Monday, 27 September 2010

Luca Lalli's B-LIN SAILING is the New Melges 32 World Champion

A nail-biting and adrenaline pumping finish for the Italian Team: A Great Victory and a true Dream Team

Image ©2010 Sarah Proctor

by Lorenza Priamo

Four days and ten races later, the 2010 Melges 32 World Champion is B-Lin Sailing, owned by the very young Italian Luca Lalli, with Lorenzo Bressani calling tactics, Flavio Favini on the mainsheet, Federico Michetti and Lorenzo Del Rio trimmers, Stefano Nicolussi as pitman, Luca Faravelli at the mast and Carlo Zermini as bowman.

A very challenging and difficult championship: four days of extremely intense and tight racing, 10 races completed with B-Lin leading the provisional scoreboard in the last two days.

Yesterday morning, with two more races on the agenda, the Italian Team's lead on its adversaries was very tight indeed : only two points separated B-Lin from the American Full Throttle, with Jonathan McKee onboard, the Melges 24 friend and tactician with whom Bressani and Michetti had won the World Title little over a month ago in Estonia. The very fast Rougarou (USA) was also on the Italians' tail with a six point difference, followed by Star with Olympic Gold (470 class) Nathan Wilmof calling tactics and Harry Melges on the main (12 points). Such a narrow margin in an extremely competitive fleet meant that only concentrating on the opponents was unthinkable. Racing to win was the only option: and that is exactly what happened.

B-Lin put behind her 31 competitors, but look at the level of the fleet! On board the other boats the great names of international sailing like Russell Coutts (NZL), Vince Brun (BRA), Jeremy and Nathan Wilmot (AUS), Harry Melges (USA), Jonathan McKee (USA), Mark Mendleblatt (USA), Hamish Pepper (NZL), Chris Larson (USA), Tony Rey (USA), Morgan Larson (USA), Chris Rast (SUI), Tovar Mirsky (AUS), Gavin Brady (NZL), Paul Godisoon (GBR), Andy Horton (USA), Stu Bannatyne (NZL), Morgan Reeser (USA), and Francesco De Angelis (ITA).

In the last and defining race, B-Lin cut the finishing line 3rd overall and celebrations began straight away.

B-Lin is the 2010 Melges 32 World Champion! And what a dream team: the very young Italian Luca Lalli, Lorenzo Bressani calling tactics, Flavio Favini on the main, Federico Michetti and Lorenzo Del Rio trimmers, Stefano Nicolussi as pitman, Luca Faravelli at the mast and Carlo Zermini as bowman!

In 2010 B-Lin Sailing Team also won the Primo Cup in Montecarlo, the Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series Circuit, ranked 2nd overall in the ISAF Offshore Team World Championship - Audi Sardinia Cup 2010 and last week won the prestigious Rolex Big Boat Series.

Image ©2010 Sarah Proctor

Winners' Soundbites

"I am tremendously happy, excited, moved: right now my emotions are all jumbled up but very positive. It doesn't even feel like reality," stated the 26-year-old owner Luca Lalli. "Becoming World Champions after less than a year of activity on this boat, winning the World Championship in American waters, with such a competitive fleet, is something truly unique. The guys were all fantastic, this is a formidable group, that first and foremost are friends, and are joined until the last meter. When we met and started working on putting the team together, Federico [Michetti, trimmer and team manager] told me, "Our goal is to win the World Championship in San Francisco". Now the dream has come true! Thanks guys!"

"I'm terribly moved" is tactician Lorenzo Bressani's first comment. "This is an incredible achievement, the direct result of the amazing work carried out by the whole team since January. Luca [Lalli, the owner], has truly improved greatly form the beginning of the season. One of his winning cards is his ability to remain cool and collected when handling even the most difficult situations joined with a great capacity to concentrate. All the guys did an outstanding job, we gave it all that we had and we believed in our victory until the last moment. Great job guys!"

Looking back on the last day of racing, Bressani stated "Today was everything but easy. After the first race where we didn't sail the boat at her best and with our two adversaries just in front of us, keeping our heads on our shoulders was difficult. When we crossed the finishing line, we realized that there was less than half an hour until the time limit, we didn't know what the intentions of the Race Committee were, whether the last race would take place. you could feel the tension in the air, it was palpable. Personally, I was tense, but had not given up. I obviously wanted to play all for naught in the last race. I knew we had lost the lead on the provisional scoreboard, but the gap was still small. It has been a challenging week, but I was prepared for it. The level of the fleet in the U.S.A. is much higher than in Italy. The level of teams and tacticians was stellar: winning in the wolf's den gives you the greatest satisfaction!"

Federico Michetti, trimmer, but primarily Deus ex machina and Team Manager of the whole B-Lin operation, commented: "Hip-hip-Hurrah for B-Lin. I am jumping out of my skin for joy, it was a nail biting finish and that's why I am so overjoyed. The guys were all terrific, from the bow to the stern. We worked really hard to achieve this result, but so did the others. In only a few months, with forty days on the water, we managed to fill the gap that separated us from our opponents who have been sailing in this class for 3-4 years very quickly. Simply amazing guys! "

Looking back on the events of the last day, Michetti stated "At the start of the last race, the Committee called the bow numbers of OCS boats over the VHF: among them was the Full Throttle's number. Lorenzo [Bressani] and I looked into each other's eyes and said, "Let's go get them". In the last race, we cut the line right on the gun and found our usual speed: we sailed free, making good tactical choices: Lorenzo did a great job. We immediately saw that Rougarou and Full Throttle, still needed to be closely watched even if they were carrying a penalty: when I saw that they were quite far back, I thought to myself: Let's win this World Championship! "

Melges 32