Aboard Lalli's Melges 32 was tactician Lorenzo Bressani, Flavio Favini, Federico Michetti, Carlo Zermini, Luca Faravelli, Lorenzo Del Rio and Stefano Nicolussi. Jeff Ecklund on STAR had a phenomenal week pulling up to secure third overall.
With two additional races on PRO John Craig's agenda, ultra light conditions greeted the fleet as they made their way out to Berkeley Circle for the final showdown between top seated Lalli, Porter and Andy Lovell on Rougarou. With a mere six knots of breeze, the fleet went racing with Don Jesberg on Viva rounding the top mark in first, followed by Yukihiro Ishida's Yasha Samurai, then Alex Jackson's Leenabarca in third. The three raced downwind with Jesberg holding on for first with Lovell coming in from the right to slide in for second. Back upwind Lovell stretched his lead with Ishida overtaking Jesberg. Lovell took the win, Ishida was second. Porter, although rounding the first mark about mid-fleet, recovered well to challenge Jesberg for the third position at the finish. Jesberg had a little more momentum, just barely making the line to take third. Porter settled for fourth. Ecklund was fifth.
At this stage of the day, Porter had the title in hand with a one-point advantage over Lalli. As the race committee scrambled to fire off the second race of the day, prior to the 14:30 cut-off, teams were just as anxious to get in one more heat. The breeze was still light and fickle, lots of sunshine and flat seas prevailed as they went into almost immediate sequence once the line was set, Z-flag in effect. As the fleet approached the line, the first start resulted in a general recall with a Z-flag penalty applied to Porter and Kip Meadows on roXanne. Jackson, on the other hand shot off the line making a lane for the top spot around the mark, followed by Steve Howe on Warpath and Pieter Taselaar's Bliksem rounding third, Lalli in fourth. Firmly in the lead, Jackson took the win with Howe maintaining a second. Lalli finished third, sealing the deal for the championship win and title a substantial eleven points ahead of second overall Porter.
"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" said tactician Lorenzo Bressani. "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!"
On behalf of the International Melges 32 Class Association, a very special thanks to every team that traveled to make this the largest Melges 32 Worlds ever. A great round of appreciation is extended to PRO John Craig and his entire race office staff, especially Melanie Roberts, Regatta Chair Nadine Franzyck and the St. Francis Yacht Club for the warm reception and hospitality. Extra special thanks to Sailgroove's Chris Love, St. Francis Yacht Club Junior Director Mike Kalin and guest commentator Offshore Rules' Justin Chisholm, presented by Velocitek.