Melges 24 European Sailing Series 2023 - Pacific Yankees Take the Victory at the Melges 24 Pre-Worlds in Middelfart
June 12, 2023 - Middelfart, Denmark - Champagne sailing – that’s how the participants were describing the Melges 24 Pre-Worlds in Middelfart, Denmark over two days this weekend! A high-quality field of 15 competitors with many championship wins and podium places between them met in Middelfart, which led to competition between the Pro teams Pacific Yankee, Nefeli, Panjic, Stig, Melgina and the Corinthian teams of Gill Race Team, Helly Hansen II Lisa, Storm Capital, and Blow.
The conditions on Saturday on the Little Belt (Lillebaelt) in Middelfart were forecast to be a NE breeze of 10-15 knots but which peaked at 20 knots in bright clear sunshine with four races run in quick succession by the race management team of Christian Lerche made for a great day of sailing on conditions the mazing Melges24 excels in, with fierce competition at all parts of the fleet and at the end of which there were lots of smiles despite the fatigue on the sail back to Middelfart.
Sunday was another early start with lighter breezes at about 8-10 knots but a similarly bright and sunny day which led to more challenging racing in shifty conditions with a strong current running across the course that led to many position changes on both upwind and downwind legs, with only the final race subject to four re-starts before the fleet got away on a black flag.
Drew Feides and the Pacific Yankee (USA) team deserved the win with a dominant performance with 5 race wins hotly pursued by Peter Karrie’s Nefeli (GER) in second place, Miles Quinton’s Gill Race Team (GBR) and Luka Sangulin’s Panjic (CRO) tied for 3rd place on points decided on Gill Race Team’s 2nd place in the final race of the regatta and Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig rounded up the Top Five.
Miles Quinton’s Gill Race Team with Geoff Carveth at the helm topped the Corinthian podium while the second-best Corinthian team was Helly Hansen II Lisa of Børre Hekk Poulsen and the podium was completed by Storm Capital of Peder Jahre - both from Norway.
The new Austrian team on #607 of Rene Noack was welcomed friendly by the Melges 24 family with a bottle of champagne and all participants got a prize for participating.
Comments from the sailors
Drew Freides, the owner of Pacific Yankee: “The sailing conditions were incredible. We had a wide range from windy on Saturday to light and shifty on Sunday. This really helped us tune our boat for the various conditions that we might experience during the Melges 24 World Championships. A big thank you to the Race Committee and the organizing authority for putting on such a great event running 6 great races despite our fleet’s attempt to test their patience with multiple general recalls on Sunday.
„Middelfart was absolutely beautiful and a great place to sail. Everyone has been so helpful and so welcoming to us. Even though we are so far from home, everyone made us feel like we were part of the family. Our only complaint was the lush landscape that caused multiple members of my team to have miserable allergies.“
Miles Quinton, the owner of Gill Race Team and a member of IM24CA Executive Committee: “We made the investment of coming to the Pre-Worlds to better understand the venue, and the racecourse for the Worlds and we learned a lot over the two days that we can apply to the Worlds. The Race Committee was brilliant in turning around races fast and clear communications with the fleet, together with the friendly Danish hospitality so a massive Thank you to Soren Blume Svendsen, the Chairman of the Danish Melges 24 Class, and the Race Committee of Christian Lerche for making it happen.
"We are excited for the Worlds in two weeks, it will be an iconic World Championship celebrating 30 years of Melges24 racing and the brilliance of Buddy Melges!”
The fleet is now looking forward to the Melges 24 World Championship 2023 in Middelfart in two weeks!
At the same time, the teams overseas are very much welcome to register for the continental championship - 2023 Melges 24 North American Championship taking place on September 14-17, hosted by the National Yacht Club in Toronto, Canada.
The results of the Melges 24 Pre-Worlds regatta in Middelfart:
- USA865 PACIFIC YANKEE - Drew Freides - 5 pts
- GER673 NEFELI - Peter Karrie - 9 pts
- GBR694 GILL RACE TEAM - Miles Quinton - 20 pts
- CRO739 PANJIC - Luka Šangulin - 20 pts
- ITA854 STIG - Alessandro Rombelli - 22 pts
- ITA693 MELGINA - Simon Sivitz Kosuta - 27 pts
- NOR697 HELLY HANSEN II LISA - Børre Hekk Paulsen - 29 pts
- NOR751 STORM CAPITAL - Peder Jahre - 34 pts
- NOR787 BLOW - Peder Nergaard - 36 pts
- DEN828 FUSION - Peter Havn - 48 pts
- GER327 BALLYHOO RELOADED - Martin Thiermann - 56 pts
- DEN634 HEDGEHOG - Stefano Lapo - 56 pts
- DEN799 CRAZY IVAN - Søren Blume - 66 pts
- DEN195 FRØKEN MARIE - Kristian Juel Thomsen - 76 pts
- AUT607 - Rene Noack - 76 pts