Ayres, Ullman win but French and Italians lead Melges 24 worlds in California 9/5/07

Two veterans and longtime rivals who learned to sail in the gentle zephyrs at Newport Beach, California turned the tables on their roots Tuesday when they won the opening races of the Fullpower Melges 24 World Championship, hosted by Santa Cruz Yacht Club, on a bright and breezy Monterey Bay.

But consistency paid larger dividends. As Bruce Ayres scored 1-7 finishes and Dave Ullman went 21-1, France’s Francois Brenac was 2-4 at the helm of Benjamin Cohen’s entry, which left him atop the leader board in a tie with the defending champion, Italy’s Nicola Celon (4-2), driving for Amadori Ezio.

Brenac said, “We tried to be very careful at the starts. There were a lot of OCSs starts, and it’s very difficult to make a good race because the right side [of the course] is good and there’s nothing to gain going left. On the right side, at the end the wind shifts [in a lift] to the left, and the sea is more flat.”

Ayres shares third place with Brian Porter, while Ullman shares seventh with Team Pegasus colleague Mark (Crusty) Christensen.

After Ayres won the first race, Ullman won the second, both leading at every mark.

Results (after 2 0f 10 races)

1st Tie between Francois Bernac, France, 2-4, and Nicola Celon, Italy, 4-2, 6 points.
2nd Tie between Bruce Ayres, Newport Beach, Calif., 1-7, and Brian Porter, Winnetka, Ill., 3-5, 8.

5th John Pollard, UK, 8-6, 14.

6th Othmar Mueller von Blumencron, Great Falls, Va., 6-9, 15.

7th Tie between Mark Christensen, Santa Cruz, Calif., 16-3, and Dave Ullman, Santa Ana, 18-1, 19.

9th Chris Larson, Annapolis, Md., 12-8, 20.

10th Tie between John Pink, UK, 7-14, and Don Jesberg, Mill Valley, Calif., 12-8, 21.