2023 Melges 24 European Sailing Series - Razjaren Victorious in Split, Gill Race Team Wins the Corinthian Division
October 30, 2023 - Split, Croatia - Three fantastic days of sailing in Split at the Melges 24 European Sailing Series regatta, organized by the Split Sailing Club, brought together 19 crews from Croatia, Austria, Italy, and the United Kingdom from October 27th to 29th. The crew of Razjaren with helmsman Ante Ćesić took first place ahead of Universitas Nova and Ivan Kljaković Gašpić. In contrast, the third place on the podium went to the crew of Mataran 24 with helmsman Ante Botica. The gold went to the British Gill Race Team of Miles Quinton in the Corinthian category, followed by the Croatian crews Razjaren 2 of Stipe Cesic and Tutta Forza of Niko Jakovcev.
During the six races held in various conditions, the highlight was on Sunday, the "day of big swell," when the solid southern wind churned the sea, making the agile Melges 24 boats dance like Fred Astaire. The dominant force was Razjaren, which practically turned this regatta into their private competition. A nine-point lead over the closest competitor underscores Ante Ćesić's superiority in this regatta compared to the rest of the fleet.
"The European Sailing Series regatta was a great prelude to the 2024 Melges 24 European Championship, which the Split Sailing Club will host in Lučica next year in September. We might not have been “good hosts” on the water, but I hope we were excellent ashore. I believe the results speak volumes about our dominance. We took four bullets and one second place in six races. We sailed phenomenally, had great starts, and maintained excellent speed throughout three days. Full of energy and motivation, we are looking forward to the last regatta of this year's CRO Melges 24 Cup - the Croatian Open Championship in Trogir," said Ante Ćesić, helmsman of the Razjaren.
Former Croatian Olympian Ivan Kljaković-Gašpić also added to the story of the less hospitable hosts. He finished second overall in his first appearance for the Split Sailing Club.
"I didn't expect to end up on the podium because we are still adjusting to the changes in the crew. I must admit that our races looked better daily, so this silver in Split is a good encouragement for the future. Ante Ćesić and his team had a fantastic regatta. They progressed rapidly throughout the season, and the rest of us in the fleet need to catch up in the upcoming regattas," said Ivan Kljaković-Gašpić, helmsman of the Universitas Nova.
In the Corinthian division, the Gill Race Team of Miles Quinton, with Geoff Carveth steering, seized the top spot. With the overall victory, the British crew was also the 'Boat of the Day' in the Corinthian class for all three days. Not bad for their debut appearance in Split.
“We sailed in Split to test the racecourse before the Melges 24 European Championship 2024. The conditions were quite challenging, with shifty upwind and shifty downwind. The key was choosing the right side when the fresh breeze was coming. 60 per cent of the time, we got it right, and 40 per cent of the time, we got it wrong. The hospitality in YC Split was great. Free beer, free burgers, free clothes. All are very friendly. They have a nice area for launching the boats, and I think we will have a great regatta in Split next year”, said Geoff Carveth, helmsman of the Gill Race Team.
The owner of Gill Race Team, Miles Quinton added: “We were very keen to sail in Split at the Melges 24 European Sailing Series to experience the venue for the 2024 European Championship and learn the race courses. We were not disappointed as we had three days of challenging but rewarding racing against the top Croatian teams on the inner and outer courses. Razjaren with Ante Cesic were dominant for the whole regatta and deserved the win but were chased by Universitas Nova, Mataran 24, Point One and ourselves. In the end we were tied for 3rd place overall with Mataran 24 but lost out on count back but were pleased with 4th place and 1st Corinthian sailing in a venue we had not experienced before. Ashore the support by Luki Baustoffe, and the other sponsors made for excellent before and after racing social scene and we found everyone was very friendly and helpful. I had a chance to look at the facilities for the Europeans with the Sailing Club Split management and IM24CA Chief Measurer Branko Parunov, so I am pleased to report that I think this is an excellent venue for the Europeans next year!”
With three medals won (Razjaren, Universitas Nova, and Razjaren 2), the Split Sailing Club has successfully organized a dress rehearsal for the Melges 24 European Championship next year in Lučica, promising a thrilling sailing spectacle.
Split regatta also shuffled the cards in the Melges 24 European Sailing Series ranking results. Miles Quinton’s Gill Race Team (GBR) jumped to the lead with 120.5 points, while the second and third places remained the same: Chinook of Akos Csolto (HUN) with 114.2 points second and Michael Tarabochia’s White Room (GER) with 112.2 points third. As predicted, Croatian boats had a chance to climb in the ranking. Mataran 24, with Ante Botica at the helm, jumped from the 10th to the fourth, trailing White Room less than 8 points behind, while Luka Šangulin’s Panjić is rounding up the Top 5, less than one point separating from Mataran 24. The winner of the Split regatta, Lukasz Podniesinski’s Razjaren, steered by Ante Cesic, jumped up from the 20th position to round up the Top 10.
Final points to the 2023 Melges 24 European Sailing Series ranking may collected in the Yacht Club Trogir in three weeks, where the last stop of the most vigorous Croatian sailing competition will be held from November 16th to 19th, hosting the Melges 24 Croatian Open Championship.
The CRO Melges 24 Cup is organised in partnership with Angelina Yacht Charter, Sailing Point, North Sails, One Sails, the digital studio Akvarij, the digital agency Raiser, regate.com.hr, and EmergenSea. The Luki Baustoffe company supported the Melges 24 European Sailing Series regatta in Split.
Split European Sailing Series & CRO Melges 24 Cup Top 10 (6 races sailed, 1 discard):
- CRO 867 RAZJAREN - Ante Cesic - 6
- CRO 760 UNIVERSITAS NOVA - Ivan Kljakovic-Gaspic - 15
- CRO649 MATARAN 24 - Ante Botica - 18
- GBR694 GILL RACE TEAM (COR) - Geoff Carveth - 18
- CRO759 POINTONE - Karlo Kuret - 21
- CRO739 PANJIC - Luka Šangulin – 28
- CRO517 CEZIBORDO - Enia Nincevic – 33
- CRO728 RAZJAREN 2 (COR) - Stipe Cesic – 38
- CRO742 FJONDA - Goran Ivankovic – 39
- CRO643 TUTTA FORZA (COR) - Niko Jakovcev - 51