Melges 20 World Championship 2016: the final report

Pinta returns with the 'bang' and wins!

Today, Sunday August 28th, the main regatta of the season in the Melges 20 Class, the World Championship, ended.

The wind was forecasted to be very low but fortunately, it was not: the yachts went afloat and start happened as planned. The racing committee was able to start two races which decided everything.

The first contender to be in the lead today was Drew Freides’ Pacific Yankee, as it was in the previous two days. Michael Illbruck’s Pinta was behind them by 4 points, even though they won the first day of the regatta. Everything could be decided just by how many races would be held on the last day of the competition. If there would be only one race the winner could change only if two coincidences happen: Drew Freides’ Pacific Yankee would finish race lower than 5th place and Pinta higher than 3rd.

The whole picture would change (and it did) if the second race would also be executed. In any case, Pinta would have to perform extremely well, but on top of that they also needed Pacific Yankee to have a bad day.

However, no one could even imagine what a day it would be for the Americans. All previous days have been amazing for this team with 6th, 2nd, 5th, 4th, 2nd and 3rd place finishes. To predict that in the final day of the regatta Yankees will come in 12th and 39th was impossible, but nevertheless it happened.

Everything was still okay for Drew Freides’ team. Even after the first race they had a margin of 5 points over Pinta. If not for one race they would have become the World Champions… However, it was still windy and there was enough time according to the rules, so another start took place.

This race was a nightmare for Drew Freides, Morgan Reeser and Charlie Smythe. They got stuck in the fleet and were only able to finish on the 39th place. On top of that, Michael Illbruck, John Kostecki and Federico Michetti came second! Precisely in that moment everything was decided on the World Championship!


Pinta’s achievements do not seem real because this regatta in Scarlino was only their 5th regatta in the Melges 20 Class. Michael Illbruck hasn’t been racing for several years, but now he is back into sailing and won one of the most important trophies.

During his speech Michael Illbruck was truly grateful to his team, his family and all the participants of the regatta. He was also saying that he has forgotten how great sailing races are, and that they will continue practicing before the next World Championship which will be held in Newport in 2017.


Today’s hero was not only team Pinta, but also Polish Mag Tiny helmed by Krzystof Krempec. They did not shine during the major part of the regatta, but in the last day they arose and won both races. That brought this team bronze.

Among Russian teams Igor Rytov with his Russian Bogatyrs, Konstantin Besputin and Anton Sergeev, came 6th and 3rd during the last day, which allowed them to enter the top 10 teams of the whole Championship.

You can find all results here.