There is just one day until the Melges 24 European Sailing Series returns for 2017 with Act 1 in Portorož. The first stop on a six-leg tour will see 33 teams representing 15 nations competing on the Slovenian waters as they start their season-long campaigns to claim the coveted title, currently held by Gill Race Team in the Corinthian division and Altea in the 2016 overall standings.
“This is the fourth year the European Series has come to Portorož and this time we were committed to boost our international appeal. Therefore, we are especially delighted that such a large number of sailors from across Europe and even USA will be racing with us and we offer all of the crews a very warm welcome to the Yachting Club Portorož,” says Branko Parunov, co-chairman of the organising committee.
Wide geography of the participants will make the regatta truly international and a fierce competition can be foreseen. One of the strongest contenders for the top spot is certainly the 2016 overall winner Andrea Racchelli (ITA), who will be helming Claudio Ceradini’s boat under the familiar name Altea. Chasing them hard will be David Rowen’s Imagine with Melges 24 stalwart Jamie Lea calling the tactics.
In the Corinthian division both the 2016 Corinthian World Champion Taki 4 (ITA) headed by Niccolo Bertola and Worlds’ second Corinthian team Lenny (EST) are vying for the class honors. In addition, 2016 series’ Corinthian winner Gill Race Team, Michael Tarabochia’s White Room (GER) and Oleg Dyvinets’ Marusia (UKR) are guaranteed to add the heat to the mix.
The proof that Melges 24 routinely attracts world’s best sailors from different disciplines is the addition of respected match race sailor Joachim Aschenbrenner, currently 11th in the World ranking, to the Danish team Upupup, and Jan Mattsson from Finland, who is staying on board of Mimosa for the second season in a row.
Ashore the competitors will have plenty to keep them entertained with parties every night. Particular thanks must go to event sponsors Casino Portorož who will host a Welcome Party for all the participants on Friday evening, and Marina Portorož, who will spoil the sailors with a delicious gala dinner on Saturday.
The action is scheduled to get underway at 12:00 local time on Friday 21 April, with open water racing in front of the picturesque backdrop of medieval Piran.