SKUD 18 Start at the European Championships
Final Day of Racing - May 12
Today the 2013 Access European Championship comes to an end. On this last racing day of an exciting so far event in Switzerland, sailors from 12 countries arrived early at the Arbon Marina, ready to start with their preparations.
Everybody was excited and ready to leave Lake Constance with an excellent performance. Once again, the rain would make things difficult, yet the winds were certainly much stronger than the rest of the days.
The two-person Access boats would be the first to start racing. Skippers and crew had prepared their boats from early on and headed out to the race area.
Starting from the port side of the starting line, The French team of Gilles Guyon and Marie-Joe Besson placed themselves at the top of the fleet.
Behind them, the Swiss team of Dominik Stäger and Julian Müller were giving chase, and trying their best to position themselves in first place today.
It proved a difficult task because Hungary’s Zoltan Pegan and Eva Mircev were the first to reach the weather mark and, deservedly so, enjoyed a flawless performance in this first upwind leg.
The team of Joshua Rothenhäusler and Dominique Scheller from Switzerland were following them closely, managing to be almost as fast as their Hungarian rivals. And so we’d have another Swiss presence in third spot, with the slimmest of margins separating this performance from those at the top. Nevertheless, victory belonged to the Hungarians, Pegan and Mircsev.
When the start of the SKUD 18 race was finally given, the crews of Vera Voorbach and Jan-Rein Van Esseveld from Holland, and that of Andrea Stella and Elisabetta Baradella from Italy, looked set to complete some fine performance as they left the port side of the starting line.
But another Italian team, that of Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti would lead the SKUD 18 fleet for the most part of the race, successfully dealing with the challenge posed by their British rivals, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell.
Yet after a fierce battle in the downwind leg of the race, the Britons tenacity paid off and they finally managed to overtake the Italians and dominate the race, eventually winning it by a comfortable margin.
The Access European Championship promised exciting moments until the very final day, and so it was. Another exceptionally successful event reached its climax, and all sailors that gathered here in Switzerland and the Arbon Marina, will remember fondly those races in Lake Constance. An impressive awards ceremony at the end of an action-packed day ensured that many of these athletes would be quite eager to return here. Thanks for following!
Racing Day Three - May 11
The third racing day in lake Constance, in Switzerland, for the 2013 AccessEuropeans consisted of light winds and rain. Nevertheless, sailors couldn’t be more excited to be here. And so they descended on the Arbon Marina, ready for an action-packed day. The boats always need some further attention. Due to the weather conditions, trimming and of course, emptying out any water on board was necessary. Despite the light winds today, before too long the sailors headed to the race course area, unfazed, on time. Quickly enough, the start was given for the 303 Single Person Access Class, where Britons Monique Foster and Paul Foster managed to place themselves at the top of the fleet, with Spain’s Tolo Gelabert following them closely. After an upwind leg that featured some quite shifty winds, the Spaniard managed to round the weather mark, as well as the second mark in first place. Always with a safe lead from Switzerland’s Carlos Araujo in second place, who was trying to get closer. Eventually, the Swiss won the race, after some really smart tactics in the upwind leg, with his compatriot, Joao Pinto, in second place. At the Access 2,3 race, Lindsay Burns from Great Britain dominated from the start of the race, with not one but two athletes from Portugal on her heels, chasing up the best possible outcome. Fernando Pinto and Luisa Gracia both gave a spectacular performance towards that goal, all the way to the finish line. At the end, the light wind and some unexpected gusts, worked to the benefit of the British athlete. In the Liberty fleet, the committee boat side was clearly the most favorable one, and it was no surprise that all the boats headed there once the start was given. After some excellent tactics and skillfully executed maneuvers, Gérard Eychenne remained unbeatable today also, despite the tricky weather over the lake today. This way, the distance from his rivals increased. Victory belonged, at last, to the Frenchman. Things promise to get even more exciting tomorrow. Not only because Sunday’s the very last racing day of the Access Club European Championship here in Switzerland, but also because the weather’s saving the best for last. Stronger winds have been forecasted! So stay tuned!
