28/02/16 - Muscat (OMN) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman - Racing Day 2 - Prize Giving Ceremony - Oman Series Winners Land Rover BAR (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

28/02/16 – Muscat (OMN) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Racing Day 2 – Prize Giving Ceremony – Oman Series Winners Land Rover BAR (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

Ben Ainslie, the most decorated Olympic sailor in history, led his Land Rover BAR team to victory at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Oman this weekend.

Ainslie beat his former skipper, Jimmy Spithill and ORACLE TEAM USA, by two points, with the winning margin secured on a late charge in the final race.

Ainslie says winning the event in Oman was an important measuring stick for the team, which hadn’t won since securing victory on home waters in Portsmouth last summer.

28/02/16 - Muscat (OMN) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman - Racing Day 2 - Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

28/02/16 – Muscat (OMN) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Racing Day 2 – Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

“We kept fighting through today,” he said. “Compared to the teams with established track records, we need to prove we can compete at the top of the fleet and I think we are getting back to doing that. We have a big team of designers, boat builders and support staff back at home working very hard for us and they want to know that we can win this thing.”

For ORACLE TEAM USA the second place result was a fourth consecutive podium finish in a Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series regatta. But for all that, the team has yet to win.

“We’ve made some good steps forward, but we need to get going,” Spithill said after racing. “It’s good to be on the podium. We’re one of only two teams to have been on the podium at each event. But we want to win. There’s no two ways about it.”

With a third place result in Oman, Emirates Team New Zealand retains its place atop the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboard, but ORACLE TEAM USA, in second place, has closed the gap to just 6 points.

28/02/16 - Muscat (OMN) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman - Racing Day 2 - Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

28/02/16 – Muscat (OMN) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Racing Day 2 – Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

“The last race was a little bit disappointing for us,” said skipper Glenn Ashby, referring to a fifth place finish. “But to come away from any event still holding the overall lead is a good thing. At the end of the day that’s what counts.”

Ashby is right. The leader at the conclusion of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series will carry two bonus points forward into the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in May 2017 in Bermuda. The second place team earns one bonus point.

28/02/16 - Muscat (OMN) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman - Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

28/02/16 – Muscat (OMN) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

A popular result on Sunday came from Groupama Team France, who finished strongly with a second place finish followed by a victory. With Adam Minoprio replacing the injured Franck Cammas on the helm this weekend, the team converted two strong start line performances into top finishes.

“We were pretty stoked on board. You could see the excitement on the guys faces,” Minoprio said. “We didn’t have the strongest start to the regatta but we’re happy to have been improving through the weekend and finishing with a win.”

Both SoftBank Team Japan and Artemis Racing continued to show moments of promised but fell back in the fleet over the course of the day; bad breaks combined with poor decisions or handling errors to put the pair at the bottom of the table.

28/02/16 - Muscat (OMN) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman - Racing Day 2 - Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

28/02/16 – Muscat (OMN) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Racing Day 2 – Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman marked the first America’s Cup sailing in the Middle East and was a milestone event for the host, Oman Sail.

“This was a fantastic weekend for us,” said David Graham, the CEO of Oman Sail. “Promoting Oman through the America’s Cup broadcast was a fantastic opportunity for us.

“It was also tremendous to see the integration of our youth sailing programs with AC Endeavour. And I think perhaps most significant for me was how the Omanis on our team led the charge and delivered a fantastic event.

“The feedback from our guests, our partners, and all of the visitors who came to enjoy the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman has been extremely positive. Let’s do it again!”

28/02/16 - Muscat (OMN) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman - Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

28/02/16 – Muscat (OMN) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Final Leaderboard 

Land Rover BAR – 8, 10, 10, 18, 14, 16 – 76 points
ORACLE TEAM USA – 9, 6, 9, 12, 20, 18 – 74 points
Emirates Team New Zealand – 10, 7, 5, 20, 16, 12 – 70 points
Groupama Team France – 5, 8, 7, 10, 18, 20 – 68 points
SoftBank Team Japan – 6, 9, 6, 16, 10, 14 – 61 points
Artemis Racing – 7, 5, 8, 14, 12, 10 – 56 points

#LVACWOMAN  #LVACWS #ACWS

Overall Series Leaderboard Thus Far

28/02/16 - Muscat (OMN) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Oman - Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

28/02/16 – Muscat (OMN) – 35th America’s Cup Bermuda 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman – Racing Day 2 (Photo © Ricardo Pinto / ACWS)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

 

Riva Del Garda, Italy – After one final race, John Kilroy at the helm of Samba Pa Ti, tactician Paul Goodison and crew Jeff Reynolds proved they were more than deserving of the 2014 Audi Melges 20 World Champion title. Four days of racing and no worse than a fourteenth in a fleet of fifty-seven entries, the Samba Pa Ti team excelled in almost every condition and under a wide variety of pressure.

