The Melges 32 Boero World Championship, the last event of the Melges 32 World League in 2017, was held in Cala Galera, Italy on August 23-26. Seventeen teams from Italy, Monaco, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Turkey and Russia were fighting for this prestigious trophy. For the first time in history of this class and the MWL (Melges World League) the winner is Russian team League) the winner is Russian team history of this class and the MWL (Melges World League) the winner is Russian team Tavatuy!
The team from Ekaterinburg consists of Pavel Kuznetsov, Evgeny Neugodnikov, Konstantin Besputin, Egor Koniukhovskii, Oleg Krivov, Alexander Patrushev, Anton Sergeev, and Valeriy Zatsarinskiy, and they were leading the fleet during all four days of the Melges 32 Boero World Championship.
It was a tough fight: Italian teams Giogi of Matteo Balestrero and Torpyone of Edoardo Lupi/Massimo Pessina won other stages of the competition. Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio’s G-Spot is placed first in the final rankings of the Melges 32 World League, although they did not win a single act in this season. Andrea Lacorte’s Vitamina Amerikana had a firm grip on the third position in the overall ranking of the Melges 32 World League by the start of the last Championship.
On the first racing day, Pavel Kuznetsov’s Tavatuy with Evgeny Neugodnikov calling tactics finished first in both races of the day with the stable wind of 10-12 knots. The racing committee gave three more starts on the second day of the competition. Kuznetsov’s team did not win any but stayed on top of the preliminary overall rankings. Their performance was quite aggressive and risky, but they did not make any tactical mistakes.
The third day for Tavatuy was a bit worse: their closest rival Torpyone was only three points behind after seven races. The team of Edoardo Lupi and Massimo Pessina were aiming for the win and fought till the end.
In the first race of the last day, this Italian team left Russians behind and finished first. Tavatuy finished second. However, in the Race 8 Torpyone finished in the eighth position. The winner of the Race 8 was Vitamina Amerikana, and it was their first victory.
The tension of all seventeen teams became visible during the last race of the regatta. The first start didn’t go so well, the fleet got the general recall, the second start was given under Uniform flag. Just several moments later – and Torpyone makes a mistake and gets the disqualification. But they made this mistake because of Tavatuy team.
"Our goal was to push our rival to the false start, and that actually happened", explains Konstantin Besputin. "If Torpyone would have dodged this, we would have to keep him out of leading. It all went amazingly well! The main fight we had was at the start, we were tacking them from below. They would have been given a penalty in either way. Tacking windward – and that would be a false start, and if they followed their course then they would get a penalty."
Despite the discard of the worst result, Torpyone could not overtake Kuznetsov’s team. Tavatuy became the Melges 32 World Champion during the first ever Melges 32 World League!
Pavel Kuznetsov does not hide his happiness of winning. He considers this victory not only the result of long training but also sailing luck.
"Oh, we did our best!" shared Kuznetsov right after their victory. "We were aiming and training for it for four years. Sometimes it was all about training, sometimes it was luck. I think we hung on because of that. We got into the mood! This regatta was complicated and intense; we were not sure who is going to win until the end. We have been racing in the Melges 32 class for four years. Now we are going to think what’s next. The Melges 32 World Champion title was our milestone. Now we passed it and we need to keep looking for the next one. Maybe it will be Melges 40."
Alexander Ekimov, the coach of the team, was even happier than Kuznetsov himself. The performance of the team was risky and made the coach nervous many times, but in the end lived up to all expectations.
"It all went amazing, by 100%!" Ekimov laughs, "I cannot even find right words, I’m insanely happy! The second race of the last day was the toughest one, I think. My heart stopped during the first downwind turn. I saw what could happen, but the team did what they were supposed to do. They finished second and made a huge step to the victory! I was jumping from happiness when I saw Torpyone had a false start 5 seconds before the last race started!"
The last race, which brought Tavatuy the Champion title, was a test for the nerves of both rival teams. The Russian team had been waiting for a mistake from the Italians for four days, and it happened in the last race. In the end, Tavatuy’s nerves were stronger!