The third stage of the 2017 Melges 20 World League European Division was victorious for three Russian teams. Zadar (Croatia) hosted this regatta and shifty winds and complicated weather conditions made the fight for the podium more exciting than ever.
Fourteen Russian teams among thirty-four competitors from ten different countries were battling in the Adriatic Sea from 9 to 11 June. The weather shifted from the breeze of 12 knots to completely calm sea, the fight was at its peak!
Both weather and Pirogovo team of Alexander Ezhkov were amazing the first day: during three races the 1-2-1 result gave Alexander 7 points and he became an unquestionable leader of the preliminary rankings. Polish crew Mag Tiny and its skipper Krzysztof Krempec came in second, right before another Russian team of Vladimir Prosikhin Nika.
Second racing day of the Melges 20 World League European Division gave us three more races and it meant the discard of the worst result for every team. Russians were on top again, taking four out of five top places, only Polish Krempec was allowed to join them.
The drama was real: Ezhkov remained in the first position, Prosikhin moved up to the second instead of Krempec. Igor Rytov’s Russian Bogatyrs closed the leading trio that day, rising from the nineteenth position to third with 6-1-5 results. He also remains the overall leader of the 2017 Melges 20 World League Ranking.
"We were quite depressed after the first day," says Igor Rytov, "With our results we were nineteenth. However, the second day was with stronger and more stable wind, so we improved a lot!"
After the second racing day, Krzysztof Krempec’s Mag Tiny was in the fourth position and Oleg Evdokimenko’s Kotyara, another Russian crew, on the fifth.
Everyone was waiting for the last day; teams were closer to each other than ever, mistakes were not allowed. There were more teams fighting for the podium. Besides the already-mentioned Russian trio, for the medals of the Melges 20 World League in Zadar were battling Krzysztof Krempec’s Mag Tiny, Oleg Evdokimenko’s Kotyara, Rodney Jones’ Cars 167 and Valentin Zavadnikov's Synergy GT. Jan Kuchar’s Aloha disrupted plans of other teams a little bit as well, finishing first in the Race 4 (even though they did not rise higher than the eleventh position after the first day).
However, the last day of the third stage of the Melges 20 World League in Zadar was not a racing day. The Racing Committee gave a start for the Race 7, but the shifty and weak wind did not want to cooperate. Results stayed the same as before.
"We were racing with light winds," shared Vladimir Prosikhin, "It was quite complicated, with huge gaps. On the first day we were waiting till the wind was stable for two hours and overall spend on the water about seven hours. And on the last day, even though we waited, it was all for nothing. After one try to start the race, the set was over than 45 degrees, and the race was rightfully canceled. The lighter the crew the faster you could go this time. Pirogovo had that advantage, we were a bit heavier. But Russian Bogatyrs were also amazing in these shifty conditions. I’m very glad to see the podium of Russian teams!"
Third Act of the Melges 20 World League European Division ended with the complete victory of Russian teams. The champion in Zadar is Alexander Ezhkov’s Pirogovo with Danila Odintsov and Alexander Ekimov in his team. Second overall is Vladimir Prosikhin’s Nika with Giorgio Tortarolo and Michele Ivaldi. Russian Bogatyrs of Igor Rytov, Konstantin Besputin, and Anton Sergeev closed the triumphing trio.
All prize winners were testing new Quantum Sails on the third stage of the Melges 20 World League in Europe.
The next Act of the Melges 20 World League will be held in Newport, USA, on July 7 – 9. However, it’s not a goodbye for Europe! July 12 – 15 in Sibenik, Croatia, the Melges 20 European Championship will be organized.