Record Fleet Readies For Lake Garda Action
Six Nations Represented At Inaugural Audi Melges 20 Gold Cup
July 21, 2010 (Malcesine, Italy) - It was just twelve months ago that the first Audi Melges 20 sportboat fleet raced in Europe, yet tomorrow, an incredible 37 boats from a record six nations will square off for the first day of the inaugural Audi Melges 20 Gold Cup in Malcesine, Italy. "We're so excited to see such a big fleet racing at the Gold Cup so early in the Class's existence," said Melges Performance Sailboats President Andy Burdick on his first trip to Lago di Garda. "Even more exciting for me is seeing how friendly everyone is, and the sense of camaraderie shared by everyone in the fleet, from the first-time Melges racer to fifteen-year veterans of sportboat racing." Burdick, a multiple World and National Champion, won't be racing in Malcesine, though the fleet certainly doesn't lack talent; America's Cup sailors like Matteo Ivaldi, Flavio Favini, and Andrea Felci will battle on the water along with Olympians like Chris Rast, Gabrio Zandona, and Nathan Wilmot.
One first-time Melges 20 racer is British-born Singapore resident Andy Bird, who traveled with his crew nearly 7,000 miles to join the action in Malcesine on his chartered Audi Melges 20. "We're used to racing similar boats both in England and Singapore, but I've been itching to get into a Melges 20 for a while now, and it's pretty hard to ignore the chance to race such a fun boat in one of the best sailing venues on Earth," said Bird.
The Englishman isn't exaggerating - Malcesine provides perhaps the most stunning backdrop in all of sailing - with 2000-metre peaks towering over the race course, their sheer faces funneling the afternoon Ora breeze right past the historic castle city. "We are truly lucky to have a place like this for the biggest regatta in Audi Melges 20 history," said Melges Europe President Federico Michetti, who will sail with Stefano di Properizio aboard Hulk along with Australian Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Wilmot. "I'm just the liasion between the guy yelling in Italian behind me and the guy yelling in Italian in front of me," Wilmot joked.
POINTS CRUCIAL FOR PENULTIMATE STAGE OF SERIES
While bragging rights for the victor of the first Gold Cup are important, the big picture sees Benedetto Giallongo's Value Team with a strong lead in the Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series, with the final stage in Rimini in 8 weeks. With Series second place holder Calvi Network missing Malcesine due to other commitments, Giallongo will rely on strong tactics from Enrico "Chicco" Fonda to hold off Luca Domenici's Notaro Team if he is to become a two-time champion of the Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series. "We have been working hard to get our boatspeed back since we broke our original mast earlier this year," said Giallongo. "I'm confident that our team can continue to sail consistently well, but the best we can do is cross our fingers, work hard, and hope our decisions keep us at the front of the 2010 Audi series."
LIVE VIDEO, WORLD-CLASS PHOTOS, AND SOCIAL NETWORKS
Melges Europe welcomes On-The-Water Anarchy to Malcesine for the first time this week for their live streaming video coverage of the 2010 Audi Melges 20 Gold Cup. The US-based sailing broadcasters will film from the grounds of the Fraglia Vela Malcesine while multiple professional photographers contribute high quality photos during each day of racing and the shore team posts up-to-the-minute racing information. "The Audi Melges 20 Class continues to attract more and more attention, and for good reason," said Burdick. "It's a blast!"