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5 September 2001, 09:51 am
Rain Delays Play in Torbole
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photo:IMCA/Fiona Brown

Melges 24 European Championship
Torbole, Lake Garda

Racing was delayed for several hours at the Melges 24 Europeans in Torbole today. Crews sat ashore enjoying an unexpected pasta lunch while 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 9th, 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 9th 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 3rd. 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 and with more light and difficult conditions forecast for tomorrow an early night is on the cards for the leading teams.

Overall Results After 3 Races:

1 FRA383 Cedric Pouligny (3,5,5) 25.7 pts
2 FRA388 Laurent Pages (15,1,3) 26.7 pts
3 GER507 Alba Batzill (2,21,2) 33 pts
4 ITA139 Mario Zilliani (10,8,1) 38 pts
5 GBR405 Rob Smith (1,6,28) 45.7 pts
6 SUI483 Flavio Favini (5,4,24) 48 pts
7 ITA438 Andrea Rachelli (19,3,18) 54.7 pts
8 GBR437 Jamie Lea (14,9,15) 56 pts
=9 NOR341 Erik Arther (4,31,8) 59 pts
=9 FRA369 Olivier Ducelier (20,14,7) 59 pts

Fiona Brown/News Editor
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