#ROADTOPORTOROZ - Melges 24 European Championship 2021
September 6, 2021 - Portoroz, Slovenia - With the Melges 24 European Championship 2021 starting in Portoroz, Slovenia this week, we have been asking about the expectations to the event from several sailors.
NICCOLÒ BERTOLA - the helmsman of TAKI 4 ITA778
"We are very excited to be finally back racing in a big event since 2019 Worlds. Have been two difficult years for the entire world and for sailing too. I know Portoroz and I think it is a very good place for this Championship with a wonderful and sometimes tricky racing area.
We will race this event as the reigning Corinthian World and European Champions, but this year it will be harder. I have seen a very good and trained fleet recently with many teams in a lot better shape compared to the past. We will see good battles on the water in Portoroz! We come to Portoroz with not our best performances in the last regattas, but we are ready now and are concentrated to be back!"
DAVOR JELACA - the owner and tactician of BLUE LABEL CRO006
"As in recent years we were the only team competing in Melges24 class events, we are proud and happy that now we have more than 15 teams in Croatia. That gave us the opportunity to form a national class and organise 3 events this spring and two more this October, even the national championship at the end. Hopefully in the years to come we will have teams from other countries joining us.
In the upcoming European championship in Portorož we will have 4 Croatian teams competing for the trophies, with olympic sailors on board on some of the boats.
Blue Label team, racing under the flag of Yacht Club Croatia, Opatija ( https://www.facebook.com/YachtClubCroatia ) , instead of simply getting a new one, decided to stick with the boat with the lowest hull number competing in the class. We will try to show that this old lady still has some good sides to give and possibly surprise the favourites on every opportunity she gets. During the years we had a fairly constant crew of 6-7 sailors rotating, depending mostly on spare time and weight of course.
After this challenging year for every sailor I expect that in Portorož this September, 44 crews from all over Europe will finally get a chance to enjoy in what this class is all about, sport boat racing in a fast one design boat in a fairly big international fleet. As one our American friend would say : like riding a wild stallion sometimes.
Branko and his team should all be proud for organizing the championship under such circumstances and have this many teams joining the regatta. I am grateful to see them and all my other friends again.
Special thanks to Piret and the rest of Melges 24 Association team for being out there for us when needed."
MICHAEL GOLDFARB - the owner and helmsman of WAR CANOE USA841
"We are looking forward to the Europeans and it is great to see so many boats from different countries. We have enjoyed this venue in the past and look forward to the tough competition."
“After almost two years, we are particularly looking forward to being part of the competition in the Melges 24 class again. Unfortunately, we never had the opportunity to be back on the boat for a training or racing in the meantime after the worlds 2019 in Villasimius. So, we travel to Portoroz quite unprepared. But one thing is clear: We give everything, and we will fight!
For sure the high class competition for the Europeans in Slovenia is pretty tough. That certainly doesn't make it any easier for us. Nevertheless, we look forward to competing against the strongest Teams in the best ever sportboat class. Racing the Melges 24 is just pure fun! Happy to be back!
We have already sailed a few times with our boat in Portoroz, as part of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series in previous years. The facility is terrific and the organization has always been on top level. And for sure; Portoroz is just the place to be for high level sail racing and beyond.”
REMY THUILLIER - the owner and helmsman of LSV - SNBSM FRA430
"As Melges 24 beginners we’re coming to learn a lot near to the best team. We sailed Melges 24 for two years but never against other Melges 24 so we can’t wait to start the Europeans.
The French class is trying to rebirth, we are almost 15 boats and we’ll try first to organize a National Championship and then to come in numbers to the upcoming europeans events.
We expect wind, sun and fun in Portoroz ! And for sure great racing!"
MARC WAIN PEDERSEN - the owner and helmsman of WHOSAH DEN840, former President of Melges 24 Danish Class Association
“We are so exited, finally, to come to a big Melges 24 regatta again. We haven’t seen the Melges 24 fleet since the Europeans on Lake Garda in 2018. We have sailed two small regattas in Denmark this year, so it’s not that much. And because of COVID-19, it was not the best idea to go outside the boarders.
But now we are ready to go sailing against the Melges fleet again. We haven’t been to Portoroz before, but we have heard that it is a great sailing venue, so here we come, FINALLY. The main focus for us to this regatta, is to enjoy being out sailing again in a Big fleet and of course to see if we can follow up the best Melges 24 sailors. We are looking forward to see you all in a couple of days in Portoroz!"
MICHAEL SCHINEIS - the owner and helmsman of PURE AUT716, the President of the Melges 24 Austrian Class Association and former IM24CA Vice Chair Europe (2012-2015)
„We are really excited to come to Portoroz and to sail these Championships. As everywhere the summer was not easy due to restrictions and this is really the highlight for our sailing since a long time. We are really looking forward to meet the fleet and our friends together with my team!
I personally had also a lot of nice experiences with the village of Portoroz. I learned big boat sailing there and spent a lot of time with my son when he was sailing in the Optimist and now he is part of my crew competing with the best Melges sailors from 14 nations. I’m sure that we will experience a great week of sailing.”
