Photography by Melges 40 Grand Prix
20 June 2017
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo hosted the first regatta of these one design canting keelers – the subject of intense interest since they hit the water early this year. The 40 is largest keelboat turned-out by Melges, which also makes the highly-regarded 32 and 24.
The 40s with their big asymmetric kites were expected to be a handful on the windward/leeward courses.
“It’s sexy, fast and different,” described Vasco Vascotto, tactician aboard Richard Goransson’s Inga.
“I believed in this project right away and the results we have witnessed here, fully reflects everyone’s expectations. The boat is fun, and I am certain that it has a great future ahead of it.”
With a double bullet scoreline on the first day from Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig, with Olympic Gold Medallist Jordi Calafat on tactics, they clearly imposed their dominance on the rest of the fleet.
After a scheduled first attempt at racing around noon on the second day, the Race Committee delayed the start, waiting patiently for a light wind to come from the North-Northeast.
Race Three commenced with only 5-6 knots of breeze from the Northeast with Inga taking immediate control, just ahead of Rombelli, followed by Valentin Zavadnikov and tactician Ed Baird on Synergy, then Hannes Waimer on Nightshift.
In the light breeze, the positions remained unchanged despite Rombelli’s repeated attacks on Inga. The breeze diminished further, calling for the Race Committee to end the games with only one race complete. Competitors soon made their way back to harbour to celebrate the conclusion of the first ever Melges 40 Grand Prix.
With two bullets to his name, Rombelli at the helm of Stig was crowned Champion, with a star-studded cew including tactician Jordi Calafat and Saverio Cigliano, Pierluigi De Felice, Luca Faravelli, Iztok Knafelc, Filippo La Mantia, Pietro Mantovani and Giorgio Tortarolo.
Goransson’s Inga, on this occasion helmed by Andy Soriano, accepted second place honors. Zavadnikov finished the event in third. Waimer, sailing the first Melges 40 hull released by Premier Composite Technologies stands at the foot of the podium.
“We are delighted to have won the first Grand Prix of the Melges 40 Class,” said winner Rombelli.
“This new class is really taking off. It is a beautiful boat, we managed to win the regatta and have fun with only 5 to 6 knots of breeze. This is a great honour to the crew, the boat and its organisation.”
During the informal award ceremony on the upper terrace of the YCCS, Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo expressed his best wishes for the future of the Melges 40 Class: “We are particularly pleased to have welcomed the Melges 40 in the year of celebrating our 50th Anniversary. It is with this first historic regatta that we wait to watch the Melges 40 write new chapters in the history of sailing. Thanks to you all for being with us for the debut of the Melges 40.”
“The YCCS has previously hosted and organized the 2008 Melges 24 World Championship that enjoyed an outstanding level of participation. This was followed by two more World Championships for the Melges 32 in 2009 and 2013. As soon as the Class has developed and received recognition from World Sailing, we will be looking to host the Melges 40 again as well. In addition to all the owners, to Harry Melges, Federico Michetti and his staff, I would like to thank the Race Committee, the International Jury, the Class Manager and all of the YCCS team that made the first Grand Prix of the Melges 40 a great success.”
“We have worked hard and are convinced that this type of boat is a huge winner,” commented Federico Michetti. “We have tested the Melges 40 under all conditions and we are extremely happy. Now, we will make this the new benchmark by which all one-design boats and competition are measured.”
The next appointment for the Melges 40 is on 11 to 14 October in Spain, then onward to gorgeous Palma de Mallorca on 15 to 18 November. The schedule is already building for 2018 with what will be two great Spring Series Events in Palma on 14 to 17 February, and again on March 21-24.
FULL RESULTS (FINAL – After Three Races)
1.) Alessandro Rombelli/Jordi Calafat; ITA-4, STIG; 1-1-2 = 4
2.) Richard Goransson/Vasco Vascotto; SWE-2, INGA; 2-3-1 = 6
3.) Valentin Zavadnikov/Ed Baird; MON-3, SYNERGY; 3-2-3 = 8
4.) Hannes Waimer/Gordon Maguire; UAE-1, NIGHTSHIFT; 4-4-4 = 12