Clear win for Celon

Fiona Brown reports on the Easter weekend's Melges 24 action at the SNIM regatta in Marseille

Tuesday April 18th 2006, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: France
Sixty Melges 24 teams from 12 countries across Europe and Scandinavia took part in the four day SNIM Regatta over the Easter Weekend in Marseille, France. The event provided a variety of conditions and some incredibly close racing for this first regatta in the Melges 24 European Ranking Series 2006. After ten tough races it was Italy's Nicola Celon helming Bete for Amadori Ezio who took the laurels from Benjamin Cohen of Monaco sailing Sogeti Transiciel. The French Partner & Partners crew of Philippe Ligot with helm Francois Brenac took third with John Pollard's Excellent from the UK in fourth.

Racing opened on Friday in moderate conditions. The first race start was heavily pin biased but very soon after the start the right got all the pressure and a big starboard lift. Downwind it was death to gybe early as all the pressure was now towards the shore. The second race was even more pin biased and the further left you went the better it got, although later in the race it became somewhat processional. By the end of the first day Maurizio Abba's Italian crew aboard Alina were leading from Franco Rossini of Switzerland aboard Blu Moon with helm Chris Rase and local boy Paul Maxime sailing Marseille Big Ship Quantum who shared second place.

Random was the word for day two when three races were sailed in winds up to 20 knots and as low as 5 knots. In race three the trick was to hit the left hand shore as hard as possible upwind. Downwind the shore paid again big time as boats on the left who had initially looked good ran out of pressure. Next time round those in the wide awake club gybed before reaching the shore and made huge gains. The good guys hit the shore again on the first beat of race four, but downwind a huge squall on the right caught out some of the leaders who found themselves stranded in light airs on the right.

For race five a shift in the final minute of the sequence gave a massive pin bias. Downwind the breeze became more and more random with some boats becalmed and some full planing. Things got worse on the second beat with the whole left and middle of the course down to a few knots and the boats on the right fully hiked. The race team took pity on the fleet and shortened at the end of the second beat. After five races Bete had slipped into the lead with Partner & Partners second and Sogeti Transiciel third.

On day three the PRO showed her class by holding her nerve to wait over two hours for a sea breeze to develop. When it did it was a pleasant 15 knots producing planing conditions downwind and sloppy wave patterns upwind.

For race six the starboard end was busy and several boats bailed out at the last minute to avoid rafting. A number of crews were black flagged but Marseille Big Ship Quantum came out smelling of roses to lead from start to finish.

Race seven was a little windier and the left paid upwind. Jamie Lea led Riccardo Simoneschi at the weather mark and they provided spectators with some fantastic viewing as they vied for pole position. Lea eventually forced Simoneschi to the less favoured left gate on the final lap to take control while Celon sailed an incredible last leg to pull up into second.

In race eight some of the fleet were caught out by a much shorter beat laid close to the neighbouring big boat fleet. Sogeti Transiciel made the best of the situation to lead from start to finish. By the end of the day Celon aboard Bete had extended his lead with Sogeti Transiciel second and Partner & Partners third.

The final day brought two final races in light and fical conditions. In race nine Bete match raced Sogeti Transiciel off the line and went on to finish third behind winner Excellent and second place Flor Direct owned by Alain Roig.

Race ten appeared to go to Marseille Big Ship Quantum but on crossing the line they discovered that they and several others were OCS leaving Jean-Marc Monnard aboard Poizon Rouge to take the gun with Altea second. Bete clocked up another third place to take the series.

The IMCA would like to thank the SNIM organisers for a fantastic regatta and special thanks must also go to Justin Chisholm of Team Barbarians for his reports from the race course. The European Melges 24 fleet now moves onto Bari in Italy for the next Italian Volvo Cup Series event on 11-13 May. The Melges 24 North American Championship will take place in Santa Cruz, California from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 May.

Top 50 results:

