With a record breaking 94 entries from 12 nations the 2001 Melges 24 European Championship, to be run on Lake Guarda, Italy from 30 August to 7 September, promises to be one of the most exciting regattas taking place in Europe this year.
The entry list includes Vince Brun, Laurent Pages, Jamie Lee, Keith Musto, Markus Wieser, Herman Jorn Johannessen, Kristian Nergaard and Kenneth Thelen. Lee and Pages are currently tied at the top of the Melges 24 World Ranking lists whilst Brun returns to the class after an Olympic Star campaign and winning the 2000 Etchells World Championship. Twice a past winner of the Melges 24 Worlds Brun has his sights set on a third World title and is using the Europeans as part of his training for the 2001 event which take place in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, from November 8-17.
A number of top Italian sailors are also competing including Flavio Favini, recent winner of the 50" World Championship with "BravaQ8", whose tactician for Torbole is Tizzano Nava, tactician for the Italian America's Cup Team Azzurra and Pietrino Dali, a past Star European Champion and Italian Star class representative in Sydney as well as mainsail trimmer on "Luna Rossa".
In order to accommodate the exceptional number of boats the Circolo Vela Torbole has been working closely with IMCA Vice Chairman and current European Champion, Christian Roman, to ensure that both race management and shore side support meet the class's exacting requirements. Among the many new facilities being installed specially for this regatta is a new marina allowing all the boats to be moored together at the yacht club.
One face that will sadly be missing from this year's event is current World Champion and past European Champion Giorgio Zuccoli, who finally lost his long battle with cancer earlier this year. To honour this great sailor Giorgio's family have commissioned a fabulous new European Championship Perpetual Trophy which will be awarded to the overall European Champion for the first time in Torbole. In addition to the new European Trophy another exciting new prize will be presented for the first time - for the youngest crew taking part in the event
Sailing will commence on Sunday 2 September with a practise race while the twelve race championship series commences on Monday 3 September and oncludes on Friday 7 September.