“All we wanted to do for the start of the race today was to control Mascalzone as they were the only ones that could possibly win the event other than us. So, we did a little match racing on the start,” commented a very happy Kilroy. “Things just went our way. Everything just went right for us. We’ve trained a lot and we have a great team.”

Kilroy attributes much of this week’s success to the training he has been doing in his home town of San Francisco, California with his son, 11-year old Liam Kilroy who helms Wildman. “The training we did against and with Wildman made me a much better small boat driver. We did a lot of match racing, practiced straight-line speed work and crew kinetics so, hats off to Wildman as they really made us a better team.”

In second overall is Achille Onorato helming Mascalzone Latino, Jr. with tactician Malcolm Page and Stefano Campialini as crew. Rounding out the top three is Guido Miani on Monaco Racing Fleet with tactician Gabriele Benussi and crew member Massimo Gherarducci who are the only other team other than Samba Pa Ti to hold three race wins in Riva.

In the all-amatuer Corinthian division (all ISAF Group 1 on board), Marco Gambarella’s Chimera edged out American John Brown’s Blind Squirrel for the overall title. From Canada, Paul Currie’s Wild Deuces finished third.

For now the World Championship title remains in the hands of the Americans.

A huge congratulations to the 2014 Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series Champion Miani. Over the last few months, since the start of the Series in Naples, which then traveled onward to Porto Ercole, Talamone and Riva Del Garda, Miani has been challenged by Dario Levi’s Fremito D’Arja all season long – until today. Onorato placed second in the series, while Levi finished in third overall. Pasquale Orofino’s Raffica and Mirko De Falco’s Peccere completed the Series in fourth and fifth respectively.

In 2015, the next World Championship will take place in San Francisco, California hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club on September 30-October 3.

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS
The 2014 World Championship was not only the largest ever in International Class history, it has been one of the most incredible events ever. The venue, conditions, competition, shore-side atmosphere and camaraderie have been nothing short of world class. It has been the absolute best. This is in great gratitude to Sailing Series and circuit title sponsor Audi, the entire B.Plan Sport&Events staff, Melges Europe, and host Yacht Club Fraglia Della Vela Riva and their league of volunteers, race committee and management. Most especially to all the participants that traveled from eleven different countries, made this Championship fantastic.

Thanks to everyone who joined the fleet this past week on the Official Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page. Be sure to follow the fleet on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Re-live the Worlds through a collection of race reports, photos and video online at melges20.com.

TOP TEN RESULTS (FINAL – After Ten Races, One Discard)
1.) John Kilroy/Paul Goodison, Samba Pa Ti; 13-4-4-2-1-2-[14]-12-1-1 = 40
2.) Achille Onorate/Malcolm Page, Mascalzone Latino, Jr.; [18]-9-3-4-8-9-6-1-4-12 = 56
3.) Guido Miani/Gabriele Benussi, Monaco Racing Fleet; 27-5-17-1-3-1-1-[30]-3-2 = 60
4.) Naofumi Kamei/Manu Weiller, Mamma Aiuto!; 17-21-[30]-13-11-5-13-8-2-7 = 97
5.) Russ Lucas/Harry Melges III, Shimmer; 5-6-16-12-17-15-[22]-3-11-35 = 107
6.) Dario Levi/Niccolo Bianchi, Fremito D’Arja; 6-17-8-3-4-6-21-15-30-[45] = 110
7.) Paul Reilly/Andy Burdick, Red Sky Sailing Team; 12-22-[27]-9-5-8-8-14-24-21 = 123
8.) John Taylor/Bill Hardesty, Ninkasi; 8-8-[36]-35-10-10-4-20-5-25 = 125
9.) Wes Whitmyer/Max Fraser, Slingshot; [45]-24-9-14-12-13-16-18-7-16 = 129
10.) Alessandro Rombelli/Daniele Cassinari, STIG; 11-1-2-23-9-[43]-10-41-14-20 = 131
View Full Results

 

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by ax Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by ax Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by ax Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by ax Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by ax Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

audi melges 20 worlds ph max ranchi (10)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

Audi Melges 20 Worlds Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com)

 

Ran and Shockwave Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

Ran and Shockwave Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

 

With three races conducted in strong winds, there was opportunity for boats to make a significant move in the standings on the second day of Quantum Key West 2012. Or in some cases it was a chance to further increase leads taken on Day 1. Pisces fit into the former category, moving into the overall lead in Melges 32 class by winning two of three races on Tuesday. Skipper Benjamin Schwartz and company showed superb boat speed and made some sound tactical decisions and now lead the 19-boat fleet by tiebreaker over John Kilroy and the Samba Pa Ti team. “We are a new program so it is a tremendous feeling to be doing well in a big-time regatta like Key West. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said Schwartz, who joined the class last summer and promptly placed fourth at U.S. Nationals. Schwartz has America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird calling tactics and Quantum professional Scott Nixon trimming the jib and spinnaker. “You have to give Ed and Scott a lot of credit for getting our boat up to speed,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew. Today was very challenging because the wind velocity was up and down and the sea state was not very forgiving, but the guys never stopped working and we were able to change gears pretty well.” Race committees on all three courses completed three races in 8-14 knot easterly winds.

