Italy's Nicola Celon wins Melges 24 class at SNIM @ Valencia Sailing
Sixty Melges 24 teams from 12 countries across Europe and Scandinavia took part in the four day SNIM Regatta over the Easter Weekend in Marseille France. The event provided a variety of conditions and some incredibly close racing for this first regatta in the Melges 24 European Ranking Series 2006. After ten tough races it was Italy's Nicola Celon helming Bete for Amadori Ezio who took the laurels from Benjamin Cohen of Monaco sailing Sogeti Transiciel. The French Partner & Partners crew of Philippe Ligot with helm Francois Brenac took third with John Pollard's Excellent from the UK in fourth.Racing opened on Friday in moderate conditions. The first race start was heavily pin biased but very soon after the start the right got all the pressure and a big starboard lift. Downwind it was death to gybe early as all the pressure was now towards the shore. The second race was even more pin biased and the further left you went the better it got, although later in the race it became somewhat processional. By the end of the first day Maurizio Abba's Italian crew aboard Alina were leading from Franco Rossini of Switzerland aboard Blu Moon with helm Chris Rase and local boy Paul Maxime sailing Marseille Big Ship Quantum who shared second place.Photo copyright: Société Nautique de MarseilleRandom was the word for day two when three races were sailed in winds up to 20 knots and as low as 5 knots. In race three the trick was to hit the left hand shore as hard as possible upwind. Downwind the shore paid again big time as boats on the left who had initially looked good ran out of pressure. Next time round those in the wide awake club gybed before reaching the shore and made huge gains. The good guys hit the shore again on the first beat of race four, but downwind a huge squall on the right caught out some of the leaders who found themselves stranded in light airs on the right. For race five a shift in the final minute of the sequence gave a massive pin bias. Downwind the breeze became more and more random with some boats becalmed and some full planing. Things got worse on the second beat with the whole left and middle of the course down to a few knots and the boats on the right fully hiked. The race team took pity on the fleet and shortened at the end of the second beat. After five races Bete had slipped into the lead with Partner & Partners second and Sogeti Transiciel third.Photo copyright: Société Nautique de MarseilleOn day three the PRO showed her class by holding her nerve to wait over two hours for a sea breeze to develop. When it did it was a pleasant 15 knots producing planing conditions downwind and sloppy wave patterns upwind. For race six the starboard end was busy and several boats bailed out at the last minute to avoid rafting. A ... <a href="http://valenciasailing.blogspot.com/2006/04/italys-nicola-celon-wins-melges-24.html">Direct Link</a> <p><a href="http://www.sailr.com/news21071.html">Comments</a></p>
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