MAGNUS LUNDBERG - Tactician of SWE-715
"After 2 years of waiting since last Melges 24 regatta in Villasimius, we are looking forward to do the 24hrs driving from Sweden to Portoroz. It’s first time for us in Portoroz, and we are looking forward to some tough sailing in tricky conditions. Part of the Team has been in Melges 24 class since 90:s, and we are now trying to mix up with some youngsters to speed up:) During the lockdown we have been sailing some J-70 in Champions league, and now it’s good to be back in the Melges 24.
Melges 24 for us is the Original and a boat built to sail. The Melges 24 class is really Competitive and it’s tight racing on the highest level. Our expectations is to have a good time and some top results. We are excited to start racing again and looking forward to see all."
AKOS CSOLTO - the owner and helmsman of SEVEN_FIVE_NINE HUN759, and the President of the Hungarian Melges 24 Class Association
"After 3 years of waiting the Melges continental championship is ON again … Just what we have been waiting for…
2 years have passed since the last World Championship and 3 years since the last European Championship… a quite longtime… this “damn” COVID has unfortunately had to teach us a lot of new things in all areas of life.
But in 1 day we have the European Championships starting in Portoroz… and 759 is very happy about it…
I remember clearly the day 10 years ago when we arrived with our new Melges24 boat from Lake Balaton, filled with high expectations for our first foreign race… we stopped in the parking lot… we were fascinated by the huge port, the wonderful sea and started unpacking our boat. … that parking lot was the one of the port of Portoroz.
We have been loving this place ever since and we are back whenever we can. Huge port, complete, fair infrastructure, fair accommodation, fair berths and of course the most important: BRANKO. We haven't been able to ask a thing from Branko through the past 10 years that he wouldn't have done for us…. He is an incredible guy, and is the MVP “engine” for the the region’s Melges family.
We also love the sailing area… which can show many of its faces… and many times requires very cunning, thoughtful, tactical sailing from sailors.
At the last European Championships, we “got up” on the podium in the Corinthian category. Then we were very happy about it, we traveled home incredibly happily from Lake Garda. We still want to repeat this result, but we are aware that at least 6 other boats think similarly and deserve the podium.
It will be a long regatta is various wind conditions, such we consider it important to bring balanced, good results thourghout the races all the way… this is the only way to get on the podium."
TIM KÖPPE - the owner and helmsman of SLIPPERY WHEN WET GER499
"We are really excited to finally go racing again. The Worlds 2019 in Villasimius was the last Melges24 regatta for us. Since then we only did a few Wednesday night beer can races here in Greifswald, Northeast Germany, so we are really looking forward to the Europeans in Portoroz. We have never been to Slovenia, so we hope to discover yet another great venue.
After six years we still feel quite new to class, still learning a lot about the boat every time we go sailing. So we can’t wait to line up again against some of the best sailors. As always we are racing with a true corinthian team of friends and family. In Villasimius we had the girlfriend of my son on our team, she’s an avid horse rider but has never been in a sailing race before. She’ll be back again this time. I guess that speaks for itself.
I guess we are again the only team without the fancy black sails. So if you see us on the race course, better cross behind ;-) "
TÕNU TÕNISTE - the owner and helmsman of LENNY EST790
"Portoroz is always a good place to sail with its big club and beautiful bay. There is intense competition in the Melges24 class and the title competitions are always stronger, as will be those Europeans. We have competed with Lenny's team in Portoroz several times and here we have mostly done well😁. We hope that these Europeans will also be successful for us.
Regarding the corona, we have also traveled less than usual and participated in only few regattas last year. The more exciting it is now to compete against each other for the title of European Champion."
ANDREA RACCHELLI - the owner and helmsman of ALTEA ITA722
"We are approaching 2021 European Championship after 2 years without major events. We are so happy to sail against a strong fleet , it's a pleasure to see more than 40 boats on the entry list. We had great sailing in Italy this year, with great events. Unfortunately not so many participants as we expected, but the level of competition was really good. We will try to fight for a place on the podium, knowing that usually the conditions are challenging in Slovenia. We hope that all Melges 24 sailors will have a lot of fun sailing in Portoroz and this could be a new sunrise for the class."
NIKITA DYVINETS - the crew of MARUSIA, UKR819
"We are looking forward to seeing those powerful boats on the start line, with all the friends we haven’t seen for ages (4 years I believe). It’s a first regatta for us after a long break so the goal is to have fun on the water, enjoy racing and get back to competition.
I think it’s going to be great event marking the start of the return to regular life! Hope to see everybody soon!!"
"The Melges 24 family is very happy to meet again in Portoroz after a long period under the dark clouds of the covid pandemic. The professional and enthusiastic team of the Marina of Portoroz is ready and will do everything for a perfect event. The number of participants is not that high as before the pandemic, but teams from 14 countries demonstrates that the class is alive and popular all over Europe."
“Our experience as Gill Race Team this year is that at the start of 2021 we did not know that we would be able to sail at all let alone compete in a European Championship. However, when we arrived in Riva del Garda in June for the second European Sailing Series event we were delighted that we could sail, meet all our old friends and enjoy the breathing scenery of Garda.
Now with two events completed we are looking forward to the Europeans and showing the world that Melges 24 is still the best boat, the most fiercely competed and the best fun of all!”