North Sails NEWS

March 29, 2018


Andrea Racchelli and Team Altea Nails the Series in Punta Ala

The event in Punta Ala marks the start of the European summer sailing season for the Melges 24 class. Despite variable conditions across the 3-day regatta, the race committee completed nine races. A battle between Altea and the Hungarian FGF Sailing Team broke out, however Altea lead by Andrea Racchelli repeated their success from 2009 to take the win in Punta Ala. Andrea is a veteran to the Melges 24 class having sailed in the boats for nearly 20 years! He now also acts as class president in Italy. We spoke to Andrea about his team and asked for a few tips for sailors in the class.

How long have you been racing the boat and why did you choose to sail the Melges 24?

I have been sailing Melges 24 since 2001. We bought the first boat at the end of 2000, at that time the Melges 24 was the best one design class, with a lot of great sailors competing. The boat was so modern compared to other one design boats like the J/24, which for us was a big challenge.

Tell us a little about your team; who does what on the boat and why you chose this team.

The Altea team was born in 1997. During all these years many people sailed on our boats, but always as a group of friends! I’m the helm and tactician of the boat and the team manager. The trimmer is Enzo Bonini – we have sailed together since 1992. In Punta Ala the bowman was Alberto Verna while the pit was Tiziano Auguadro, the oldest member of the group. He has been with us for many adventures. Finally we had the new entry Marta Conti, she will be with us for sure also in the future. During next season we will have onboard also Michele Gregoratto, Filippo Togni e Matteo Ramian.

In the light/medium wind conditions that you had in Punta Ala, what would your top tip be for going fast upwind and downwind?

On Melges 24 the setup of the boat and the boat handling is very important. Having the full crew hiking is the secret to have good speed upwind. On the downwind you have to work hard on the angle to keep boat speed always right. Of course you need very good sails, fresh as possible!

How do you set-up the rig for a days racing and what adjustments would you make throughout the day?

On Melges 24 you always have to change setup during racing. I have a base setup for 8 knots of wind. We always dock out with that and change tensions for every change of conditions. (For more information on Melges 24 tuning, check out the Melges 24 North Sails tuning guide)

Which North Sails products do you use? Why did you choose North Sails and what is it that makes you keep using them?

At the moment I use AP-3 mainsail, J-7+ jib and P-2 Spinnaker most of time, however sometimes theP-1. I chose North Sails in 2002 because North is the most experienced sailmaker in the class and a great team of experts working on the sails.

What tips would you give to new teams coming into this highly competitive fleet?

Train hard on maneuvering, always try and keep the crew consistent. Always ask class experts about initial setup and then work on it yourself and most important, have fun!

What events do you have coming up in the calendar and what can we expect from you and your team this season?

The two main events will be the World Championship in Victoria (Canada) and the European Championship in Riva del Garda (Italy). Our best result was 2nd at the Worlds in 2015 and so we will try to do better than this!

For more information for the Melges 24 class and the North Sails products, visit our class page and speak to your local expert.

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