The Four Croatian Musketeers for Genoa
October 22, 2022 - Split, Croatia - With four teams, Croatia is the third-largest nation among the participants at the upcoming 2022 Melges 24 European Championship. This strong class has a big group of fans on the eastern shores of the Adriatic, and with more than 20 boats, Croatia currently has the third Melges 24 fleet in the world. The CRO Melges 24 Cup, nicknamed as a 'Champions League', in a short time became the most numerous and strongest sailing series in Croatia, gathering the best of the best in sailing. Šime Fantela, Ivan Kljaković Gašpić, Karlo Kuret, Tomislav Bašić, Filip Jurišić, Stipe Vitaljić are just some of the impressive names on this list.
The event of the European Sailing Series in Istria in April was a huge boost for Croatian sailing scene, and Genoa will be a new hard test for young fleet. Among them, Luka Šangulin’s Panjić sailing team has the most experience in European competition. Reigning champions of the CRO Melges 24 Cup were unlucky last year at the Melges 24 European Championship 2021 in Portorož and in Rovinj Panjić showed full potential with third place of the podium. For race in Italy, they will be assisted by the experienced Croatian sailor Tomislav Bašić and two teenagers.
“I think that being honest we sailed a good race last year in Portorož but we were unfortunate with DNE. It has been a fun and competitive season so far in Croatia, and the European Championship will be a great opportunity to find out our limits. The recipe for success is familiar. You need to be fast in all conditions and sail well in all conditions. And the level is so high, and it is so close that anyone of several boats could win here. We will approach the event much in the same way we did the last one. Working on consistent starting, boat handling, and speed,“ described Luka Šangulin.
For young lions from Trogir, their sailing premiere among „big guys“ was a complete success. For the first two days of the event in Rovinj, Mataran 24 team was a leader and at the end they took second overall and the title of the best Corinthian team.
„Rovinj was a surprise for us, we didn't expect to be in the top from the beginning. Somehow, we didn't expect to get close to the leaders so quickly. It was very difficult to maintain a constant with such good sailors, but we also grow from regatta to regatta, so in the end the result came. We were very happy with the speed and the way we sailed,“ said Ivo Matić. „Genoa will be a real test for us. I think we are confident that we can perform well as a team in all conditions but there are many teams who are also confident. We hope to get a good rhythm from the first day, and then everything is possible. We were very close to winning in Rovinj but let it slip through our fingers so we are hoping to have a good shot in Italy.“
Along with Panjić and Mataran 24, in Genoa will be the leader of the CRO Melges 24 Cup 2022, Ivan Kljaković Gaspić's team Universitas Nova and Ante Ćesić’s Razjaren.
“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 italians use to say: Che lo spettacolo abbia inizio!