With five races in the bag, organizers with Premiere Racing are already halfway to the stated goal of holding 10 races during the five-day regatta. There was a lead change in the Farr 40 class as well with Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) and Struntje Light (Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany) overtaking Groovederci (John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Cal.). Struntje Light has posted a pair of seconds and finished no lower than fourth in the seven-boat fleet, but Charisma holds the overall lead via tiebreaker by virtue of winning Race 5. “We had a very good day on the water and are happy with where we stand at the moment,” Schaefer said. “We have nice boat speed upwind and our crew work has been excellent. We have a very good tactician and he’s made some fantastic calls that have kept me in phase.” Renowned Italian professional and America’s Cup veteran Vasco Vascotta is calling tactics aboard Struntje Light, which has competed in Farr 40 class at Key West ever since 2002 with a top finish of third. “Wolfgang is doing a good job of driving and is getting better every day. The guys onboard have a great attitude and are ready to fight to the end. The good news is that we can still improve our performance.” PowerPlay lived up to its name by making a strong move in IRC 2 class with a strong line of 1-3-4 on Tuesday. Owner Peter Cunningham, a resident of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, has a nice mix of amateur and professional crew with tactician Tony Rey, trimmer Dave Scott and bowman Geordie Shaver among the superstars aboard. “We’ve only had the boat for six months and we’ve made a lot of modifications during that time,” Cunningham said. “We’re pretty happy with our performance so far. We’re sailing fairly well and having a lot of fun.” Quantum Racing, skippered by Doug DeVos, continues to set the pace in the 52-foot class and leads PowerPlay by six points. Terry Hutchinson, helmsman for the Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing that is Challenge of Record for the America’s Cup, has made strong tactical calls in leading Quantum to victory in three races and second in the two others. “Today was far from straightforward. The wind was very shifty and there are some tricky current patches to deal with,” Hutchinson said. In other classes, the three-race day merely served as an opportunity for the early leaders to extend on the competition.

Red  (Copyright 2012 Ingrid Abery)

Red (Copyright 2012 Ingrid Abery)

Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer, continues to sail impressively in the Mini Maxi class (IRC 1), winning all five races so far. Red, skippered by Joe Woods of Great Britain with Paul Goodison aboard as tactician, has accomplished the same feat in the inaugural Farr 400 class. “I guess we’ve just figured the boat out a little faster than the other teams,” said Woods, who has previously sailed a Melges 32 at Key West. “We’re winning, but not by much. The racing has been awfully close.” West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes has posted straight bullets in Melges 24 class and built a commanding 10-point lead over Alan Field and the WTF team. Detroit resident Bora Gulari is steering and getting tactical advice from Australian native and North Sails pro Jeremy Wilmot as West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes seeks to follow up on its 2011 national championship. Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., has won all five races in Farr 30 class. Teamwork, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, N.C., has posted two bullets and a pair of seconds in grabbing a narrow one-point lead over the 1D35 Tres Hombres in PHRF 1. “We’re having a great time because the conditions have been terrific and the competition has been spectacular,” said Team, who has his brother and two sons in the crew. “We’ve been mixing it up with Tres Hombres and finished overlapped with them in the first two races today. Rush is also tough so I think it will be a dogfight the whole way.” Rush, a J/109 skippered by Bill Sweetser of Annapolis, was named Lewmar / Navtec Boat of the Day after posting a superb score line of 3-2-1. Tom Babel is calling tactics while Quantum pro Tad Hutchins is calling tactics on Rush, which is currently third in PHRF 1 and second in the J/Boats Subclass. “The conditions were very good for us today. When the wind is 14 knots or less we can fly our big jib, which is kind of like our secret weapon,” Sweetser said. “We pay for that jib in our rating so it’s good whenever we can use it.” It’s been close but no cigar for Rush at Key West as Sweetser’s boat has finished first or second in class several times, but never come away as overall winner at week’s end. “One of these years we’re going to finally break through and it’s going to be wonderful,” he said. Regatta dates are January 15 – 20, 2012.

Melges 32 Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

Melges 32 Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

 

For more Key West Race Week photos by  Tim Wilkes check out Tim Wilkes Photography