Back to Basics


Back to Basics

There is clearly something very bizarre about Melges racing and Italy. As the rest of the world suffers, somehow the Italians continue to rack up record fleets at all major M24 events, while Melges Europe is selling Melges 20s and 32s literally faster than they can get them. We came to Torbole to see what the hell is going on; what is causing all this success for sportboat racing in southern Europe, and how can North Americans learn something about it?

The answers are coming and they’re not necessarily what you might expect, and in the meantime, we figured our Anarchist friends might like to watch some M24 racing. So we decided to give a little OTW Anarchy a shot, but without all the support and budget that we’ve become used to. Nope, we’re going back to basics:

  • No big sponsors (though Point Loma Outfitting‘s Patagonia technical shirts are heaven in this heat)
  • No special SA-TV viewer, no big money or big production
  • No big pro video camera
  • No staff of mark rounding spotters and scorers.
  • No high speed wireless on the water

Nope, just Mer and I on a little RIB, running back and forth between the course and the media office, but it should be worth it. There are an astonishing 70 boats here despite it not being a European, national or world championship; in fact, it’s hardly a serious event at all, at least judged by the attitudes of the sailors here. Everyone is mellow and enjoying themselves, ready for some fun racing and very fun partying in one of the world’s most beautiful places to sail.

We are going to do our best to send out some slightly delayed reporting, though our obstacles are huge and our delays may prove long. For North American readers, that’s probably not that big a deal, since by 11 AM EST, you should be able to see some of the action here. And when I say "action," I mean it; if you’ve never been here, it’s hard to understand just how much is going on in a 10 NM stretch of water.

Today I raced on Pocket Rocket, an older boat, for the little 20NM practice race against 15 other boats. On the 2 hour beat, we sailed near or through the following fleets: I-420 (minimum 100 boats), RS K6 (20+ boats), new 49er training for Worlds next week (2 different groups of 5+ boats), 6 lasers, 50 sailboards, and numerous random keelboats. To complicate matters while making them even more carbolicious, three new(ish) boats are sharing dock space with the M24s as part of Volvo’s "Test Drive" program, which lets interested sailors take out the new Devoti D-One, the canting keel Linq CQ-6, and the Laser SB3.

Mer raced on Majica, and led all boats to the top mark, while we were DFL. Funnily enough, her team went from first to last in mere minutes and finished just behind us, while both teams had a great time on the water. And now that we’ve gotten a little taste of racing on Lake Garda, we’re ready to watch the week unfold. Hopefully you’ll join us for some of the ride.