Malcesine – Last weekend, on May 19-21, the Italian Melges 24 Tour 2023 made its debut in Malcesine, a world-famous location as the venue for the main regattas involving the fastest and most performing boats: Melges24, Moth, 69F etc. Regatta in Malcesine was valid also for the ranking of the Melges 24 European Sailing Series 2023.
Melges 24 teams from Austria, Estonia, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and USA gathered to compete in Malcesine. The event on Lake Garda was organized and hosted by the Fraglia Vela Malcesine together with Melges 24 Italian Class Association.
The first regatta day on Friday started with the sad and sudden news of the Legend, Buddy Melges passing away at age 93. The sailors remembered and honoured him with a minute of silence at the Skippers Briefing being humbled and thankful for his unmeasurable legacy and giving us the best performance boat ever – MELGES 24.
The unstable and unusual weather, ruling now in the South of Europe, did not allow delivery of any races on the first day of the event in Malcesine. The wind did not play into the cards of Melges 24 fleet on Day One. The Race Committee was forced to send the boats ashore due to a lack of wind.
For Saturday, the start of racing was planned for 9 am. And it turned out to be a great day of racing for the Melges 24 class. The northern wind Peler blew since the early hours with an average intensity of 18 knots with gusts between 23 and 24 knots. Several wind shifts and random pressure drops due to rain around the course made difficult the work of tacticians. The high level of the competitors made the races very spectacular. At 12:51 the RC Boat signalled no more races for today and all Melges 24s moved to the shore after four nice races.
A morning of spectacular weather conditions, with a Peler between 21 and 23 knots maximum, allowed the Race Committee to complete three more races on Sunday. On the final day, the cards were shuffled in the fleet. After Saturday’s provisional second place, the team of Michael Goldfarb’s War Canoe(USA), skippered by Christopher Rast, climbed the leaderboard and declared themselves overall winners, followed by their compatriots Dark Energy skippered by Laura Grondin. Andrea Racchelli’s Altea (ITA) completed the overall podium.
Like a few weeks ago at the first event of the European Sailing Series in Portoroz, Lenny of Tõnu Tõniste (EST), wins the Corinthian division, followed by Michael Tarabochia’s White Room (GER) with Luis Tarabochia at the helm in second, and Miles Quinton’s Gill Race Team (GBR) skippered by Geoff Carveth in third.
Winning the regatta in Malcesine, the helmsman of War Canoe Chris Rast was overwhelmingly happy: “On my birthday I have much to be grateful for. Fraglia Vela Malcesine for putting on a great event, Michael Goldfarb for allowing us to use his fast boat, and the War Canoe team for well put together boat. I was very excited to sail once again with my wife at the bow, a special birthday win for both of us.
We were fortunate to have not only local, but great sailors Carlo Zermini & Lorenzo Mantu Azzi join us on board, helping us get around the racecourse in good fashion. Our tactician this weekend was Nic Zeltner, his first time sailing the Melges 24, and he hopes it will not be his last.
Thank you to the regatta team and all of the competitors, this truly is the best fleet in the world. If you are not having fun match racing up the second beat of the last race and winning the regatta by a boat length at the finish, you are doing it wrong.
Thank you to the Late Buddy Melges and his family for the years of fun we have had around the world!”
Corinthian division winner Tõnu Tõniste, skipper of Lenny was happy too: “The weather was a bit rainy and cool here, and we got races in two days only with an early morning start, but all the races were in strong winds and Saturday was even a bit rough. On the second day, we felt more at home and were able to race steadily in the lead. There were a bit few boats, but the competition was very strong, and the racing was exciting. It was a much-needed event and practice for Lenny’s team to be stronger at the World Championships in Middelfart in June!”
Both teams are next heading to the Melges 24 most important event of the year – the World Championship in Middelfart, Denmark, to be held on June 24 to July 1. Both skippers – Chris Rast and Tõnu Tõniste – were the 2015 World Champions (overall and Corinthian), when the event was also held in Middelfart. This year Chris will support Michael Goldfarb and the team of War Canoe, while Tõnu is sailing still with his legendary team of Lenny, with only one difference in the crew of 2015 Middelfart.
Top 5 teams in Malcesine (7 races sailed, 1 discard)
1. WARCANOE USA825 Christopher Rast – 11
2. DARK ENERGY USA864 Laura Grondin – 13
3. ALTEA ITA722 Andrea Racchelli – 17
4. LENNY EST790 (COR) Tõnu Tõniste – 19
5. WHITE ROOM GER677 (COR) Luis Tarabochia – 29