Favini shows early form
Monday August 20th 2007, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: none selectedThe wind finally arrived for the second day of the 2007 Melges 24 European Championship being run in association with Rolex Baltic Week in Neustadt, Germany and the 78 teams were able to complete the first three of 12 scheduled races. Racing had been due to start at 1100 but it was a frustrating two and a half hours before the wind finally settled sufficiently to get underway. It was to be a very long day but the NRV’s race management team did an excellent job of coping with the difficult conditions, but even with their best efforts the crews did not get ashore until mid evening.
When racing did get underway America’s Cup helmsman and former Melges 24 World Champion Flavio Favini, helming for Switzerland’s Franco Rossini aboard Blu Moon, managed to make the best of the conditions. He opened the day with a third, took second in the next race and topped it off with a win in race three to lead the championship with six points. This team were by far the most consistent performers of the day and Blu Moon is the only boat with an all single digit scoreline.
Britain’s Jamie Lea, helming Team Barbarians for Stuart Simpson, won the first race then came third in the second, but they took a right hand flyer off the start line in race three which did not pay and left them buried in the fleet at the first mark, eventually finishing 11th to leave them with 15 points and second place overall. Lea is a long standing member of the Melges 24 fleet but has yet to claim a European title and clearly feels he has unfinished business to attend to. Perhaps 2007 will finally be his year?
IMS 600 World Champion and Melges 24 newbie Lorenzo Bressani from Italy is lying third and his day followed a similar pattern to Lea’s with a second place in the opening race and a win in race two, but like Lea it all went wrong in race three where he too picked the wrong side of the first beat and then got badly caught up in a nightmare weather mark rounding as a large proportion of the fleet ended up rafted and making multiple attempts to round. They ultimately finished 17th putting him on 20 points overall. Bressani’s crew is a very strong one and includes Federico Michetti, who won the 2000 Worlds crewing for the legendary Giorgio Zuccoli and the 2005 Melges 24 European Championship as part of the Joe Fly team, so while they may be new to the fleet they are certainly one of the hot favourites for the title.
In the Corinthian division for the all amateur crews Estonia’s Olympic Bronze medallist Tonu Toniste sailing Lenny and Switzerland’s Henrik Witzmann sailing Sonnenkonig are both on nine points with Toniste taking the overall lead on count back. In third place and just one point behind the leaders is Italy’s Mario Ziliani sailing Gullisara. As always competition for the Corinthian title is just a fierce as for the overall title and all three of the Corinthian leaders also took top ten places in the overall race results.
This evening the crews have come straight ashore and into the Rolex Baltic Week Crew Party where they are enjoying great food, great German beer and wine and of course great company.
Tomorrow’s forecast includes possible thunderstorms and more light airs so the teams are anticipating another day of unstable conditions and hard racing with two races planned and an 1100 first start.
Provisional results of the Melges 24 European Championship after three races:
1. Blu Moon (Flavio Favini/Switzerland) 9 points
2. The Barbarians (Stuart Simpson/United Kingdom) 15
3. Uka Uka (Lorenzo Bressani/Italy) 20
4. Alina - Helly Hansen (Luca Valerio/Italy) 26
5. Euro-Voiles (Denis Infante/France) 27
6. Airis (Sandro Montefusco/Italy) 27
1. Lenny (Tönu Töniste/Estonia) 9
2. Sonnenkönig (Hendrik Witzmann/Switzerland) 9
3. Gullisara (Mario Ziliani/Italy) 10
More pictures on the following pages...