Carlo Fracassoli crowned
Overnight leader Italian Carlo Fracassoli on Gullisara, who went into the day with a 22 point advantage, finished the regatta in style with a hard fought win in the first race of the day. Fracassoli's race win initially appeared far from assured however. Rounding the first windward mark in sixth place he clawed his way up to third by the leeward gate before playing the shifty second beat to perfection to take the lead at the second windward mark. Once in front he was totally in control and on the final run to the finish he cruised home to take his third race win of the championship. This result sealed Fracassoli's championship victory with a race to spare and unsurprisingly he and his Italian crew immediately headed for the harbour to begin their victory celebrations.
Meanwhile the battle for the order of the remaining podium positions was still a close one. Flavio Favini on Blu Moon had gone into the final day in third place, just a single point behind second placed Alberto Bolzan on Saetta.
A sixth in the first race for Favini with Bolzan two places back in eighth, handed the advantage to Favini and set up an exciting final race showdown. With Christoffer Sunby on his way to a comfortable race win, the first windward mark of the five leg last race saw Favini and Bolzan locked together in sixth and seventh place, with Favini ahead and keeping a close cover on Bolzan on the first downwind leg. By the first leeward gate however, Bolzan had sneaked through to third with Favini now back in fifth.
On a somewhat one sided second beat the roles were reversed, with Favini moving up to third and Bolzan dropping to seventh. The final beat presented few opportunities for changing places and Favini was able to finish in third to secure second place overall. Bolzan came home in sixth to claim the final overall podium position.
A final day 9,6 scoreline from Petr Fiala on Aloha enabled him to lock down the fourth place which he had looked good for all week. Fiala and his young crew on Aloha had impressed a lot of people with their speed and boat handling during this championship and for sure this is a team with great potential for the future. Having lain in second place early on in this championship, Andrea Racchelli on Altea hit a sticky patch in the middle of the series which dropped him out of contention for the podium. An 11,5 score today however, brought them back up to fifth in the overall standings.
Despite a difficult final day which tumbled him three places in the main fleet order to eighth overall, Tonu Toniste on Lenny, was ultimately able to able to maintain his advantage over Norway's Oyvind Peder Jahre on Storm Capital Sail Racing in the all amateur Corinthian Division. Jahre certainly took the fight to Toniste in the first race today, chalking up a second in the overall fleet as well as a Corinthian race win, whilst Toniste only managed Corinthian 12th.
The final race saw the two Corinthian leaders finish deep in the main fleet, with Toniste four places ahead, closing out his Corinthian Melges 24 European Championship victory. A lacklustre performance compared to normal on the last day saw Tiit Vihul on Rock City unable to challenge either Jahre or Toniste, but it was still good enough for him to lock down third in the final Corinthian standings.
International Melges 24 Class Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi, who finished the regatta in seventh place aboard Audi, had this to say about the success of this year's European Championship. "With 80 boats from 16 nations competing this week, the size and the quality of fleet here in Aarhus is a real testimony to the strength of the Melges 24 Class. It is also encouraging to see so many Corinthians and young teams racing here this week. For sure the standard of racing was fantastic and confirms my belief that this class has the highest quality racing outside of the Olympics."
The 2012 Melges 24 World Championship will take place in Italy and the 2012 North American Championship will take place in San Francisco, CA.
1st Carlo Fracassoli ITA 803 Gullisara 34 points
2nd Flavio Favini SUI 782 Blu Moon 52 points
3rd Alberto Bolzan ITA 716 Saetta 56 points
4th Petr Fiala CZE 752 Aloha 66 points
5th Andrea Racchelli ITA 735 91 points
1st Tonu Toniste EST 790 Lenny 29 points
2nd Oyvind Peder Jahre NOR 751 Storm Capital Sail Racing 33 points
3rd Tiit Vihul EST 761 Rock City 48 points
Full results here