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Melges 24 European Championship 2021 - The wait is over

by International Melges 24 Class Association 6 Sep 19:55 BST 4-11 September 2021

After a two-years hiatus in the title events, the International Melges 24 Class Association (IM24CA) is holding the European Championship with Marina Portoroz's support and organization by the Yacht Club Marina Portoroz in Slovenia.

A total of 40 entries from 14 nations, including 26 Corinthian teams, are registered for competing for Melges 24 European Champion titles. Much coveted Giorgio Zuccoli Trophy and the Menno Meyer Corinthian European Trophy have been in hold of the reigning European champions - Gianluca Perego's Maidollis and Marco Zammarchi's Taki 4 since August 2018. We'll see on September 11th which teams will hold the trophies on the podium in Portoroz! Racing will start on Tuesday, September 7 at 12.30, and run through Saturday 11 September.

"We are very excited to be finally back racing in a big event since 2019 Worlds," says reigning Corinthian European and World Champion Niccolo Bertola, the helm of Taki 4 from Italy. "Have been two difficult years for the entire world and for sailing too. I know Portoroz and I think it is a very good place for this Championship with a wonderful and sometimes tricky racing area. We will race this event as the reigning Corinthian World and European Champions, but this year it will be harder. I have seen a very good and trained fleet recently with many teams in a lot better shape compared to the past. We will see good battles on the water in Portoroz! We come to Portoroz with not our best performances in the last regattas, but we are ready now and are concentrated to be back!"

The International Melges 24 Class is happy to have the first major championship hosted by the International Melges 24 Class Association since Worlds in Italy in 2019 as a result of the pandemic.

"I am very excited that the Melges 24 European Championship is finally here, with 40 boats and 14 nations registered to compete in Portoroz, Slovenia," says Miles Quinton, IM24CA Vice President Europe and also 2016 Melges 24 Corinthian European Champion on Gill Race Team GBR694.

"Our experience as Gill Race Team this year is that at the start of 2021 we did not know that we would be able to sail at all let alone compete in a European Championship. However, when we arrived in Riva del Garda in June for the second European Sailing Series event we were delighted that we could sail, meet all our old friends and enjoy the breathing scenery of Garda. Now with two events completed we are looking forward to the Europeans and showing the world that Melges 24 is still the best boat, the most fiercely competed and the best fun of all!"

Anticipation builds and spirits are high here in the Marina Portoroz with the assembly of the Melges 24 fleet returning to a racing for the titles, but also to meet friends and to unite this unique class of almost 30 years old, but still in top performance shape boat.

Michael Tarabochia of German boat White Room and the Member Europe of IM24CA is happy to see, that the Melges 24 family is going to meet again in Portoroz after a long period under the dark clouds of the Covid-19 pandemic. "The professional and enthusiastic team of the Marina of Portoroz is ready and will do everything for a perfect event. The number of participants is not as high as before the pandemic, but the teams from 14 countries demonstrate that the class is alive and popular all over the Europe!"

The event will compromise five days of inshore racing, with the course set out in the picturesque bay of Piran accompanied by a great hospitality of Marina Portoroz and YC Marina Portoroz these hosts are famous for.

Entries have been drawn from Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and even from USA overseas, which promises a tremendous competition for owners and crew alike. Among the competitors there are the teams with many titles, stalwarts, family teams, returnees and newcomers - such a diverse fleet, who all respect and adore the boat and racing on it. The hull numbers in this fleet are since 006 - Davor Jelaca's Blue Label from Croatia - up to 841 - Michael Goldfarb's War Canoe from United States.

Davor Jelaca, the owner of CRO006: "Blue Label team, racing under the flag of Yacht Club Croatia, Opatija, instead of simply getting a new boat, decided to stick with the boat with the lowest hull number competing in the class. We will try to show that this old lady still has some good sides to give and possibly surprise the favourites on every opportunity she gets."

"We are looking forward to the Europeans and it is great to see so many boats from different countries. We have enjoyed this venue in the past and look forward to the tough competition," says Michael Goldfarb, the owner and helm of War Canoe.

With the Melges 24 European Championship 2021 starting in Portoroz, Slovenia tomorrow, several sailors have sent their feedback about their expectations to the event, which can be read at IM24CA website.

"I want to welcome the owners and crews and wish all of them fair winds for this special event! We are extremely happy to see and welcome all the Melges 24 sailors here in Portoroz. We have done our best that the weather will be great and sailors could enjoy and create new memories here and we would like to welcome them back any time in the future," says event manager Branko Parunov, the man who has over the last decade and longer been working tirelessly with his team to make the Melges 24 event held in Portoroz a firm favourite for the public and sailors.

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