Pos Boat Nat R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Tot Net
1 BETE EZIO AMADORI ITA 21 3 1 3 5 9 2 8 3 3 58 28
2 SOGETI TRANSICIEL COHEN BENJAMIN MON 11 2 2 6 9 8 9 1 6 OCS 115 43
3 PARTNER & PARTNERS LIGOT PHILIPPE FRA 15 4 11 2 1 2 15 17 7 12 86 54
4 EXCELLENT GBR 18 13 4 16 10 6 10 5 1 11 94 60
5 GIACOMEL AUDI RACING TEAM PAOLACCI MASSIMO ITA 6 22 16 12 21 4 3 3 8 16 111 68
6 POIZON ROUGE MONNARD Jean Marc SUI 3 16 18 7 OCS 5 27 10 12 1 160 72
7 SHEREKHAN CARDASCIO Maurizio ITA 4 9 25 1 12 10 20 23 9 9 122 74
8 ALINA ABBA Maurizio ITA 10 1 6 15 20 11 6 7 19 DNF 156 75
9 LEK GER DAHL ANDERSEN NOR 43 21 5 31 8 13 12 2 10 4 149 75
10 TEAM BARBARIANS SOMPSON STUART GBR 16 6 22 4 4 18 1 BFD 14 22 168 85
11 MARSEILLE BIG SHIP QUANTUM PAUL MAXIME FRA 2 10 12 8 26 1 30 4 27 OCS 181 90
12 BLU MOON ROSSINI FRANCO SUI 1 11 3 24 19 3 7 BFD 30 OCS 220 98
13 ALTEA RACCHELLI ANDREA ITA 25 7 24 39 18 15 18 BFD 4 2 213 113
14 G & BL BRESSAN Cesare ITA 14 17 30 47 15 21 5 BFD 5 13 228 120
15 NO WOMAN NO CRY EICH Eddy GER 7 20 23 20 30 12 11 11 17 26 177 121
16 FLOR DIRECT ROIG Alain FRA 9 31 44 17 7 25 35 27 2 7 204 125
17 LENNY TONISTE Tonu EST DSQ 25 29 28 3 7 23 12 39 10 237 137
18 EUROVOILES INFANTE DENIS FRA 13 27 15 13 53 20 22 6 31 25 225 141
19 MAISON DE L AVENIR SAULEAU VINCENT FRA 34 5 27 42 17 17 13 30 18 19 222 146
20 MARCHINGENIO MARCHI Giorgio ITA 17 26 14 35 27 16 BFD 16 29 5 246 150
21 ENCORE DE KERVENOAEL C FRA 23 18 8 46 52 27 25 19 25 8 251 153
22 RUNA MONACO Furio Patrizio ITA 8 28 21 27 42 24 14 31 16 15 226 153
23 DOCTEUR JIGOLO DOUCHY JEAN PAUL 20 44 7 9 49 14 21 42 22 21 249 156
24 O'TOMATE COIRRE Paul FRA 12 37 10 57 16 BFD 8 25 13 35 274 156
25 LIROS ARNAUD REMY FRA 30 14 13 29 11 DNF 29 9 21 38 255 156
26 GILL STRAUSS QUENTIN GBR 29 8 9 10 40 BFD RDG RDG 40 6 259 158
27 COTES D ARMOR AN PORT BLANC 35 12 17 11 28 30 34 29 11 OCS 268 172
28 SEGODEMO CATALOGNA GIANNI ITA 26 15 BFD 26 24 BFD 4 34 32 18 301 179
29 COTES D ARMOR PERROS GUIREC ALBARET ANTOINE FRA 24 40 26 14 33 22 24 20 28 23 254 181
30 GIVE ME 5 FOLLIN ADRIEN FRA 22 DSQ 52 33 6 32 16 26 33 17 298 185
31 ZIG ZAG 18 SAMUEL HENRI FRA 32 39 19 21 23 31 28 13 36 33 275 200
32 SBAB SUNDSTEDT JEAN MA SWE 5 19 36 52 2 BFD 19 15 DNF DNF 331 209
33 ZEROTWO GOOD Michael SUI 33 32 40 19 43 26 26 BFD 24 20 324 220
34 TEAM ACQUA TRIBO GIAN LUCA SUI 28 30 BFD 53 13 34 39 35 15 30 338 224
35 MAGA IFM WURTZ Gabriele ITA 46 DSQ 32 18 14 19 31 22 42 DNF 346 224
36 AIR BUCH BARONNET JEROME FRA 50 49 31 5 48 39 17 38 46 14 337 238
37 QQ7INO TREVISAN PAOLO ITA 31 34 28 56 38 23 48 28 20 37 343 239
38 SNUGASABUG MATHIEU SEBASTIEN FRA 45 33 43 23 50 37 41 18 38 28 356 261
39 EDELWEISS SCHINEIS Michael AUT 19 42 38 55 34 43 BFD 21 37 31 381 265
40 WOLAND BINACCHI Antonio ITA 37 45 20 30 39 33 33 40 45 34 356 266
41 ST GERMAIN AUDIT ; COM NEBOUT EMMANUEL FRA 40 46 41 22 41 28 38 32 34 32 354 267
42 MAS AMANTES VALLIVERO Renato ITA 38 23 47 32 25 BFD BFD BFD 23 29 400 278
43 TAPE THAT VROMM Carlo NED 27 43 35 45 29 35 36 33 49 40 372 278
44 EPERVIER 5 SPARFEL JEAN MARC FRA 36 36 34 34 31 45 43 24 51 OCS 395 283
45 MELANCOLIE 6 CONSTANT Patrick FRA 41 24 33 51 DSQ BFD 40 36 35 24 406 284
46 POULICO LAMAIGNERE Francois FRA 39 DNF 50 37 32 38 37 14 41 OCS 410 288
47 POINT BREAK/ALPINA PARQUET GRISOLI Gianluca ITA 47 35 39 49 36 29 32 48 44 27 386 289
48 CHACUN PARES GEORGES FRA 44 29 37 25 47 41 BFD 39 43 41 407 299
49 MUSIC 55 RUEM Huber SUI 51 38 54 38 22 44 50 49 DNF DNF 468 346
50 GYBE SET GELLEZ Olivier FRA 42 55 51 41 45 42 45 44 52 36 453 346

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