Consistency puts Philippe Ligot in pole position after tough day at Melges worlds 1/9/06

“Brutal” is how Brian Porter described day five of the Melges 24 World Championship in Hyeres where crews completed races seven to nine in the gold and silver fleets in light, shifty easterly winds yesterday.

Many of the crews struggled to change gears after several days of heavy conditions and nearly every boat had at least one mediocre result. The light airs congested the fleet on the first beat and placed greater emphasis on getting off the starting line cleanly.

DRP Partner & Partners, owned by Philippe Ligot of Marseille, helmed by Francois Brenac and crewed by William Thomas, Christian Ponthieu and Thomas Allin, had one of the day’s most consistent score lines, moving from second to first overall in the process. They took a conservative eighth in race seven, a convincing win in race eight and finished the day by recovering from near disaster in race nine, rebounding from a missed left hander to grind back to 19th. Overall they now count 31 points and lead the championship by 11 points.

Bete, owned by Ezio Amadori of Italy, helmed by Nicola Celon and crewed by Manuel Giubellini, Ralmondo Tonelli and Alberto Bolzan, is lying in second with 42 points. Despite a 55th in race eight, Bete’s earlier finishes and a third and a tenth in the other races were consistent enough to rocket them up the standings. Switzerland’s Poizon Rouge, owned and helmed by Jean Marc Monnard, is in third with 51 points after a day’s score of 10, 8, 48 while Sogeti Hyeres, owned by Benjamin Cohen and helmed by Antoine Frickey, is fourth with 55 points after scoring 28, 11, 2.

Chicago’s Brian Porter, sailing Full Throttle, has slipped from third to fifth despite a relatively respectable day’s score of 9, 14, 17 which leaves him on 57 points overall.

In the silver fleet Imagination 2, helmed by Carlo Gullotta from Italy, leads overall with 177 points, Jens A Wathne sailing Party Girl from Norway lies second on 182 points and Giorgio Colato, helming Marchingenio, also from Italy is in third on 184 points.

Three final races are scheduled today and with further light airs forecast it could be a very interesting finish to this hotly contested regatta.