Record Melges 24 World Championship

Racing gets underway out of Torbole next week

Friday July 27th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: Italy

The countdown for the start of the Melges 24 World Championship is quickly approaching. There are still few hours to go before the impressive organisational machine set up by Circolo Vela Torbole and the International Melges 24 Class Association will launch one of the most anticipated events of international sailing. To appreciate this, just give a look to the numbers: 130 boats entered - an absolute record for the Melges 24 Class - coming from 22 countries and 4 continents, 650 sailors who will eat 50kg of pasta and drink at least 250 litres of beer each day.

An event that, despite the combination with the Olympics, has captured the attention of enthusiasts and professionals. The secrets of this success are not so secret: Torbole is a guarantee for the wind and sailing in the waters of Lake Garda has always its charm: the conditions are never the same and the shifts are constants and sometime huge. Only the strongest can predict something about the weather situation, and in Torbole, there are many strong sailor.

Due to the great success of the Torbole event, the Race Committee, chaired by Hank Stuart, was forced to create four groups, distinguished by different colours, which, between 30 July and 1 August, will compete in two race course before being divided between Gold and Silver Fleets ready for the conclusive races, planned over 2-4 August, when the new World Champion will be crowned.

A world title that will mark the difference between those who reach to Olympus and those who must still work hard. Although a bit of luck, or misfortune, is always taken into account.

The final rankings will take account of the 12 races scheduled and the discard of the worst result since the end of the sixth race.

For the Worlds, one of the favourites is the Little Wing crew of helmsman Enrico Zennaro and of the Slovenian tactician Branko Burcin. But we shouldn't forget the winner of the 2012 Volvo Cup, Blu Moon: Franco Rossini's Melges 24, that, despite the Swiss flag, has an Italian heart with Flavio Favini on the helm and will try to recover the title won first by Flavio Favini in 2001. Another well-known name is Carlo Fracassoli who, after winning the European Champion in Aarhus, will attempt the leap to the Worlds with Gullisara. On Giogi Matteo Balestrero recruited the 2006 World Champion Nicola Celon. And pay great attention to Saetta, with the Olympic 470 gold medallist Nathan Wilmot calling tactics and Alberto Bolzan at the helm.

Among the foreigners, the favourites are AEZ of German Markus Wieser who chose the strong French sailor Sebastien Col as a coach and Pascal Rambeau, bronze medallist in the Star in Athens as tactician; and Mamma Aiuto with part of the crew coming fresh from their top performance at the recent Melges 32 Europeans. Also looking for success is American former Moth World Champion Bora Gulari with his West Marine Rigging New England Ropes.

Pending the preparation of the sound signals in the first trial - scheduled for Monday at 1200 - crews and organisers will be able to test their equipment and race course during the two days of pre-World racing, during which they will play a maximum of four races.

Events like the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship are not possible without the most generous support of the event sponsors led by the Municipality of Comune di Nago Torbole and including the Regional Authority of Trentino; TrentoDoc, partner of Circolo Vela Torbole whose excellent selection of sparkling wines will be enjoyed by all; Trentingrana, whose cheese is made using milk exclusively from the Trentino area; InGarda, the touristic company supporting visitors to Lark Garda; and technical sailing clothing supplier Marinepool.

Organised by Circolo Vela Torbole in collaboration with the International Melges 24 Class Association, the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship will count a maximum of 12 races, with up to three daily races. Five races are required to made the event valid, although the famous weather conditions, typical of the northern Garda, should make this rule unnecessary.

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