Fifty-six teams gather for the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship!
Scarlino, Italy - The wait for the International Melges 20 fleet is over. Today the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship, which takes place at Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino, has begun.
The challenge and fight for the class' most prestigious trophy will be in play. The names, numbers and colors best explain and represent the importance of this event. The colors of these fifteen national flags symbolize the 56 teams that are set and ready to race on Thursday August 25th through Sunday August 28th on a racecourse created by Club Nautico Scarlino.
Among the many names are champions who routinely compete in the Melges 20 one design fleet, such as John Kostecki, tactician aboard Michael Illbruck's Pinta. Cameron Appleton will be the shot caller for Achille Onorato on Mascalzone Latino Jr. and Paul Goodison will be alongside Alessandro Rombelli on STIG. Flavio Favini will be in charge aboard Yukihiro Ishida's Yasha Samurai, and Morgan Reeser will once more assist Californian Drew Freides on the Pacific Yankee.
Naturally, the list of participating champions also includes John Kilroy, Jr. and his son Liam. John, at the helm of his famous Samba Pa Ti will attempt to further extend his unbeaten record run in the World Championship challenge, having won in 2014 (Riva del Garda), and again in 2015 (at his hometown of San Francisco, USA). One of his greatest opponents is his son Liam, a talented helmsman in his own right and currently looks to be among the fastest in the fleet as he won the 2016 Open Russian Championship that was held in Scarlino last weekend.
The list of contenders for the title is extremely wide like never before. It shows an flat playing field of performers which only confirms that this event truly belongs to anyone.
Other favorites include Guido Miani's Out of Reach from Monaco (with Gabriele Benussi as tactician), who has managed to achieve victory at every major event, except a World Championship. Richard Davies' Section 16 (with Chris Rast as tactician) is among the strongest teams of the European season and should be considered as an underdog.
Russia has by far the largest fleet in attendance and is looking to secure a win, because up until now the stage has been dominated by Italy and the USA: Francesco Farneti on ITA-157 in 2010. Rombelli in 2011, Dario Levi on Fremito D'Arja in 2012, John Taylor's Ninkasi in 2013 and then Kilroy in both 2014 and 2015.
The Melges 20 World Championship will include 10 races over the course of four days. The first warning signal was on Thursday August 24th at 12:00 (Practice).