2012 Melges 24 World Championship - Last Hours Of Quiet Before The Battle Begins

29 July 2012

With the end of the last practice race, the official training for the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship, organised by Circolo Vela Torbole and the International Melges 24 Class Association, is complete.

The 129 boats, representing 22 Countries and 4 Continents, were able to familiarise themselves with the race course and the unique features of Garda Trentino. The practise days have been useful to allow the teams to refine their tunings, to completing the measurement procedures and to start to build the adrenaline, which will hit its first high when the crews leave the dock tomorrow morning to begin the chase for points to count towards the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship.

The action will begin in earnest at noon tomorrow with the first of the opening day's two planned races. The schedule allows for a total of twelve races with the series being split into an initial six race round robin series, where the fleet will be split into four groups with each group racing the others twice. Once the sixth race has been sailed a discard will be allowed and the points awarded so far will define the Gold and Silver Fleet. With the fleet then split into Gold and Silver six more races are scheduled to decide both the Overall title and the equally prestigious Corinthian champion.

Victory in the Melges 24 World Championship is already recognised as one of the most prestigious achievements possible in keelboat sailing: the Melges 24 World Championship 2012 sets new records and the numbers prove it. At last night's beautiful opening ceremony, the Chairman of the International Class, Riccardo Simoneschi, underlined the record entry saying, "I think the record numbers of the entry list are the best response to the choice of Torbole as venue of the Melges 24 Worlds 2012. The effort of the Circolo Vela Torbole and the unprecedented enthusiasm of the owners have turned this event into one of the leading ISAF regattas for 2012".

Simoneschi, who concluded his speech by thanking everyone involved in planning the regatta, encouraged all the competitors to show the best of their abilities in one of the most beautiful one design boats in the world.

Opening the ceremony was Gianfranco Tonelli, President of the Circolo Vela Torbole, who then handed over to Ennio Bertolini, the mayor of Nago Torbole, to welcome the competitors to the region. Chairman of the Race Committee, Hank Stuart, then took the stage together with the technical staff that will help him to manage the sporting event.

Finally, after a sumptuous buffet accompanied by fine wines offered by TrentoDoc, the nearly one thousand in attendance enjoyed a breathtaking fireworks show: twenty-five minutes of fireworks, shot from a barge moored off Torbole's front water, were framed by the more than one hundred masts of the Melges 24 fleet floating in Circolo Vela Torbole.

Tonight the Race Committee will announce the draw to define the four groups for the round robin series. And following this no doubt discussion over dinner will be all about the tactical considerations and those thoughts typical of sailors on the eve of a truly special regatta.

Events like the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship are not possible without the most generous support of the event sponsors led by the Municipality of Comune di Nago Torbole and including the Regional Authority of Trentino; TrentoDoc, partner of Circolo Vela Torbole whose excellent selection of sparkling wines will be enjoyed by all; Trentingrana, whose cheese is made using milk exclusively from the Trentino area; InGarda, the touristic company supporting visitors to Lark Garda; and technical sailing clothing supplier Marinepool.

Organised by Circolo Vela Torbole in collaboration with the International Melges 24 Class Association, the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship will count a maximum of twelve races, with up to three daily races. Five races are required to made the event valid, although the famous weather conditions, typical of the northern Garda, should make this rule unnecessary.

How to follow the Melges 24 World Championship 2012
Event Website - www.melges24worldchampionship.com
International Melges 24 Class Website - www.melges24.com
Images - official photographer Pierrick Contin - www.pierrickcontin.fr

Updated on daily basis will be also the IMCA's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/IM24CA) on which will be posted the daily highlights and the interviews made by Zerogradinord, in charge of the media content of the event.

The event will also be followed via Facebook (www.facebook.com/World.of.Melges24) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/Melges_24), where the updates will be in real time.