PACIFIC YANKEE USA865 of Drew Freides with Nic Asher, Charlie Smythe, Alec Anderson and Mark Ivey - new Melges 24 World Champions - Melges 24 World Championship 2023 - Middelfart, Denmark © Mick Knive Anderson

PACIFIC YANKEE USA865 of Drew Freides with Nic Asher, Charlie Smythe, Alec Anderson and Mark Ivey - new Melges 24 World Champions - Melges 24 World Championship 2023 - Middelfart, Denmark © Mick Knive Anderson

Drew Freides is the New Melges 24, Ante Botica Claims Corinthian Title


02/07/2023 - 07:48

The Melges Performance Sailboats Trophy for the Melges 24 Worlds title goes back to the USA after three exciting races in wind and rain today. Croatians win the Challenge Henri Samuel Corinthian Trophy in non-professional class and take bronze overall.

The 24th Melges 24 World Championship, powered by Bunker One and organized by GoSail along with Fredericia Sailing Club and International Melges 24 Class Association in partnership with Danish Melges 24 Class, which has been sailed over the past week in Middelfart, Denmark, has come to an end. The favorite for the gold, Drew Freides' team Pacific Yankee from the USA, started the final day of the event as a leader and with a fourth, a fifth and a third place in strong winds, extended their lead and win the World Championship with a margin of nine points to last year's world champion Peter Duncan from the USA.

"The last day was exactly as we had feared: tough and close sailing, and we had to fight all day to secure the world championship - and we were lucky that we ended up winning," says a happy Drew Freides, who won his first world championship in the Melges 24 Class.

"In the fall, we put together a team that we thought had the ability to win the World Championship. And a very special person joined the team - our coach, Vince Brun, who in 1998 and 1999 became the first Melges 24 world champion. So, it was very special to win the championship with him here in Middelfart," explains Drew Freides, who normally lives in Los Angeles.

"Next year, the world championship is in San Francisco, and we hope to defend the title on home soil!"

In the team of Pacific Yankee, Drew Freides has a professional crew with Nic Asher, Charlie Smythe, Alec Anderson, and Mark Ivey.

The other places on the podium were occupied by last year's world champion, Peter Duncan (USA) and his team Raza Mixta, and the Croatian Corinthian team Mataran 24 with Ante Botica at the helm and a little girl on the bow of the boat.

And that little girl is not just anyone.

The 12-year-old crew member, Bruna Princivali, is Croatian Optimist Dinghy Champion - and now also World Championship bronze winner and World Corinthian Champion in the Melges 24 Class. In addition to Ante and Bruna, the other crew members are Ivo Matić, Mario Škrlj and Damir Civadelić. After winning the Melges 24 Corinthian European title in Genova, Italy last year, Mataran 24 team has now also the highest Corinthian prize in the world level. 

On top of that, Croatian team was also awarded with the Zarco Draganic perpetual trophy, donated to the class by Chris Larson, which since 2015 belongs to the top rookie owner at the Worlds. Zarko Draganic (1966-2014) was a passionate Corinthian Melges 24 sailor from San Francisco in California, who competed in several Melges 24 World Championships, also with Chris Larson. His unique, kind demeanor made him a pleasure to be around, sail with and against. It's iconic, that the trophy, which was awarded for the very first time here in Middelfart, goes eight years later from Middelfart to Croatia, where Zarko Draganic was from.

What comes to today's races, then first race of the day was won by Corinthian team White Room of Michael/Luis Tarabochia from Germany, who scored 1,14,9 today, securing his strong position as the second best Corinthian team and finishing the World Championship strong on sixth position in overall ranking. 

Races 11 and 12 today went to another team sailing under German flag with mixed German-Italian crew – Nefeli of Peter Karrie, whom we can call "Bullet-team" after this championship, being the only team in the fleet posting more than one win, in fact, they posted four in last two days of the regatta! Unfortunately, some mistakes made in other races made did not give them higher position than the twelfth in overall ranking. 

Corinthian podium was completed by the Norwegian team Helly Hansen Lisa II of Børre Hekk Paulsen being in eleventh overall. 

Emotional prizegiving ceremony was held in the Middelfart Marina late in the afternoon. Besides honouring the winners, the organizers chaired by Soren Laugesen, also the sponsors and supporters of this World Championship were acknowledged and thanked for their great support and amazing hospitality.

Laura Grondin, IM24CA Chair and Soren Blume Svendsen, Chair of the Danish Melges 24 Class, were thanking GoSail and its team for their great efforts in organizing this Melges 24 World Championship to remember. As a nice remembrance of the event, a blue backstay flag on celebrating 30 years of Melges 24 racing, will be decorate GoSail office from now. 

This is a special year since we are celebrating 30 years of racing Melges 24! With that said, the Melges 24 class is especially happy, that new Melges 24 boats and masts are now available in the USA and Europe. „We're also excited to be once again supplying new, European built boats and masts to help the class flourish for the next 30 years and beyond. Cheers to all from Zenda, USA!" sent his best wishes to the Melges 24 family in Middelfart Harry Melges III from Zenda. 

Having said goodbye to Middelfart, the next Melges 24 title event will be the North American Championship, hosted by the National Yacht Club in Toronto, Canada between September 14-17, 2023. The next Melges 24 World Championship will be held in San Francisco, California, USA from August 17 to 24, 2024, the San Francisco Yacht Club as an organizer. In Europe, the next Melges 24 continental title event will be sailed in the new destination Croatia, hosted by the Sailing Club Split in Split between September 27 and October 4, 2024. 

Top Ten (out of 47, after 12 races, 1 discard) including Corinthians:

USA865 PACIFIC YANKEE - Drew Freides - 52
USA829 RAZA MIXTA - Peter Duncan - 61
CRO649 MATARAN 24 - Ante Botica (Corinthian) - 79
USA851 MONSOON - Bruce Ayres - 82
USA864 DARK ENERGY - Laura Grondin - 85
GER677 WHITE ROOM – Michael/Luis Tarabochia (Corinthian) - 86
ITA722 ALTEA - Andrea Racchelli - 94
USA841 WAR CANOE - Chris Rast - 99
CRO739 PANJIC - Luka Šangulin – 108
NOR679 HELLY HANSEN LISA II – Børre Hekk Paulsen - 111

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