Melges 24 Worlds 2023 - Freides Leads but It’s All to Play For on the Final Day in Middelfart
June 30, 2023 - Middelfart, Denmark - Peter Karrie’s German-Italian mixed team Nefeli did a hat trick scoring two bullets and American Pacific Yankee of Drew Freides secures his lead for a Melges 24 World Champion’s title to be played for on the final day of the Melges 24 World Championship 2023 powered by Bunker One and organized by GoSail along with Fredericia Sailing Club and International Melges 24 Class Association in partnership with Danish Melges 24 Class.
The penultimate day of the Melges 24 World Championship in Middelfart, Denmark, saw three excellent races sailed in consistent but challenging winds. Like the previous days, the wind started out light and bouncy in the sailing area on Lillebælt south of Fænø, which presented some challenges for both the professionals and amateurs in the field.
Race Day 4 - Melges 24 World Championship 2023 - Middelfart Denmark
Kristian Kvid Sørensen, who is bowman for the 2015 Melges 24 World Champion, American Chris Rast sailing on Michael Goldfarb's War Canoe, is part of the American-Italian-Danish crew, admitted that it was a tough day today. “On the way out to the course, we decided that we would sail conservatively and do it together, as we have done the last couple of days. But we didn't find the right places with wind on the course, while the other top teams did well,” says a disappointed Sørensen. The other crew members are Mads Poder, Joachim Aschenbrenner and Italian Matteo Ramian, who can boast World and European Champion titles.
Until now, the combined team has been in the fight for gold, but after today's three races and a score of 17-18-9, the team has fallen out of the top five to seventh place - a full 29 points behind American Drew Friedes, who is comfortably leading the event with a seven-point lead over second place, defending world champion Peter Duncan (USA).
"It will be very difficult to win anything back tomorrow. But we will give it our best and hope that the promised strong winds will give us better results," says Kristian Kvid Sørensen.
While Chris Rast and his Danish crew were almost in free fall from the top of the leaderboard, Drew Freides from New York could look back on a turbulent day with a 20th place in the first race, which included both a bad start and a penalty at the top mark in the first race, and then a third and fourth place in the next two.
"We thought we had the right of way in the situation at the top mark against Peter Duncan, but we didn't dare risk being right in the protest room, so we took a penalty round to make sure we had corrected any mistakes," explains Drew Freides, who now has a seven-point lead over second place but doesn't feel safe because of it.
"It's going to be bloody tomorrow with lots of wind and waves, but that's what we do best, so we're ready for the attacks from all those who want to get to the top. And we saw that the Germans wanted to do that today."
He refers to German Peter Karríe, who after a slow start to the event suddenly switched to the big blade and won the second race of the day, which was kicked off by the mayor of Middelfart Municipality, Johannes Lundsfryd Jensen. The Germans continued their success with a solid lead and bullet in the third race and are sitting on fourteenth overall.
The hat trick pulled out by German-Italian crew of Nefeli made the helmsman Peter Karrie very happy. “We really liked the wind increase for the last two races and we have been very much missing that feeling, since we had several problems in the previous days. We like it when the pressure is on, and the wind is more stable. It’s still tricky out there, but today was a very good day for us!”
Saturday’s forecast is promising even more wind, and Peter Karrie admits that they are happy with that. “We have a good feeling of the boat speed when the wind is picking up and we are looking forward for three more races tomorrow."
The second race winner of the day was Andrea Racchelli's Altea in the first race of the day, managing to find the best speed leading already in the first upwind mark and kept his advantage until the end to cross the finishing line first.
In Corinthian division two boats are fighting equally for the top positions in the overall ranking. Reigning Melges 24 Corinthian European Champion Mataran 24 of Ante Botica from Croatia posted 4,15,3 scoreline today and jumps to the third place to complete the provisional overall podium. Wonderful performance keeps him competitive against the pro-teams as well at the top of the Corinthian leaderboard, with a 12 point advantage over German White Room of Michael/Luis Tarabochia who scored 3,7,19 today. Both teams were third in overall ranking in today’s races number seven and nine. Provisional Corinthian podium is completed by the Norwegian team of Børre Hekk Paulsen on Helly Hansen Lisa II.
Back ashore the crews had lots of fun at the daily prizegiving sponsored by many local supporters and relaxed in the afternoon sunshine at a post racing Blender Party thrown by the Norwegian team Party Girl of brothers Jens and Jørgen Wathne.
Saturday's final races are scheduled to start at 10.30 am on the Little Belt, and the aim is to complete three races, after which the overall and Corinthian world champions will be crowned at Middelfart Marina and we can’t wait to see the winners lifting the The Melges Performance Sailboats Trophy and The Challenge Henri Samuel Corinthian World Trophy above their heads.
Top Ten after 9 races (1 discard) including Corinthians:
- USA865 PACIFIC YANKEE - Drew Freides - 40
- USA829 RAZA MIXTA - Peter Duncan - 47
- CRO649 MATARAN 24 - Ante Botica (Corinthian) -50
- USA851 MONSOON - Bruce Ayres - 58
- USA864 DARK ENERGY - Laura Grondin - 45
- GER677 WHITE ROOM - Luis Tarabochia (Corinthian) - 62
- USA841 WAR CANOE - Chris Rast - 69
- ITA722 ALTEA - Andrea Racchelli - 74
- ITA854 STIG - Alessandro Rombelli - 75
- CRO739 PANJIC - Luka Šangulin - 80
Day Four photogallery in IM24CA Flickr by © Mick Knive Anderson
The photo galleries of the event in IM24CA Flickr by © Mick Knive Anderson
The videos of the event will be accessible via IM24CA YouTube
GoSail website: https://gosail.dk/2023-melges-24-world-championship/
IM24CA website: melges24.com
The 2023 Melges 24 World Championship is sponsored and supported by:
- Bunker One
- Sport Event Denmark
- Middelfart Kommune
- Destination Fyn – Visit Fyn
- Fredericia Sejlklub
- Middelfart Marina - Middelfart Lystbådehavn
- Melges 24 Denmark
- Dansk Sejlunion
- World Sailing
Schedule of Event:
- Saturday 24 to Monday 26 June - Registration and Measurement
- Monday 26 June - Practice Race and the Opening Ceremony
- Tuesday 27 June to Saturday 1 July - Racing at the 2023 Melges 24 World Championship
- Thursday 29 June - Championship Sailors' Dinner
- Saturday 1 July - Final races, Prize-giving and Closing Ceremony
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