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Another perfect day of Aegean sailing and two inshore races confirms the series leaders as new 2016 European ORC champions

Porto Carras, Greece – Showing great consistency in five days and nine races competing in both inshore and offshore formats, two teams from Italy have emerged as the new 2016 ORC European champions.

After a slow start in the series with a 7th place earned in the first offshore race, Giampiero Vagliano’s modified Arya 415 Duvetica Grey Groose then came on strong to take and hold the series lead by winning only one race but never getting worse than sixth in any other. Their competition was strong among 37 teams from 12 countries, with several teams in the top ranks always keeping the pressure on these new champions.

"We sweated until the end," says Daniele Augusti, skipper of Duvetica Grey Goose. "It was a tough battle, especially against Meliti and Morgan who were great adversaries. For us in particular this result, which comes after victories in three Italian championships, is the best revenge after an all-winter controversy for the crew and for the boat. The sailing on the water was very interesting: on the race courses there were winds between 8 and 15 knots, with no waves and a warm sun, but the wind directions were not at all obvious and so the races were different from each other, forcing us to work a lot on tactics."

Besides Augusti and Vagliano, the Duvetica team included Alessandro Marega, Andrea Straniero, Ciro Di Piazza, Jacopo Ciampalini, Manuel Polo, Matteo Stroppolo, Michele Paoletti, Paolo Pinelli, and Samuele Nicolettis.

Winning the Silver medals in Class A/B were the crew of George Andreadis’s GS 42R Meliti IV-Musto from Greece, who like the Gold medalists managed to stay consistent through the week with no counted score worse than sixth. And winning Bronze medals were another team from Italy, Claudio Terrieri’s GS 43 BC Blue Sky.

In the first few days of competition, the leaderboard in Class C was starting to look stratified among three teams unable to move against each other in the scores, and the leader looking unassailable on five consecutive race victories. But in Friday’s Race 6 the game changed, with the runner-up moving into up to win that race, and then also yesterday’s offshore race as well. With both teams having low scores to discard, the race was now tightening into a possible final day showdown.

Vincenzo de Blasio’s NM 38S Scugnizza-Total Lubmarine dominated the series early on, but late challenges from Aivar Tuulberg’s Arcona 340 Katariina II from Estonia and Ott Kikkas’s Italia 9.98 Sugar also from Estonia closed the gap today to be a final day’s fight for the crown. Sugar’s victory in the first race today set up a scenario where the 2012 and 2013 World Champion could lose the European crown that seemed destined for them earlier in the week. Sugar and Katarina both sailed hard in the final race – so hard the two shared a victory in corrected time – but Scugnizza’s third in the race was good enough to claim victory by a mere 0.5 point.

De Blasio added this result to an impressive prize list that besides the Worlds titles also included UVAI Owner of the Year in 2011 and 2013, the overall Italian champion in 2012 and now the European Champion for 2016. "This was a very hard championship with very strong and hard-line opponents in every sense,” said De Blasio. “We suffered a penalty that has compromised us in all the latest results and a rating protest that also pushed us, but we are not easily intimidated and with a knife between our teeth we have fought and become the European Champions by winning the only title that was missing in our prize list."

De Blasio’s crew included Lars Borgstrom, Luigi Castria, Federico Colaninno, Ferdinando Colaninno, Umberto Coppola, Michele de Giovanni, Alberto Grippo, Carlo Alberto Malagoli, and Paolo Scutellaro.

Silver medals go to Tuulberg’s Katariina II and Bronze medals to Sugar. Tuulberg will be headed north to Copenhagen at week’s end to start the ORC World Championship in Tuulberg’s other Katariina, a 37-foot custom Cossutti design.

Corinthian division winners include the 13th-placed finisher in Class A/B, Stergios Leontardis’s IMX 40 Ellinixx-Musto from Greece, and the 5th-placed finisher in Class C, Fabio Bignolini’s modified Dufour 34 Northern Light from Italy.

“We are very happy the outcome of this championship in every sense,” said regatta organizer Akis Tsalikis from the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki. “We had nine competitive races, a good variety of weather to test all the teams, and our winners are deserving champions. We thank our club members and all their hard work to make the event a success, the race committee, International Jury and measurers for all their hard work, our hosts here at the beautiful Porto Carras Resort, our sponsors and most of all the participants who came from throughout Europe, the Middle East and as far as the USA to compete. Thanks to all.”

Top five final results after nine races:

Class A/B
1. Duvetica Grey Goose (ITA) Arya 415 mod Giampiero Vagliano
2. Meliti IV-Musto (GRE) GS 42R George Andreadis
3. Blue Sky (ITA) GS 43 BC Claudio Terrieri
4. Bullet-Encode (GRE) TP 52 Sinouris Nikolaos
5. My Way (GRE) Rodman 42 Faedon Kydoniatis

Class C
1. Scugnizza-Total Lubmarine (ITA)NM 38S Vincenzo de Blasio
2. Katariina II (EST) Arcona 340 Aivar Tuulberg
3. Sugar (EST) Italia 9.98 Ott Kikkas
4. Baximus (GRE) X-35 OD Thanasis Baxevanis
5. Northern Light (ITA) Dufour 34 mod Fabio Bignolini