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2022 Melges 24 European Championship - Ready, set... Genoa

by International Melges 24 Class Association 20 Oct 2022 07:12 PDT 22-29 October 2022
War Canoe USA841 of Michael Goldfarb © IM24CA / Zerogradinord

Everything is set in Genova for the beginning of the 2022 Melges 24 European Championship.

The Yacht Club Italiano, along with the International and Italian Melges 24 Class Associations, is spending the last days preceding the start of the competition between technical operations, such as crew weighs in and measurement checks since October 22, and welcoming the participants, who have already started to reach the main town of Regione Liguria and the iconic clubhouse of the organizing yacht club, among the most famous yacht club in the world.

An influx that should exceed forty boats arriving from fourteen countries, for one of the most competitive events of the sailing season: it cannot be otherwise, if we consider that the entry list includes the best perform in the class. Actually, on the starting line we will see the reigning European Champions of Altea (ITA), leaded by the experienced Andrea Racchelli, President of the Melges 24 Italian Class, fighting hard to defend the title won in Portoroz a little bit more than one year ago. To contend the prestigious Giorgio Zuccoli Trophy there will be a bunch of fearsome opponents, leaded by the home teams Gilles (ITA), owned by Marcello Caldonazzo Arvedi with Pietro D'Alì at the helm, and Paolo Brescia's Melgina (ITA), overall winner of the 2021 Melges 24 European Sailing Series.

The one to climb on the Europe's roof is an idea that tickles also the team Strambapapà (ITA): led by the former Italian Olympians Michele Paoletti and Giovanna Micol, the crew of ITA-689 has shown that he has ideas and skills that are sometimes unattainable for his opponents and is by right a candidate for a leading role. A situation that fits almost perfectly also for War Canoe (USA) that, owned by the American Michael Goldfarb, since this summer sailing with 2015 Melges 24 World Champion Chris Rast calling the tactics, is a long-term protagonist of the International Melges 24 Class Association.

Among the outsiders we must include a Croatian teams, composed by Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic's Universitas Nova, current leader of the Croatian Melges 24 Cup and Ante Botica's Mataran 24, special observed for the victory among the Corinthians, who have opened the season in style in Rovinj.

"We are excited that after one year of sailing Melges 24 our team Universitas Nova is in comfortable lead at CRO Melges 24 Cup," admitted Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic. "As well being able to come to the Europeans in Genova is a fantastic accomplishment since University of Split is supporting our endeavour to promote Croatia and city of Split as a sailing hub and place to be if one wants to study and sail at the same time.

We are proud that team is composed by young generation and fresh energy and some of my experience.
Looking towards racing at waters of Genova we have no expectations but to enjoy, gather more experience of the class and learn. As well we shall use that time to invite more of international teams to join Croatian M24 circuit and grow Melges 24 furthermore in Croatia."

Moreover, there will be Peter Karrie's Nefeli (GER), with experienced Niccolò Bianchi calling tactics finishing 2022 Worlds as the best crew from Europe on the 8th position; and Marco Zammarchi's Taki 4 (ITA) with Niccolò Bertola helming, multiple times Corinthian World Champions.

Talking about the Corinthian teams, Marco Cavallini's Jeco Team (ITA), capable of some great results in the 2021 Europeans in Portoroz, can't be overlooked because of the achieved bronze medal there. To be observed also other two Corinthian crews, well known between the class' marks: Miles Quinton's Gill Race Team (GBR) with Geoff Carveth steering and Michael Tarabochia's White Room (GER) with Luis Tarabochia helming.

Among the returns, it will be great to see again Alessandro Rombelli's Stig (ITA) between the marks with a strong crew, composed by the former Olympian Matteo Ivaldi and the former America's Cup sailor Massimo Gherarducci.

A statistic, which confirms the widespread worldwide diffusion of the Melges 24, is represented by the presence of a crew coming from Singapore who will sail on SGP-461, a boat named Born In Fire II and owned by Pascal Radue; and two Norwegian teams, one of which is led by a class stalwart Kristoffer Spone, multiple Norwegian Melges 24 champion on Helly Hansen Lisa.

"We are looking forward to Genova," says Kristoffer Spone. "This will be our first International regatta in the Melges 24 since start of Covid-19 and Norway closed down. We look forward to meet our good friends in the Melges Family and sort it out in Genova. We are one of the old schools like the men on Black Seal with Richard Thompson, Andrea Racchelli on Altea and Peder Nergaard with Blow. It will be a good week for sure! It will be great to sail against the best, and a good check in before the Worlds next year in Middelfart, Denmark!"

To report the absence of Tõnu Tõniste's Lenny (EST), winner in Portoroz of the Corinthian European title and consistent winner of the Menno Meyer Corinthian European Trophy: the lack of this strong Estonian team, by years among the great interpreters of the class, will make the fight for the success among the non-professional crews more open than ever.

One of the contenders to fight for the Corinthian podium will be Hungarian team led by Akos Csolto on the boat called Chinook. Already bronze medallist at the 2018 Europeans and current overall and Corinthian leader of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series makes them hungry for the success.

"Excitement-filled anticipation "spices up" the everyday lives of our team members a few days before the start of the 2022 European Championship. We know that as a Corinthian team, we are not the favorites for the European Championship, but looking up to this year's European Sailing Series ranking, currently we lead both in the overall and in Corinthian... well, what can I say... We're preparing for a hard, tiring, long week... There can be ups and downs for anyone. Weird waves, high currents, shifting winds... it's going to be all there. But this is how the best ones will be found out and we are excited and ready for that!" said Akos Csolto, the owner and Helmsman of Chinook (HUN).

Looking at the technical side of the event, the Melges 24 European Championship will begin on Monday, October 24th with the Practice Race even if the first points will be awarded starting from Tuesday 25th of October: ten races are scheduled with a discard to be counted after the end of race number five while three races must be completed to declare the event valid.

"We could not have wished for better for the end of the 2022 sailing season," says Yacht Club Italiano's President Gerolamo Bianchi. "An international event made even more valuable by the high level of the participants and by the presence of three crews who will race with our Club burgee. I am sure that, once again, Genoa and its sea will have the opportunity to prove to be an excellent regatta field. On our side, we have done our utmost to organize an unforgettable event both on the water and on land and we are proud to host the many athletes who will arrive from all over Europe".

"For the return of the Melges 24 European Championship in Italy we're proud to have chosen a first class partner as Yacht Club Italiano and an iconic venue like Genoa, a town full of history and depository of seafaring culture. We are confident to have got the ingredients for a great sailing event and that, thanks to efforts of Yacht Club Italiano, Melges 24 Italian Class and International Melges 24 Class Association, we'll be able to make the difference making the 2022 European Championship an event to be remembered," was stated by Piero Andolina, on the starting line with Magica (ITA) and Vice Chairman Europe of the International Melges 24 Class Association.

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