco Perazzo/Renato Vallivero, Turnover; 10-4-2-9-7-2-5-8 = 37
4.) Luca Domenici, Notaro Team; 5-8-4-1-16-4-4-[DSQ] = 42
5.) Marco Morina, Sei Tu 20; 2-6-[12]-10-3-1-10-9 = 48
6.) Michael Kiss, Bacio; 6-[23]-DNF-3-2-9-3-2 = 48
7.) Federico Strocchi, Cheyenne; 8-[16]-9-7-6-13-7-1 = 51
8.) Stefano di Properizio, HULK; 4-3-14-6-12-[15]-9-3 = 51
9.) Fausto Rubbini, Thule; 13-5-3-19-[23]-6-6-6 = 58
10.) Ivan Venturi/Luca Modena, Luca; 14-10-[17]-17-13-3-1-(DNC) = 75 
Full Results
Official Audi Melges 20 Gold Cup Event Website 
Full Entry List 

View Photo Gallery - Meredith Block
View Photo Gallery - Andy Burdick
View Photo Gallery - Renato Tebaldi
View Photo Gallery - Fabrizio Prandini
View Photo Gallery - Luca Butto for Carlo Borlenghi | B-Plan 

2010 Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series Results
 (After 4 Events)
1.) Benedetto Giallongo, Value Team; 77 pts.
2.) Francesco Farnetti, Reggini Sailing Team; 86 pts.
3.) Luca Domenici, Notaro Team; 100 pts.
4.) Renato Vallivero, Turnover; 71 pts. 
5.) Stefano di Properzio, HULK; 121 pts.

Full race reports, interviews and photo galleries will be posted online each day after racing. Stay tuned to the Official Audi Melges 20 Web Site, the Official Audi Melges 20 BlogMelges.com and Melgeseurope.com for all the latest details. You can also friend the Audi Melges 20 on Facebook, follow on Twitter and/or subscribe to the Official Audi Melges 20 You Tube Channel.