2011 Böklunder Melges 24 European Championship
Fracassoli Within Touching Distance Of Glory On Penultimate Day
Aarhus, Denmark July 27 - The penultimate day of the Böklunder Melges 24 European
Championship in Aarhus, Denmark, saw three excellent races sailed in light but predominantly
consistent breezes ranging from 5 - 9 knots. With just two more races scheduled
to be sailed on the final day, and having led this regatta throughout, Carlo Fracassoli
on ITA 803 Gullisara today put himself within touching distance of overall victory.
After securing a comfortable victory in the first race of the day, Fracassoli stumbled
a little with a thirteenth in the next race, but came back strongly with a second
place in the third and final race of the day. Despite chalking up an impressive
2,1, scoreline in the first two races today, Alberto Bolzan on ITA 716 Saetta crashed
to a twentieth place in the third race, leaving him still in second tonight, but
now 22 points adrift of Fracassoli. The introduction of the discard after the first
race today enabled Flavio Favini on SUI 782 Blu Moon to get rid of the OCS score
he picked up on the first day, and he sits in third place tonight after turning
in a disappointing 4,11,14 scoreline from today' racing. In the all amateur Corinthian
Division, Tonu Toniste's 1,4,1 Corinthian string of results on EST 790 Lenny keeps
him at the top of the Corinthian leaderboard, with a 7 point advantage over Oyvind
Peder Jahre on NOR 751 Storm Capital Sail Racing in second. Just 3 points behind
in Corinthian third place tonight lies Tiit Vihul on EST 761 Rock City.
After a delay of two hours ashore to enable the local sea breeze to begin to establish
itself, Race 6 of the championship got away cleanly at the first time of asking
in around 6 knots of breeze. At the first windward mark there was little between
the top few boats with Carlo Fracassoli on ITA 803 Gullisara and Kicker Schafer
on GER 582 No Woman No Cry leading the pack at the beginning of the first run.
These two boats were still in front at the gate with Kristoffer Spone on DEN 400
Baghdad moving up to third. Fracassoli, Schafer and Spone slugged it out up the
second beat with the leading pack compressing but with no change to the order of
the top 3. The final run was a patchy affair, with the priorities being to stay
in the pressure and keep a clear lane. With Schafer falling out of contention, Alberto
Bolzan on ITA 716 Saetta sailed a great leg to overtake Spone and take second at
the finish behind Fracassoli.
The first beat of Race 7 saw Fracassoli, Spone, Flavio Favini on SUI 782 Blu Moon
and Petr Fiala on CZE 752 Aloha all in close contention for the lead at the halfway
point. At the windward mark however a series of oscillating windshifts saw Soren
Ebdrup on DEN 823 North / Action lead around, ahead of Fiala in second and Kim
Haugaard on DEN 409 Fregatten Fyn in third. By the leeward gate Fiala had clawed
his way past Ebdrup to take the lead, with Haugaard hanging on to third, ahead
of Bolzan in fourth. On the final beat Bolzan picked every shift to perfection to
round the second top mark in the lead. Fiala rounded second with Haugaard in third.
With these three keeping a close eye on each other on the final run, there were
no further place changes before the finish, with Bolzan taking the gun, Fiala second
and Haugaard third.
The breeze had picked up a little for the final race but the downside was that it
had lost some of its stability and big shift to the right soon after the start caught
several top teams out on the left of the course. Making the most sense of the shifty
conditions was Michael Hestbaek on ITA 766 Arteria 24ever who rounded the top mark
in the lead, ahead of Ben Koppelaar on NED 765 Peak in second and Christophe Barrue
on FRA 639 Euro Voiles in third. On the first downwind leg Carl Akerson on SWE 508
Sitting Duck kept his breeze clear enough to ease past Koppelaar and Barrue and
round the gate in second behind Hestbaek. The second beat saw regatta leader Fracassoli
push the turbo button, moving from sixth at the gate to second, close behind Hestbaek
at the final top mark. These two were locked together for the entire last downwind
leg, but despite of all Fracassoli's best moves, Hestbaek held his nerve to take
a well winner's gun, ahead of Fracassoli in second and Koppelaar in third.
With a 22 point lead and just two more races left in the schedule for the final
day of the championship tomorrow, the remarkably consistent Fracassoli is now looking
all but invincible. The battle for second place is a much closer one however, with
Bolzan holding a tenuous single point advantage over Flavio Favini on SUI 782 Blu
Moon. Fourth going into the final day is Fiala who is 18 points clear of Tonu Toniste
on EST 790 Lenny in fifth.
Back ashore the crews relaxed in the afternoon sunshine at a post racing Oysters
and Beer party thrown by the Dutch Melges 24 Class who will host the next Melges
24 European Championship in 2013 in Medemblik.
Results after 5 Races
1st Carlo Fracassoli ITA 803 Gullisara 20 points
2nd Alberto Bolzan ITA 716 Saetta 42 points
3rd SUI 782 Flavio Favini Blu Moon 43 points
4th Petr Fiala CZE 752 Aloha 50 points
5th Tonu Toniste EST 790 Lenny 68 points
1st Tonu Toniste EST 790 Lenny 18 points
2nd Tiit Vihul EST 761 Rock City 25 points
3rd Oyvind Peder Jahre NOR 751 Storm Capital Sail Racing 28 points
Racing in the 2011 Böklunder Melges 24 European Championship series began on Sunday
24th July and the ten race series runs through until Thursday 28 July.