2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series - EFG Bank and Team Kesbeke/Sika/Gill Victorious at the Season Opener in Portoroz

April 4, 2016 - Porotorz, Slovenia - Christopher Rast’s EFG Bank (SUI684) helmed by Flavio Favini in open division and Eelco Blok’s Kesbeke/Sika/Gill (NED827) with Ronald Veraar helming in Corinthian division got the best points for the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series ranking at the first event of the season in Portoroz, Slovenia over the weekend of April 1-3.

Twenty six teams from thirteen nations from all over the Europe travelled to Portoroz to start their sailing season there at the first event of the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series. The event, valid also as the Melges 24 Open Slovenian National Championship and the first event of the Melges 24 Italian Sailing Series under the name of the Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta was hosted by the Yacht Club Portoroz and Portoroz Marina in co-operation with the International Melges 24 Class Association.

The video highlights of the final day of the Melges 24 Portoroz Regatta edited by ZGN/Simona Bellobuono.  

Third morning of the regatta was not much different than the first two – the lack of wind in the morning kept the fleet ashore. But a nice sea breeze of 10-12 knots in the afternoon allowed for the Race Committee to manage two races before the time limit at 4 pm. The race course was set more further to the sea close to the historical town Piran today. Even there was some wind shift in the left the fleet was spread evenly to the both sides of the course. The wind continued to play the tricks dying ten minutes after the finish of the first race of the day keeping the fleet waiting again. In the next attempt of the start some boats were too eager to go to the course and the fleet was penalized with the black flag start. Still – all good at the end and six races in total was what the Race Committee led by Bojan Gale managed to execute in these tricky spring conditions.

EFG Bank in Porotoroz

EFG Bank Team - (from left Christopher and Connor Rast, Giovanni Ferrari, Aldo Bottagisio, Flavio Favini and Jaro Furlani) -  the winner of the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series - Event 1 - Portoroz, Slovenia - photo IM24CA/Andrea Carloni

Christopher Rast’s EFG Bank with Flavio Favini helming continued its consistent racing collecting a bullet from the first race of the day with a great margin despite of the fact that their start wasn’t so successful. The second result from the final race and the discard of the twelfth result from the series secured to the team including Christopher Rast, Flavio Favini, Giovanni Ferrari, Aldo Bottagisio and Jaro Furlani the victory of the regatta with thirteen points in total.

In the interview after the regatta Chris could not thank enough the hosting club. “Yacht Club Portoroz did a fabulous job to host the Melges 24 regatta here in Portoroz. And this was the biggest plus of the weekend for sure. At the end we got a little bit lucky with the wind and got six good races.” He highlighted the strong competition and high level of the regatta saying that racing was very tight at the top. “There were Altea with Andrea Racchelli and young Hungarian boys (FGF Sailing Team with Robert Bakoczy) who did very well. Hungarians have been practicing and getting experience and I am sure they will have even better results when the season goes by.” Chris was also very positively looking at the Melges 24 events to come saying that EFG Bank Team is planning to do all the events of the European Sailing Series with the finale grande in Luino, which is the homeclub for the good fellow Flavio Favini.” - 

Second place on the podium was filled by the 2015 Melges 24 World runner-up Andrea Racchelli’s Altea from Italy with a series of (17)-1-10-1-3-5 and twenty points in total followed by the Kalman Rozsnyay's FGF Sailing Team from Hungary helmed by Robert Bakoczy. Hungarians achieved to collect the series of (18)-4-1-5-2-10 and were only two points behind of the second position.

Altea ITA735Andrea Racchelli's Altea - the runner-up at the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series - Event 1 - Portoroz, Slovenia - photo IM24CA/Andrea Carloni 

FGF Sailing Team HUN728FGF Sailing Team with Robert Bakoczy helming - the third at the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series - Event 1 - Portoroz, Slovenia - photo IM24CA/Andrea Carloni

The runner up of the regatta, Andrea Racchelli was describing the regatta as a difficult one. “It was a very difficult regatta as the conditions were difficult with shifty and light winds, which were difficult to read on the water. On Saturday we did some bad starts but we improved on the final day and we are happy and satisfied with the result.” Talking about the season to come Andrea said it will be very long. “The most important event will be the European Championship in Hyeres in September and then the Worlds in Miami in December. It will be long and this here is just the beginning. We hope to be in top 5 at the Europeans but we’ll see about Miami,” he said to conclude the interview.

In the Corinthian division of 15 teams a strong battle was going on through the whole competition. With two bullets on the final day of the regatta Eelco Blok’s Team Kesbeke/Sika/Gill from the Netherlands with Pim Mommersteeg and Joost Brouwer in the crew managed to jump up from the fifth position after first day to the highest podium place today. Their series of 4-1-11-(12)-1-1 and eighteen points in total were equal with the points of Angelo di Terlizzi’s Marrakech Express from Italy filling the second place on the podium. Three bullets in the results were the reason to be on the higher place on the scoreboard for the Dutch team. The podium was completed by Michael Good’s team Cinghi-Aile from Switzerland who was on top of the leader board after the second day with total of series 1-(8)-7-5-7-2 and missed four points from the second place at the end.

Team Kesbeke/Sika/Gill NED827

Eelco Blok's Team Kesbeke/Sika/Gill - the Corinthian winner at the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series - Event 1 - Portoroz, Slovenia - photo IM24CA/Andrea Carloni

Joost Brouwer, the bowman of the Corinthian winner Team Kesbeke/Sika/Gill was happy with their result of the regatta. “It was our second time to be here and we will start to get used to the conditions which were hard and difficult especially for the Race Committee, but they managed to do six races and did a very good job. We managed to do a good final result out of it. We had a goal to win in Corinthian division and we did it,” he said happily.

After the first event in Portoroz the series will lead to Austria, to the Lake Attersee in June; the points for the third event will be collected during the Kiel Week in Germany after Midsummer; the fourth event will bring the Melges 24 fleet to the very attractive venue in Riva del Garda, Italy in July; the most significant Melges 24 event of the season which is also the fifth event of the series, will be held in September in Hyeres, France where the European Champion will be awarded; the series will conclude with the sixth event in Luino, Italy in October. 

Full Results 
Day 3 photos of the event in IM24CA Flickr - IM24CA/Andrea Carloni 
Photos of the Prizegiving in IM24CA Flickr - IM24CA/Andrea Carloni 
Videos of the event in IM24CA YouTube 
Read for more about the series at melges24.com/europeansailingseries

Event in Facebook
Event at the webpage of the Yacht Club Portoroz

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