Victory by a point

Dramatic final race at the Ocean BMW Melges 24 Europeans

Friday September 23rd 2005, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
Today's final race of the Ocean BMW Melges 24 European Championship in Torquay was the most exciting yet in what has been an absolutely gripping regatta. Three boats were in serious contention: Andrea Racchelli sailing Altea (55 points), Gabrio Zandona sailing Joe Fly for Giovanni Maspero (56 points) and Stuart Rix sailing Gill for Quentin Strauss (62 points) - and from the opening moments we knew we were in for a battle royal.

For the first time all week the wind was up at around 14 knots from the west and by the start initial rain had given way to broken sunshine. PRO Peter Rumbelow and the Royal Torbay's excellent race committee got the fifty competitors away at the first attempt and from the gun it was Gill that took control. Altea had a terrible start and their grip on the title was disastrously loosened at that moment. Joe Fly again went for the conservative approach and managed a moderate though not glowing start.

At the first weather mark it was Gill first from Tim Collins in Easy Tiger with Paul Brotherton aboard Ian Cleaver's Highland Heritage 3rd, Antoine Frickey sailing Benjamin Cohen's Sogeti 4th, Alba Batzill with Eddy Eich's No Woman No Cry 5th and John Pollard of Excellent 6th. This leading group got away from the pack where Joe Fly rounded 11th with Altea back in 20th.

At the second weather mark Gill were just hanging onto their lead with Sogeti now up to 2nd followed by Easy Tiger, Excellent, Highland Heritage and No Woman No Cry. Joe Fly had pulled up to 8th putting them just one point behind Gill for the Championship. Back in the scrum Altea was struggling and rounded 22nd with no hope left of recovery. The boats took off down wind and with every gybe the positions altered. At the final leeward gate Joe Fly had pulled up into 7th and onto equal points with Gill but their normally impeccable crew work faltered momentarily and the kite ended up under the boat loosing them valuable seconds and giving Gill a brief breathing space. Despite this potential disaster Joe Fly's crew rapidly had the situation back under control and she was off up the beat like a scalded cat.

By the final weather mark Gill were still just holding off the leading group but Excellent had now pulled up into 2nd and was closely followed by Sogeti, Easy Tiger, Highland Heritage and No Woman No Cry. Joe Fly had done an impressive job up the beat rounding back in 7th and still on equal points with Gill as the set off towards the finish.

Knowing they had to gain one more place over Gill to retain the European Crown Joe Fly gybed early. Gill meanwhile had their work cut out trying to hold onto the lead and spectators were kept on the edge of their seats as the leading boats jostled for position. In the closing moments Excellent slid past Gill and they crossed the line 1st and 2nd respectively, closely followed by Sogeti, Easy Tiger, Highland Heritage and No Woman No Cry. Although Joy Fly's early gybe hadn't gained them any places they held onto 7th and took victory by just one point with joyous celebrations as they crossed the line for helm Gabrio Zandona and his crew of Daniele Cassinari, Federico Michetti, Monica Ratipoldi and owner Giovanni Maspero.

In the overall standings Gabrio Zandona helming Giovanni Maspero's Joe Fly Team takes the Giorgio Zuccoli European Championship Trophy with Stuart Rix, helming Gill for Quentin Strauss 2nd and Andrea Racchelli of Altea 3rd. 4th place overall and the Corinthian (all amateur) Trophy goes to Alba Batzill helming No Woman No Cry for Eddy Eich, with Francois Brenac of Phillipe Ligot's Partner & Partners Sailing Team 5th. Other podium slots in the Corinthian Division go to Antoine Albaret of Cotes d'Armour Perros Guirec 2nd and Jerome Aubert in Au Planning 3rd.

