Melges 24 European Championship 2022
Forty entries from 14 countries raced for the title held by incumbent European Champion Andrea Racchelli from Italy on his Altea, who is also former National Champion and current Chairman of the Italian Melges 24 Class Association.
High-profile sailors from Italy were Marcello Caldonazzo on Gilles, Pietro D’Ali’ on Arvedi and Paolo Brescia on Melgina (and winner of last year’s Melges 24 European Sailing Series); Olympians Michele Paoletti and Giovanna Micol on Strambapapà and Marco Zammarchi on Taki 4, helmed by Niccolò Bertola, a former Corinthian World Champion; and last but not least, Italy’s Alessandro Rombelli on Stig crewed by Olympian Matteo Ivaldi and America’s Cup sailor Massimo Gherarducci.
Crews from other countries included Michael Goldfarb and 2015 World Champion Chris Rast from the USA on WarCanoe, and Germany’s Peter Karrie with Niccolò Bianchi on board of Nefeli (the best European yacht at the 2022 World Championship in Ft. Lauderdale). Conspicuous for his absence was Estonian Tõnu Tõniste, incumbent European Champion (Corinthians) on his Lenny, thus paving the way to other top entries in the Corinthians category: Croatians Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic on Universitas Nova and Ante Botica on Mataran 24, Italy’s Marco Cavallini on Jeco Team (3rd-place at last year’s European Championship in Portorose), Miles Quinton from the United Kingdom on Gill Race Team helmed by Geoff Carveth, Michael Tarabochia from Germany on White Room, and Hungary’s Akos Csolto on their brand-new Chinook.
The event started October 24 with a warm-up race followed by ten rounds, with the worst result after round 5 to be discarded. Fair weather conditions enabled the Racing Committee to complete nine rounds, with racing abandoned on the last day due to lack of wind.
Michele Paoletti on Strambapapà was crowned European Champion and the 2nd place Ante Botica on Mataran 24became the new Champion in the Corinthians category. Yacht Club Italiano (YCI) Member Paolo Brescia on his Melgina joined them on the podium. Hungary’s Akos Csolto on Chinook and Germany’s Michael Tarabochia on White Room followed in 4th and 5th place, respectively.
Gerolamo “Gigio” Bianchi, President of Yacht Club Italiano, could hardly conceal his pride for the club’s ending to the 2022 Sailing Season with such a high-profile event, which included three entries flying the YCI burgee.
Piero Andolina, Vice President (Europe) for the International Melges 24 Class Association, also racing on his Magica, openly praised YCI for its spotless organisation and sailing-tradition-rich Genova as an ideal site for the event.
The International Melges 24 Class Association, the Melges 24 Italian Class, Regione Liguria, and the Genoa City Council headed by keen sailor and YCI Member Marco Bucci, Mayor, as well as Technical Partners B&G and North Sails, were thanked by YCI for their valuable contribution to the success of the event.