The town of Torbole welcomed the Melges 24 fleet to their 2001 European Championship in a moving ceremony held at the Town Quay this evening.
Formalities opened with welcome speaches in Italian and English from the Mayor of Torbole, the Commodore of the Circolo Vela Torbole and the Italian Regional Sports Minister.
International Melges 24 Class Association Vice President Christian Roman then made a special presentation to the Melges Class from the friends and family of World Champion Giorgio Zuccoli. Giorgio's widow Christiana and his crew commissioned both a perpetual European Championship Trophy and a very special Memorial Sculpture to Giorgio which will travel to future Melges 24 Continental and World Championships keeping his spirit alive. In presenting the Trophy and Memorial to the class Christian paid tribute to Giorgio whose long battle against cancer was finally lost in March of this year and whose spirit, skill and style represented the very best in Melges sailing. Giorgio made an enormous contribution to the Melges class both on the race course and in promoting the boat to new sailors. He was personally responsible for bringing this event to Lake Garda and is very much in everyone's thoughts as we look forward to the first European Championship in which he will not race.
Following the formalities crews enjoyed a wonderful open air party which featured a jazz band and local wines, meats and cheeses and gave everyone a chance to catch up on that all essential gossip. Racing commences at 1pm tomorrow and we will bring you all the latest news and results as they happen.