Melges 20 World Championship 2016: Day 1

PINTA made a powerful breakthrough!

On August 25th the main regatta of the year of the Melges 20 class started. The wind was 12 knots at first, but soon strengthened till 16 knots, and died down quickly after that. The start of the first race was postponed for half an hour because the wind did not stabilize in the right direction. Though, after that everything went as planned. At the end of the day all 3 of the planned races were held.

Igor Rytov’s Russian Bogatyrs won the first race of the Championship. The team was in the lead from start to finish and gained a solid margin. American John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti and Australian Rodney Jones’s Caffe Espresso finished right behind the Russian team.

We could say that Friday’s races served as an exploration of both the opponents and the waters.


Not only the results of beginners Russian Bogatyrs and Nika were unstable. It did not go very well for the experienced Australian Caffe Espresso, American Samba Pa Ti or the winner of the European Summer Series Gvido Miani’s Out of Reach. Even Liam Kilroy, winner of the Open Russian Championship, finished 22nd.

However, Michael Illbruck’s Pinta, with John Kostecki as the tactician, showed how experienced they are. This German team won two races and came 7th in another, which provides them with a very comfortable leading margin after the first day. Drew Freides’s Pacific Yankee (results: 6-2-5) and Achille Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (results: 4-6-9). Two-time world champion John Kilroy sits on the 5th place in the rankings and Gvido Miani holds 10th.

The best of Russian teams are Nika and Russian Bogatyrs, with results of 11th and 13th respectively.

“During the first race we had favorable circumstances: the right side, good start and stable wind,” says helmsman of Russian Bogatyrs Igor Rytov, “So that’s why right after the start we were in the lead. In the second race we started off quite well, but then got stuck among the boats and couldn’t turn, which resulted in absence of speed. The third start was also not too bad, and we had good speed but then too much of strong wind came… There are so many boats in this competition, and it’s quite nerve wrecking, especially when you are in the lead. Yes, we went around the pin first, but the extremely strong Samba Pa Ti is tailing you. When we turned to the stern wind, they were so close and almost stepped on our heels, which made us very nervous. However, it was better for them to go behind us, it would be much worse if they went to the other direction.”

“So you could say after this race that even the strongest team can be defeated?”

“Well, we didn’t win all the 3 races, just 1… Of course it’s nice to win, but we are quite upset that there is no stability in it. As the fleet is extremely competitive, it is not possible to decide the winner of the regatta after only one race.

Alexander Ezhkov’s PIRogovo, with results of 22nd, 19th and 31st, probably had the worst day. It put them to the 22nd position in the rankings.

There are 3 races planned on Friday August 26th.