For the Joe Fly Team this is a particularly sweet victory, as they almost didn't make the regatta when a sleeping lorry driver wrote off their boat and tow truck as Federico Michetti changed a tyre on the hard shoulder on his way to the regatta. Fortunately Federico suffered only a small scratch and they were able to secure the loan of a replacement boat in time. Although this is Gabrio Zandona's first Melges 24 European Title his crew were the defending champions, having won the trophy with their previous helm, Luca Santella, in Helsinki in 2003.

Special thanks must go to the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, whose team has done a spectacular job of organising the regatta both afloat and ashore, to the International Jury led by Tony O'Gorman and to event sponsors Ocean BMW, WKD Original Vodka Blue, Devoti Sailing, North Sails UK Ltd, Westaway Sails and Musto Ltd for their generous support.

The 2005 Melges 24 World Championship will take place at the Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, Florida, USA from 11 to 16 December.


Pts R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12
1 ITA550 Joe Fly Giovanni Maspro Zandona Gabrio 63 3 31 2 13 15 1 4 2 5 5 6 7
2 GBR431 Gill Quentin Strauss Stuart Rix 64 9 5 7 3 1 19 12 3 19 2 1 2
3 ITA438 Altea Andrea Racchelli Andrea Racchelli 66 4 2 11 8 3 8 10 6 4 7 3 16
4 GER582 No Woman No Cry Eddy Eich Alba Bazrill 78 32 1 9 1 17 9 26 1 2 4 2 6
5 FRA571 Partner & Partners Philliipe Ligot Francois Brenac 91 1 11 14 7 6 2 1 18 7 24 14 10
6 FRA261 Cotes d'Armour Perros Guirec CDVH Antoine Albaret 116 8 9 1 33 18 3 23 12 15 3 10 14
7 FRA387 Douarn-Mason Winches Club Vincent Sauleau 123 11 21 5 6 29 7 11 7 9 10 23 13
8 FRA173 Au Planning Jerome Aubert Jerome Aubert 131 24 14 3 18 13 14 6 9 51 17 4 9
9 GBR573 Xcellent John Pollard John Pollard 144 34 28 17 51 16 4 2 14 3 9 16 1
10 FRA422 Dyneema-Liros Remy Arnaud Remy Arnaud 148 19 23 10 19 7 6 5 24 10 8 22 19
11 GBR516 Highland Heritage Ian Cleaver Paul Brotherton 151 17 51 22 10 27 11 16 8 8 14 13 5
12 FRA470 Cotes d'Armor Sail de Mer CDVH Thomas Rouxel 157 6 4 16 4 51 24 8 19 17 6 15 38
13 FRA193 Cotes d'Armor CDVH Vincent Biarnes 159 13 17 6 2 9 21 13 17 43 22 28 11
14 GBR406 Team Barbarians Stuart Simpson Jamie Lea 161 2 3 31 29 4 15 7 37 32 1 25 12
15 GBR334 Easy Tiger Tim Collins Tim Collins 173 42 8 20 5 21 27 3 34 13 30 9 3
16 SUI599 PoiZon Rouge Jean-Marc Monnard Jean-Marc Monnard 180 10 15 37 39 2 20 42 4 16 13 7 17
17 MON601 Sogeti Benjamin Cohen Antoine Frickey 180 14 13 19 51 10 17 18 21 38 18 8 4
18 GBR535 March Hare Simon Henning Mike Henning 188 43 10 4 15 25 25 24 20 1 16 5 51
19 FRA358 Dottore Jigolo Douchy & Marcadet P Y Lambert 200 37 6 33 42 8 13 17 10 12 29 20 15
20 FIN476 Suunto Henrik Thelen Kennet Thelen 206 41 7 24 32 12 23 15 51 14 19 11 8
