(Anzio, Italy)- The village of Anzio is a wonderful setting for the J/24 Italian Championships, famous for its micro-climate that often borders on the tropical, with plentiful sunshine, cool breezes blowing onshore and a gentle Mediterranean swell rolling into the golden beaches along the shores. However, this year's event was nothing like what anyone anticipated. As a monstrous frontal system swept across the Italian peninsula, it generated giant, breaking waves, 20-35 kt winds and plenty of cloud cover with chilly temperatures-- epic sailing for sure, testing the determination and limits of endurance for all the J/24 teams.
With forty-five J/24s attending this year's event, it was clear Italian sailors love their favorite sailing spots, creating one of the largest turnouts in years for the event. In the end, it was the American Keith Whittemore sailing FURIO that won on equal points with Luigi Ravioli in an epic battle on the high seas. As a result, Whittemore won the coveted "Open Championship" title and Ravioli sailing STOCKFISH wins the Italian J/24 Champs as first Italian.
Finishing second overall was Avoltore, third was defending champions Ignazio Bonanno on LA SUPERBA, fourth was Mariolino Fraietta (Italian class President) and fifth was Peter Diamond.
"In the end, fortunately, we were able to compete in at least five races. It would really have been a shame to thwart the extraordinary efforts of all with fewer races. Conditions were about as bad as we've ever seen it in this magnificent town of Anzio", said Luigi Ravioli (past J/24 European Champion in 1999 and 3rd in J/24 Worlds in the United Kingdom). "With friends we began to prepare the boat (rather dated and with several problem areas) back in October 2012. We participated in the Winter Championship where we realized that we could be competitive and, above all, we had a great team spirit on board."
"It's been a great championship, challenging but very rewarding, with spectacular 10-15 ft waves, wind never below 20-23 kts, conditions that put a strain on all but now that it's all over, we can say we have enjoyed it all," said Massimo Mariotti. "I want to thank my crew for an amazing job!"
The sailors credited the local sailing clubs and the Italian Navy for a job "well done" despite the capricious conditions. In fact, the weather was so difficult, racing had to be canceled one day because the harbor mouth was virtually impassable due to breaking 15-20 ft waves and 25-35 kt gale-force winds. For more J/24 Italian Championship sailing information