Melges 20 World Championship 2016: Day 2

Drew Freides: «We want to win the World Championship!»

The second day of the World Championship was held in Scarlino, Italy on Friday August 26th. Weather forecasts shifted quickly. At first, strong winds were predicted, later only calm winds. In the end, there was a lot of wind but, fortunately, it was not too strong. The races were tricky and took a lot of time. The race committee managed to execute two out of the three scheduled races. In general, the leaders of the regatta have confirmed that their results of the first day are not incidental.

Michael Illbruck’s Pinta came sixth and fifth, and went down one place in the final rankings. However, they are only 1 point behind the leader of the race. Drew Freides’ Pacific Yankee is now in first place with 4th and 2nd places during the second day of the competition. It was no surprise for those who followed the Open Russian Championship that Liam Kilroy’s WildMan won it, and they are now placed third halfway the regatta. Samba Pa Ti of John Kilroy is placed fifth. However, we think that the two-time world champion in the Melges 20 class still have a lot to show before the end of the competition. Italian Mascalzone Latino of Achille Onorato, with tactician Cameron Appleton had a poor day and sank from the third position to the sixth. Behind the top five in the ranking are Swiss Section 16 helmed by Richard Davis, Gvido Miani’s Out of Reach (Monaco) and Italian STIG of Alessandro Rombelli. These teams have a minimal difference in points and are tightly packed.


All of them will continue to battle each other in the remaining two days of the championship. It is not going to be easy: after the sixth race, the team with the worst result will be released from the competition and that could completely change the picture.

“Today was a complicated day,” says Drew Freides, the helmsman of the leading team Pacific Yankee, “There was a lot of wind and it shifted so fast, and the most important part was to not give up and continue the fight. In these conditions, even if you are lagging behind everyone, the wind can change and so will stir it all up. Today that happened a lot, and we (Drew Freides, Morgan Reeser and Charlie Smythe) tried to stabilize, minimize the losses and take advantage of the situation. To tell you the truth, we were quite fast today; had good starts and our tactician Morgan Reeser did a great job. We had a couple of complicated situations when the wind died down. However, every time we managed not to panic, be patient and continue our course, and it worked!

For example, in the last race, the boat which was in the lead made a sharp turn and eventually arrived at the finish line in eight place. Absence of different kinds of screw-ups and stability is half the battle in these series. We are trying to race as flawless as possible, with minimal loss of points. If you are aggressive on the track, you can win several races, but if there is no stability than you cannot win the whole championship. Clearly, we want to win the World Championship and we worked hard for it.”

This Friday was a tough day for Russian fleet. There are 14 Russian teams and 56 participants, but they are not so experienced in Melges 20 class yet. Many teams have great achievements in their history such as race wins, regatta wins and even Series wins, but they still need to improve to compete with the strongest teams in the world. It is not so surprising and we are happy that some teams already show good results in different races. Igor Rytov’s Russian Bogatyrs won the starting race of the World Championship and Alex Team of Alexander Mikhaylik, Oleg Evdokimenko’ s Kotyara, Vladimir Prosikin’s Nika, Alexander Novoselov’s Victor, Anatoly Karachinskiy’s Path, Yuriy Morozov’s Russotrans, Marina Kaverzina’s Marussia are in the top 10 of the Championship.

Halfway the Championship Valentin Zavadnikov’s Synergy is in the lead among the Russian teams with a 14th place. He is 27 points behind the 10th place in the rankings. Russians also take the 16th until 20th places.

“Not too much wind and broken waves,” says Valentin Zavadnikov, “And even in these conditions the races are long, and so they should be since it is the World Championship. After half of planned races, the overall picture is forming and the leaders of the fleet are quite impressive. For some reasons Russian Bogatyrs and PIRogovo do not perform on their usual level and Vladimir Prosikin was not in his best shape today either, even though he raced confidently before. Oleg Evdokimenko, Alexander Mikhaylik and Alexander Novoselov are holding on strongly. In the top 10 the gaps between the teams are minimal, and any team can win the championship. Any team currently in the top 20 has a good chance to finish among the best six teams of the whole competition.

There are 10 races planned for the World Championship.

Saturday’s races will kick off at 12.00.