21 NOR341 Dolly Per Andresen Erik Arthur 206 40 20 18 14 15 18 20 22 29 11 18 21
22 ITA297 Pioneer Investments Igino Angelini Andrea Formaro 221 18 38 12 21 23 16 21 5 33 15 21 36
23 FRA423 Zig Zag 15 Henri Samuel Henri Samuel 222 7 19 25 12 32 29 28 26 11 20 19 26
24 GBR546 Helmut Rises Again Nigel Grogan Nigel Grogan 236 16 18 28 11 14 51 19 33 18 31 24 24
25 GBR527 Comfortably Numb Andrew Dellow/Simon Dobson Simon Dobson 239 20 26 21 26 20 30 14 30 28 12 12 41
26 AUT531 EdelweiB Michael Schineis Michael Schineis 251 5 29 13 51 31 12 9 29 35 23 38 27
27 GBR368 Team Turn-Turtle.com A Brown, B Cooper, G Birbeck Alan Brown 257 15 24 15 36 11 34 34 13 20 33 30 28
28 GBR269 Ali 2 Joe Woods Ann Ashworth 285 25 12 34 16 22 26 30 36 27 27 32 34
29 FRA461 Euro-Voiles Denis Infante Christophe Barrue 304 12 42 8 43 33 23 39 28 22 51 29 25
30 GBR589 Badger Paul Lovejoy Paul Lovejoy 311 49 34 36 40 35 10 35 16 26 21 36 22
31 SUI382 Zerowo/e-brokerline.com Michael Good Michael Good 315 45 33 32 51 28 38 27 11 21 34 17 29
32 NOR349 Party Girl Jens Wathne Jens Wathne 317 29 32 29 17 19 51 51 51 6 36 27 20
33 FRA383 Merck Generique Jean-Marc Sparfel Jean-Marc Sparfel 319 22 16 26 22 44 22 31 40 40 35 42 23
34 GBR611 WKD Red Joe Woods Joe Woods 337 21 22 27 44 24 39 37 27 24 39 33 51
35 GBR548 Team Panasonic Adrian Peach Adrian Peach 349 38 51 42 28 38 5 38 15 31 26 37 51
36 FRA473 Gybe Set Anne Gellez Oliver Gellez 358 23 37 38 9 43 31 33 41 37 37 35 37
37 NOR279 Marella V Nils Nordenstroem Nils Nordenstroem 361 35 35 40 31 30 32 25 32 30 42 41 30
38 GBR403 Envy Martin Miller Dean Argent 362 30 41 35 23 26 43 43 35 23 45 45 18
39 SUI578 Music 55 Ruedi Huber Ruedi Huber 366 33 27 50 34 34 37 32 31 44 28 34 32
40 FRA471 Mu Emmanuel Nebout Emmanuel Nebout 376 31 36 23 24 37 41 42 25 41 41 46 35
41 GBR452 Eric's Mate Martin Wedge Martin Wedge 395 27 51 47 20 47 36 29 43 36 40 39 31
42 GBR432 Wolf Cub Glyn Williams Glyn Williams 399 28 25 39 51 39 42 36 23 47 38 31 51
43 GBR340 White Rabbit Simon Henning Simon Henning 407 50 40 30 25 36 33 46 47 39 25 47 39
44 GBR534 Hooligan Norman Broom Norman Broom 427 39 39 44 30 41 35 41 42 45 32 40 44
45 GBR453 Ramshackle Steve Williams/Dave Farrimond Paul Owen 441 26 43 43 27 42 48 40 46 49 44 49 33
46 MLT435 Wild Thing David S Franks David S Franks 461 48 51 49 41 51 44 44 39 25 51 26 43
47 GBR377 Henri Lloyd Tony Jaffa Tony Jaffa 463 46 30 46 45 51 40 47 38 42 46 43 40
48 GBR478 www.formulacars.co.uk Tim & Steve Jones Tim Jones 479 36 46 48 35 45 45 48 44 48 43 44 45
49 FRA272 Speed'eau Antoine Jeu Antoine Jeu 484 44 51 45 37 48 46 45 48 34 47 48 42
50 SUI270 Boorinsla August Schram Ann-Kathrin Hoh 495 47 44 41 38 40 47 49 45 46 48 50 51

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