Racing Day Two - May 10
The second day of racing of the Access Class European Championships 2013 was a rainy one. Today’s weather wasn’t exactly favorable to sailing and the race committee was left with no choice than postpone racing for a few hours.
Around midday, it was time for the boats to hit the water and make their way to the race course. But the conditions were still light and the sailors had to wait under the heavy rain. A tough task for them, especially with the temperature dropping dramatically in comparison to the two previous days.
After about an hour’s wait at the race area, the start was finally given in the access 303 two person class. Ivo Stohler and Willi Lutz from Switzerland, after a great performance in the 1st upwind managed to round the 1st mark well ahead of their opponents. The teams of Roger Lieberherr and Christian Hiller and that of Joshua Rothenhausler and Dominique Scheller, also from Switzerland, did not give up the chase until the very end of the race.
In the SKUD 18 category, it was the British crew of Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell that took the lead early on, and dominated the race. They were followed by Marko Gualandris and Marta Zanetti from Italy, and Diana Cantalejo and Francisco Villa from Spain. The Spanish crew was making every possible effort to overtake the Italians but without any result.
After a rainy, yet successful day overall, with the races completed, competitors and spectators are looking forward to an even more exciting racing day tomorrow. Be sure to join us
Racing Day One - May 9
The weather forecasting really light winds for the first racing day at the Access Class European Championships. Only the one person classes could sail their first races in the morning. Due to the lack of wind, racing for the two person classes, were postponed for tomorrow.
The Liberty fleet were up on the race track first with Gérard EYCHENNE taking the lead from early on in the race and leading over Cristina RUBKE from the USA. EYCHENNE held tight onto his lead, not making an error, to claim a motivating opening win. Holland’s Wilma VAN DEN BROEK overtook the American RUBKE to finish 2nd, with RUBKE in 3rd. In the 303 one person class, Hungary’s Zoltan PEGAN, the 2010 World Champion, led the race from early on and clearly demonstrated his superiority in the fleet by securing a safe lead and sailed cleverly and with smart tactics to easily take the win. Damien PEYSSON finished 2nd in the race followed by Gilles GUYON close behind - no doubt these two French skippers will have some fierce battles throughout the series.
Immediately after, the wind dropped to zero and there was no other choice for the race committee than to postpone racing, and send the sailors ashore to wait for the breeze. On a positive note, the forecast is for more breeze over the coming days.
The breeze finally built up to 5-7 knots and the skud18 and access 303 two person fleets went out to the race course – but only for the wind to disappear, forcing racing to be abandoned for the day. Stay tuned for more wind and more racing action tomorrow!
Practice Day - May 8
The Access Class European Championships and SKUD 18 Europeans are taking place in Arbon, on the waters of Lake Constance, Switzerland’s biggest lake and the natural border between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Championships are organized by the Yacht Club Arbon in cooperation with Sailiability.ch. The 71 boats competing here will fight for the Championship titles over the next 4 days. 2013 marks the largest level of participation compared to any previous Championships and the number of nations competing has doubled since last year – with 71 boats representing 12 nations. So a great event is set to unfold.
On the first two days the athletes have to pass their boats through measurement inspection to ensure all boats comply with the Class Rules and everyone will be competing on an equitable basis; sails and boats have to comply under the same rules, so hulls are also weighed and have to be within the official limit.
There are 5 different classes competing at the Europeans, offering a range of sailing styles and disciplines. The Access 2.3 is the only class with one sail and thus the smallest of all, then there is the Access 303 that is sailed by one or two persons – with these events attracting a high level of entries. The last of the access classes is the Liberty that can also be sailed by persons with serious disabilities, using servos to help them sail and control the sails. Last but not least is the SKUD18 class, the only Paralympic event here and the most exciting one sailed by a two person crew and with a large gennaker, the boat can achieve some impressive speeds.
After registration and equipment inspection the practice race was scheduled for today. After a long wait for the wind to show up, the start was finally given for the three first classes under very light conditions. But the lack of consistency in wind strength forced the Race Committee to abandon the practice race and hope for a better start tomorrow when the Championships gets underway. Enjoy some impressions from the first days of the championship.