Fracassoli ahead

Böklunder Melges 24 European Championship kicks off in Aarhus, Denmark

Sunday July 24th 2011, Author: Justin Chisholm, Location: Denmark

The 2011 Böklunder Melges 24 European Championship hosted by the Aarhus Sailing Club in Denmark got underway in spectacular style with three breezy races on Day 1. Flavio Favini on Blu Moon dominated the racing on the water, winning the first two races in some style and finishing first in the third race of the day, only to find that he had been called OCS at the start. As a consequence Favini languishes in 27th place at the end of tonight. An impressively consistent 2,3,1 scoreline from Carlo Fracassoli on Gullisara sees in him top the leaderboard, with a 12 point advantage over fellow countryman Andrea Raccheli on Altea, who chalked up a 4,2,12 tally for the day. With a 11,7,2 score for the day, yet another Italian, Alberto Bolzan on Saetta, holds the final podium place after the first three races.

Leading the all amateur Corinthian Division and lying in fourth place in the overall standings is Estonian Tonu Toniste on Lenny. Toniste holds a slender one point Corinthian margin over Norway's Oyvind Peder Jahre on Storm Capital Sail Racing, who is also well placed in the overall fleet, lying in eighth place tonight. Rounding out the Corinthian Division top three at the end of day 1 is Estonia's Tiit Vihul on Rock City.

With a solid 13-15 knot breeze blowing out on the racecourse from early morning, racing on day one of the Böklunder Melges 24 European Championship got underway bang on time. Sweden's John-Christian Eriksson on TAR - Team Aqua Racing blitzed off the start line to lead the fleet at the first windward mark, from Flavio Favini on Blu Moon in second and Peder Nergaard on Blow - Henri Lloyd in third. By the leeward gate Favini was pushing hard for the lead and by the second windward mark he had taken a firm control of the race. With the wind increasing to 16-18 knots, on the final run leg Favini and Blu Moon turned on the afterburners and gave the fleet a masterclass in high speed downwind Melges 24 sailing. At the finish they took the gun by nearly a minute from second placed Carlo Fracassoli on Gullisara, who had also opened up a significant lead on third placed Eriksson who came home comfortably in third.

The breeze had increased a little more by the second race of the day which, got away at the second time of asking after an initial general recall. At the windward mark, Fracassoli led, with Favini in second and Nergaard in third. As the breeze began to flick around a little, the first downwind leg was all about staying in the maximum pressure. Favini sailed another great leg to take the lead, rounding the leeward gate ahead of Andrea Racchlli on Altea who had leapfrogged up into second, ahead of Nergaard in third. Favini and Racchelli remained unchallenged for the rest of the race to take first and second respectively, with Fracassoli making a remarkable comeback from ninth at the leeward gate to take third by the finish.

Taking full advantage of the still freshening breeze Principal Race Officer Hank Stuart, rolled almost immediately into the start of the third and final race of the day. A general recall on the first attempt resulted in the second start getting away under I & Z penalty flags. Six boats were called OCS with two failing to return, including Favini. At the top mark the leader was Norway's Oyvind Peder Jahre on Storm Capital Sail Racing, with Nergaard in second, Favini in third and Fracassoli in close behind in fourth. By the bottom of the run Jahre still led, but behind him was a full on battle for second place between Fracassoli, Favini and Alberto Bolzan on Saetta. By the second weather mark Favini had hit the front yet again, with Fracassoli winning the scramble for second ahead of Jahre in third. With Favini and Fracassoli cruising to first and second respectively at the finish, Jahre had to nurse his boat downwind having broken the backstay rounding the second windward mark. Remarkably, despite having to sail almost dead downwind with the boom sheeted hard in the middle of the boat in order to keep the mast up, Jahre allowed only Norway's Christoffer Sunby on Aloha past him. At the line Sunby took third and a relieved Jahre fourth.

So, at the end of Day 1 of the Böklunder Melges 24 European Championship and with three races completed, Carlo Fracassoli leads the championship with a total of six points. Second overall is Andrea Racchelli on Altea with 18 points. Two points behind in third is Alberto Bolzan on Saetta. Leading the all amateur Corinthian Division is Tonu Toniste on Lenny, who also lies in fourth place in the overall standings. One Corinthian point behind in second is Oyvind Peder Jahre on Storm Capital Sail Racing who also sits in eighth overall, with the final Corinthian podium place at the end of day 1 going to Estonia's Tiit Vihul on Rock City, who also holds ninth overall. Racing continues tomorrow 25 July with two more races scheduled and a forecast of lighter conditions for the second day of the Championship.

Results after 3 Races


1st Carlo Fracassoli ITA 803 Gullisara 2,3,1 = 6
2nd Andrea Racchelli ITA 735 Altea 4,2,12 = 18
3rd Alberto Bolzan ITA 716 Saetta 11,7,2 = 20
4th Tonu Toniste EST 790 LENNY 6,17,7 = 30
5th Kan Yamada JPN 809 Bros. 10,15,6 = 31

Corinthian Division:

1st Tonu Toniste EST 790 Lenny 2,4,2, = 8
2nd Oyvind Peder Jahre NOR 751 Storm Capital Sail Racing 7,1,1, = 9
3rd Tiit Vihul EST 761 Rock City 1,8,6, = 15
4th AUT 681 Franz Urlesberger Schoenherr 11,2,3 = 16
5th Jonas Berntsson SWE 666 Miss Devil Jonas Berntsson 9,3,4 = 16

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