Hyeres – It was 2009 when a large Melges 24 fleet was sailing in Hyeres to fight for the European Championship, something that will happen again at the end of the upcoming summer (September 2nd to 9th), when the International Melges 24 specialists will cross the bows in the same waters to fight for the same title. The initial Early Bird entry deadline for the 2016 Melges 24 Europeans is in two weeks, i.e. on June 1st.
We know that in 2009 the strong battle was going on between two Italian teams and the winner was Lorenzo Santini’s Uka Uka Racing, with three times Melges 24 World Champion Lorenzo Bressani at the helm. Uka Uka preceded the runner up Maurizio Abba’s Alina, steered by a young and promising Niccolò Bianchi.
Going deeper in the memory we remember that also in 2006 the fans of the International Melges 24 Class Association (IM24CA) were keeping the focus of attention on Hyeres. In fact, in the middle of that summer, another Italian crew, Bete Bossini with Nicola Celon at the helm and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Alberto Bolzan calling tactics, won the Melges 24 World Championship, and when on the final day of racing the crew was wearing the Italian soccer team shirts to honor and celebrate the recent victory of Italia in the FIFA World Cup.
All this happened a while ago, but we are ready to feel again the emotions provided by the Melges 24 fleet sailing in some strong Mistral under the organization of the COYCH, world famous organizer of numerous really important dinghy events.
The Melges 24 community is happily looking forward to the European Championship 2016 as the highlight of the 2016 sailing series in Europe. Michael Good, Member Europe of the International Melges 24 Class Association’s Executive Committee had a lot of good memories to share: “So many times Hyères has proven itself as the perfect venue for Melges 24 racing. Most of us may still remember the amazing competitions at the Worlds in 2006 and Europeans in 2009 where the famous bay of Hyères supported the fleet with a great breeze, lots of sunshine and t-shirt sailing conditions. Now it’s time to face the 2016 European Championships in Hyères as a reissue of the successful Melges 24 events we already have had there.”
The entry list of the upcoming European Championship is now composed by more than 40 crews equally divided between Corinthian (professionals not allowed in team) and professional teams. Among the front runners there are Italian Andrea Racchelli’s Altea, runner up of the last Melges 24 World Championship; Estonian Tõnu Tõniste’s Lenny, winner of the Melges 24 Corinthian World Championship in 2015 and European Championship 2014; Miles Quinton’s Gill Race Team from the Great Britain with Geoff Carveth at the helm, winner of the 2015 Melges 24 European Sailing Series and the fifth at the 2015 Worlds; and two strong and competitive Norwegian entries Storm Capital Sail Racing, owned by Oyvind Jahre, and Blow-Slam Racing, owned by Peder Nergaard. See the current entry list.
Michael Good sailing with his Swiss team Cinghi-Aile in the top of the Corinthian fleet is encouraging Melges 24 sailors not to miss this wonderful event: “Today we have an entry list of forty-two teams out of thirteen nations, which is quite nice result so far but we definitely will see this growing shortly. Decide to register now and take advantage from the Early Bird Entry Fee deadline. It is for sure better to save some money and rather spend it for a wonderful time at the numerous restaurants alongside Hyères waterfront after racing. I hope everyone makes their way to Hyères. See you there soon!”
All teams planning to enter and want to take advantage of the early entry discount need to take action and make their entry at the event website. Competitors who have already made their entry but not yet paid their entry fee are reminded that they need to make their payments before 1st June to avoid paying the 30% late entry fee. Read for more at the event website.
The 2016 Melges 24 European Championship 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 online entry, the Notice of Race and other information about the venue are available at melges24.com/europeans2016