September 2nd 2016 – Hyères, France – Ten years after the Melges 24 Worlds were won by Nico Celon’s Bete Bossini, and just five years after the European success was grabbed by Lorenzo Santini’s Uka Uka Racing, the International Melges 24 Class Association is ready to return to Hyères to discover the name of the new European Champion .
To be met in the town that marks the Western edge of the French Riviera is a fleet of 57 boats, in which the flags of fifteen Nations are recognizable, to underline once again the importance, on a world-wide scenario, of this one-design boat, designed by Reichel-Pugh far back to 1992. A never ending story, able to renew itself and never to be taken for granted always thanks to the big names involved between the marks: it’s certain that it will happen also in this lovely town, famous for the palms and for the Mistral.
“It’s great to see that the organization in Hyeres will host another fantastic championship for the Melges 24 class. Looking at the entry list I know that there will be a fierce battle for the podium places both in pro and Corinthian rankings. This is normal in our fantastic class. I welcome new teams that are doing this event as their first, but also the more seasoned teams to have another possibility to reach their goals. I wish the international fleet that will join the racing for the European title, all the best. I hope for a great racing on the water and enjoyable social events on land afterwards. Fair winds!” commented Jens Altern Wathne, Chairman of the International Melges 24 Class Association.
As usual the Melges 24 fleet will be scored on to two groups: the pro sailors’ one will count on 14 crews. Among them we can identify all the favourites for the overall success starting from the reigning Melges 24 World Champion Chris Rast. The helmsman of EFG (SUI), currently leader of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series ranking, will have to fight with Andrea Racchelli’s Altea (ITA), runner up in the 2015 Melges 24 Worlds of Middelfart (DEN); Angelo Di Terlizzi’s Marrakech Express (ITA), with Matteo Ivaldi at the helm – 2014 Melges 24 European Champion on Blu Moon and past Olympic 470 competitor (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000); and more David Rowen’s Imagine (GBR), Andrea Pozzi’s Bombarda (ITA) – the winner of the famous Kiel Week 2016 and Peder Nergaard’s Blow (NOR). Also we can keep an eye on the Richard Thompson’s Black Seal (GBR) who was winning Key West Race Week earlier this year.
In the Corinthian division there are some crews that cannot be overlooked. The number of Corinthian (no professional sailors allowed) crews competing at this year’s championship is also remarkable – 41 out of 57. Among these, we can find reigning Corinthian World and European Champion and two times 470 Olympian medallist Tõnu Tõniste’s Lenny (EST); Miles Quinton’s Gill Race Team (GBR) with the many times Laser Sb20 World Champion Geoff Carveth helming – the winner of the 2015 European Sailing Series and 5th at the Worlds; Michael Tarabochia’s White Room (GER), current leader of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series ranking; Eelco Blok’s Team Kesbeke/Sika/Gill (NED) with Ronald Veraar helming; Michael Schineis’ Pure (AUT), Peter Warrer’s Salty Dog (DEN), Øyvind Jahre’s Storm Capital Sail Racing (NOR) and Michael Good’s Cinghi-Aile (SUI). View the list of entries
The Marinepool Melges 24 European Championship 2016 will be hosted by the Cercle d’Organisation du Yachting de Compétition Hyérois (COYCH), in co-operation with the International Melges 24 Class Association (IM24CA) and the French Melges 24 Class. The event, planned between September 5th and 9th with a registration and measurement on September 2nd to 4th, will count on up to 12 races with a maximum of 3 races for each day. After the end of the sixth race, the discard of the worst result of the series will come in play.
The event will be officially opened on Sunday evening with the Opening Ceremony, when the Vice Chairman Europe, Miles Quinton from Gill Race Team is going to welcome the sailors on behalf of IM24CA Executive Committee and Pero Muriel, the Chairman of the COYCH will welcome the Melges 24 fleet on behalf of the hosting club.