Slovenia's Bostjan ANTONCIC, Gennadi STRAKH and Karlo HMELJAK are the 2008 Soling World Champions after winning a closely fought series in Scarlino, Italy.
The Slovenian team with Bostjan ANTONCIC at the helm, Gennadi STRAKH middleperson and Karlo HMELJAK as bowman were crowned Soling World Champions following the final race of the series last Thursday. Argentineans Gustavo WARBURG, Hernan CELEDONI and Maximo SMITH finished second overall ahead of their compatriots Martin BUSCH, Tomas PEUVREL and Maximo FELDTMANN (ARG) who took the bronze medal. Best of the home Italian teams were the MAFFEZZOLI brothers, Bruno, Pierfrancesco and Marco, who finished 18th in the 40-boat fleet.
With nine races out of nine completed, the Soling World Championship held at La Marina di Scarlino came to a close on Thursday. Slovenians ANTONCIC, STRAH and HMELJAK were consistent in their results throughout the whole championship (2, 14, 6, 1, 9, 5, 1, 3, 6) and conquered the title after having won the European Championship in 2007. WARBURG and his Edding team with CELEDONI and SMITH were close on their heels, but ANTONCIC managed to keep the Argentineans in check with two bullets and two seconds spots. The Argentinean Skandia team formed by BUSCH, PREUVEL and FELDTMANN conquered third place on the podium. Hungarian George WOSSALA finished in fourth place and German Thomas MASCHKIVITZ was fifth overall.
The 40 crews from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, the USA and Italy raced in a very technically challenging race course. The Race Committee, headed by Luigi CUCCOTTI and Carlo TOSI, was able to carry out all of the nine scheduled races over a five day period. Sailors faced all kinds of weather, from rough seas with 15-25 knots of wind from the south, to sunny fall days with the local 10-20 knot northwesterly Maestrale to finish off in a light 8-12 knot southwesterly breeze. These conditions truly highlighted the true qualities and strength of Soling yachts, a class that featured at the Olympic Games between 1997 and 2000.
Newcomer to the class Swiss Enrik DANNESBOE finished sixth overall and won race two with his new Borresen Soling built in Argentina, one of the three new boats that sailed in the Scarlino World Championship. Hungarian WOSSALA and German Roman KOCH also competed with new Borrensen boats. Individual races were won by German Marine Pool Team with KOCH, Maximiilan KOCH and Gregor BORNEMANN, who then finished the Championship in ninth position overall, and by the other German team helmed by Karl HAIST (11th overall).
The classic boat award was won by USA 853, helmed by Matias COLLINS with Enrique MICH and Spanish Jaime MARTINEZ, who is also a newcomer to the class and new boat owner whose goal is build a Soling fleet in Spain once again and will keep his boat in Barcelona. The Paul Elvstrom Trophy for the best under 18 helmsman went to Austrian Stephan GLANZ (AUT 114, 12th overall) A big welcome from the class also goes to Portuguese sailor Antonio TANGER, who bring this nation back into the Soling family after many years.
Over 200 visitors enjoyed the landscape and hospitality of the Maremma region in Tuscany and it's quaint medieval towns of Scarlino, Massa Marittima and Castiglione della Pescaia. The next race scheduled at La Marina di Scarlino is the VI edition of the Cook & Sail, a competition where sailing and culinary skills come together.
The Soling World Championship has been organized by the Club Nautico Scarlino, in collaboration with the International Soling Association, the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV) and the committee Circoli Velici della Costa Etrusca. The event has the patronage and support of the Province of Grosseto, the Municipality of Scarlino, La Marina di Scarlino and Consorzio Etruria.
Results - click here