Next stop, Palma de Majorca

31 July 2011

Palma, Spain - With the extremely popular Audi Sailing Series done and dusted and with a victory by Lanfranco Cirillo's Fantastica, the Melges 32 class now turns its attention to the city of Palma de Majorca, where the 2011 season's closing events are scheduled in August and September: The Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre (July 30th to August 6th) and the World Championship (September 18th to 24th).

Waiting for the signal to try to grab the title from the reigning champion (Lalli-Bressani), crowned last year in San Francisco, the crews on the biggest yachts built by Melges Perfomance Sailboats are getting ready to tack and gybe between the buoys of the 30th Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre, considered to be one of the most important events in the international racing calendar, that from this year welcomes as well the Melges 32, now considered to be the one-design class of reference in the world of yacht racing.

Organized by the Real Club Náutico de Palma, the event will see the crews battle it out on the bay dominated by the Saint Mary Cathedral, locally known as La Seu. Due to the high number of entries at Copa Del Rey (close to 120 boats), the Race Committee will use three separate race areas. For the Melges 32 a maximum of ten races are in schedule with a discard after the eighth race while the fleet will race on the Bravo area (Tuesday and Friday) and Charlie (Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday).

Despite the fact that the warning signal for the first race is not expected before 1pm next Tuesday, the docks near the city's waterfront have been buzzing with activity since Friday. Crews, official measurers and the Melges Europe staff are in the capital of the Balearic Islands, famous for its moderate climate, and stable and consistent thermal breezes.

The entry list consists of twenty teams and includes all the protagonists of the Audi Sailing Series. The lineup includes Fantastica, led by the Cirillo-Paoletti duo, and Argo from the USA (Carroll-Appleton), that showed an excellent performance in Scarlino and Malcesine, where they took the event with one race to go. John Kilroy's Samba Pa Ti will also be on the starting line and will have the duo Vascotto-Melges to take care of tactics and mainsail trimming, trying to recover after overall victory in the circuit slipped away by the slightest of margins.

Two British teams will be present as well, Peter Rogers' Highlife, always on the top spots of the score table, and John Porter's Full Throttle. Two new teams flying the Stars & Stripes will make their European debut: Geoffrey Perini's Shakedown, that have already shipped their yacht across the Atlantic, and Patrick Eudy's Big Booty.

Two Spanish teams will try to impose themselves on home waters, Marc de Antonio's Bribon-Movistar, one of the protagonists in this year's Audi Sailing Series, and Turismo Rias Baixas-Casaldog, chartered by Sebastian Estevez. Italy will be also be represented by and Torpyone(Lupi-Brcin) and, last but certainly not least, the yachts to cover the longest distance to the Palma bay will be the two Japanese entries, Naofumi Kamei 's Team Bros and Yukihiro Ishida's Yasha Samurai.

Last but not least, it is worth reminding that both the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre and the World Championship, together with the stages of the AUDI Sailing Series, count towards the European class rankings. According to the rules, all events count with no possibility of discard. The fight for overall leadership is among Fantastica (199 points), Samba Pa Ti (216 points) and points).

1.) Christian Soyke/Peter Bolvig Hansen, IMMAC
2.) Peter Rogers /Ruairidh Scott, Highlife
3.) John Kilroy/Vasco Vascotto, Samba Pa Ti
4.) Oscar Strugstad/Andy Beadsworth, Dawn Raid
5.) Luca Lalli/Lorenzo Bressani, B-Lin Sailing
6.) Kees Kaan/Gert de Krom, ROARK
7.) Lanfranco Cirillo/Michele Paoletti, Fantastica
8.) Naofumi Kamei/Kan Yamada, Team Bros.
9.) Wolfgang Stolz/Jesper Radich, Opus One
10.) Marc de Antonio Altimira/Hugo Rocha, Bribon-Moviestar
11.) Jason Carroll/Cameron Appleton, Argo
12.) John Porter/Jonathan McKee, Full Throttle
13.) Edoardo Lupi/Branko Brcin, Torpyone
14.) Patrick Eudy/Mike Buckley, Big Booty
15.) Yukihiro Ishida/Andrew Campbell, Yasha Samurai
16.) Geoff Pierini/Steve Hunt, Shakedown
17.) Santiago Estevez/Sandra Azon, Turismo Rias Baixas Casaldog
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