Light, tricky conditions on Lake Garda caused a change round in results leaving the French at the top of the fleet

Racing was delayed for several hours at the Melges 24 Europeans in Torbole yesterday (4 September, 2001). Crews sat ashore enjoying an unexpected pasta lunch will they watched the torrential rain and waited for wind. Eventually the race committee was able to complete just one race in 5-8 knots of wind.

The first attempt to start was recalled but at their second try the fleet got away cleanly. The right-hand side of the first beat was the place to be and Mario Zilliani knew it. Helming for Preti Adriano aboard ITA139, the boat with which the legendary Giorgio Zuccoli had so much success, Zilliani got a great start and was obviously at home at the front of the fleet. By the second weather mark he had stretched out his impressive lead and was never challenged.

Alba Batzill, helming for Vittorio Strosek, also got a great start and chose the right coming in to the first mark in second place just ahead of the leading pack. Thierry Berger rounded third followed by Erik Arther, Olivier Ducelier, Tom Freytag and Michael Henning. Of the overnight leaders Cedric Pouligny was best placed in ninth place, Laurent Pages was down in 17th and Rob Smith, Silvio Santoni and Flavio Favini were well buried in the middle of the fleet.

Pages dug in hard and ground his way back up the fleet to achieve a very impressive third behind Batzill. Thierry Berger sailed consistently throughout the race to finish fourth while Pouligny was able to climb up to fifth, just enough to give him the overall lead one point ahead of Pages.

Success story of the day came from one of the youngest helmsmen in the event, Michael Henning, sailing with his father Simon and a their crew from Guernsey. This is Michael’s first Melges Championship so he was delighted with a ninth place. Bad luck story of the day had to be Santoni who never recovered from his lousy start and first beat, ending up 53rd which pushed him down to 16th overall from third. Favini and Smith also had disappointing days finishing 24th and 28th respectively.

Going into the third day the event is still completely open. Pouligny is the only sailor not counting a result in the teens or worse.

Overall Results (after three races)

1st FRA383, Cedric Pouligny (3,5,5) 25.7pts

2nd FRA388, Laurent Pages (15,1,3) 26.7pts

3rd GER507, Alba Batzill (2,21,2) 33pts

4th ITA139, Mario Zilliani (10,8,1) 38pts

5th GBR405, Rob Smith (1,6,28) 45.7pts

6th SUI483, Flavio Favini (5,4,24) 48pts

7th ITA438, Andrea Rachelli (19,3,18) 54.7pts

8th GBR437, Jamie Lea (14,9,15) 56pts

9th equal NOR341, Erik Arther (4,31,8) 59pts

9th equal FRA369, Olivier Ducelier (20,14,7) 59pts