The opening day of the Melges 24 Europeans in Torbole produced two fantastic races in near perfect sailing conditions and glorious sunshine.
Race one started in around 8 knots with the right hand side of the course paying up the first beat. Alba Batzill, helming for Vittorio Strosek, led into the first mark with Cedric Pouligny, Erik Arther, Rob Smith, helming for Paul Lovejoy and Nick Ide, and Favio Favini in the pack on his tail. Batzill held his lead into the first leeward mark but up the second beat Herman Horn Johannessen took off for the left cliff and came out with a generous lead. Johannessen held his lead for the rest of the race whilst the pack thrashed it out behind him, but at the line he was shocked to get no finish gun and subsequently discovered he was OCS. As a result Smith took first place with Batzill second, Pouligny third, Arther fourth and IMS World Champion Favio Favini fifth.
Smith was delighted with their win as the team has never sailed together before, even to practise. Owner Paul Lovejoy has been away from sailing for 18 months following a major back operation, co-owner Nick Ide has only said twice in the last year and fourth man Chris Quentin has also been out of sailing for a prolonged period.