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Balestrero and Ivaldi Pull Away From the Pack After Two More Tricky Races in Hungary at the MKB Bank Melges 24 European Championship 2014

7 May 2014

06 May 2014 - Balatonfüred, Hungary. The second day of racing at the MKB Bank Melges 24 European Championship 2014 on Lake Balaton saw two more races sailed in bright sunshine but light and flukey winds.

Both races took place in the afternoon after the race committee wisely held the fleet ashore in the morning awaiting the arrival of enough wind to race fairly. Around 1300 the race committees'patience was rewarded when a 10 knot southerly breeze materialised and racing could get under way.

The second day of racing produced two new winners. Hungarian Akos Csolto on HUN 579 Nondiremai reversed his poor fortune from the previous day when he scored 63, 39, by winning the first race of the day in some style.

Corinthian sailor Tonu Toniste on EST 790 Lenny turned in a consummate performance in the second race of the day, easing into the lead on the first downwind leg and then pulling away to win by over 30 seconds at the finish.

Overnight leader Matteo Balestrero on ITA 693 Giogi added to his consistent scoreline from the first day with a third and a fourth today. This extends his advantage at the top of the overall leaderboard to eight points and four races.

Boat of the day today and moving up from fifth after the first day to second tonight by way of two second places is Matteo Ivaldi on SUI 825 Blu Moon.

Despite stumbling to an eighteenth place in today's first race, Geoff Carveth at the helm of GBR 694 Gill Race Team managed a ninth in the second race to sit in third tonight - 15 points behind Ivaldi and five points ahead of Austrian Franz Urlesberger on AUT 681 Schoenherr in fourth.

Moving up from tenth to fifth overall tonight is Estonia's Tonu Toniste on EST 790 Lenny.

Toniste also leads the Corinthian division by five points from Peter Warrer from Denmark on DEN 779 Salty Dog in second and Vasyl Gureyev on UKR 661 Barbos in third.

Jure Jerkovic on SLO 726 Atena won the first Corinthian race today and sits in ninth place in the Corinthians.

After an initial general recall, the third race of the championship got away under an I and Z-flag combination. It was the boats on the left hand side who came out on top at the end of the first windward leg, with Jan Hossermann on GER 756 Panta Rhei leading the pack around the windward mark.

At the bottom of the first downwind leg Hossermann was under intense pressure from Martin Trcka on CZE 704 ICZ - Margarita and overall regatta leader Matteo Balestrero on ITA 693 Giogi. These three rounded the leeward gate almost simultaneously.

The second beat was a shifty one where the wind first went hard left and then flicked back to the right as the leaders approached the windward mark for the second time.

Matteo Ivaldi on SUI 825 Blu Moon lined up his starboard approach perfectly and despite taking two transoms in the final metres to the mark he slipped through into the lead as the pack rounded the buoy.

However, this race was far from over, as on the final downwind leg Hungary's Akos Csolto on HUN 369 Ponente picked up some extra breeze on the right of the run and leapfrogged himself from sixth at the windward mark to first at the finish.

Coming in from the left of the run Ivaldi finished in second and Balestrero came home third.

The fourth race of the championship was sailed in an equally shift 6 -10 knot breeze. It took yet another general recall to get the fleet away - once again under I and Z-flags.

On the restart Balestrero pulled off an audacious but perfectly executed tack on to port to cross the fleet at the pin end. Ivaldi also got away well at the pin and with the wind continuing to shift to the left for the first part of the beat it was no surprise to see these two in the top group approaching the windward mark.

But it was Alfredo Capodanno on ITA 636 Marrakech Express and Corinthian Tonu Toniste on EST 790 Lenny who rounded in first and second. Ivaldi and Balestrero had to settle for rounding in third and fourth respectively.

Toniste sneaked past Capodanno on the first downwind leg to take the lead at the leeward gate and from there on the Estonian extended his advantage on every leg to take a comfortable victory.

As the race progressed second placed Capodanno came under increasing pressure from Ivaldi in third. For a long time it looked like he would be able to hang on but in the last quarter of the final downwind leg Ivaldi slipped 'Blu Moon'into second. At the finish Capodanno took third ahead of Balestrero in third.

With four races sailed Balestrero leads the overall fleet by eight points from Ivaldi in second. A further 14 points back in third place is Britain's Geoff Carveth.

Toniste tops the Corinthian division by five points from Peter Warrer from Denmark in second and Vasyl Gureyev from Ukraine in third.

Racing at the MKB Bank Melges 24 European Championship 2014 continues tomorrow when stronger breezes are expected and up to three races may be sailed. When six or more races of the scheduled 10-race series are sailed the competitors can discard their worst score.

The championship series runs through until Friday May 9.