IODA European Championship
July 4 to 12
Saturday July 11 - Pre prize giving report
Maximilian and Paulina: European Champions
The final day of the competition brought 6 knots of breeze and a smooth sea. The sailors waited for over half an hour for a consistent wind direction and for many the time was spent in last minute briefings with their coaches and relaxing before the concentration of the race.
After the start of the first boys group, the wind shifted to the left and Malcolm Lamphere (USA) managed to cross the fleet on port and went on to win the race.
Malcom Lamphere crosses the fleet
In the second and final race of the day, Slovenia earned another bullet when Toni Vrscaj won his group race. The conditions today were difficult with current and wind shifts playing their part in making the correct tactical decisions. Despite this, the leaders in both fleets, Maximilian Hibler and Paulina Rothlauf remained consistent, maintaining their positions and will tonight be awarded their trophies as European Champions.
Report on prize giving and final results to come tomorrow.
Friday July 10
Today saw 16-18 knots of steady Bora wind, half metre swells and sunshine. Hoping not to repeat the numerous recalls of yesterday, the race officer immediately went to black flag for the first start and the fleet got away at the first attempt.
There were three races for each group, all in ideal conditions, making a total of nine races in the championship so far. Paulina Rothlauf and Maximilian Hibler, both from Germany, continue to lead the girls and boys fleets respectively. Lea Janezic won race seven of her group impressively, giving the first win to the home nation and improving her series score to eighth overall.
Tomorrow is the last day and the race committee are hoping that with an early start they may complete another three races.
Thursday July 9
Current leader of boys fleet
The start of the day looked promising, with the Bora wind still blowing and the sailors were greeted with a a gusty 18 knots and were fully hiked. However, this wind slowly began to drop leaving large swells, which had built up overnight.
There were many attempts to start the first boys group and all the time the wind was decreasing. After the third attempt to start, the race committee flew the black flag and eventually 17 sailors found a BFD added to their score.
Once the two boys fleets were racing, the wind continued to drop and was by now down to just 6 knots and it continued to shift left and this delayed the start of the girls fleets. Laliv Tauber (Israel), is to be congratulated for an excellent start when she attempted to cross the fleet on port tack.
The boats have now completed 6 races, which means that there is now one discard so some sailors have been able to drop a poor result or OCS score. The team from Germany are having an incredible regatta with Paulina Rothlauf, defending her title from last year, ahead in the girls fleet by 5 points from her fellow team member, Annika Matthiesen and Maximilian Hibler leading the boys fleet by 11 points.
There are at least two more races scheduled for tomorrow, the penultimate day of the regatta and there could still be changes to the leader board.
Wednesday July 8
After the difficult conditions of yesterday everyone was hoping for a better day today and their prayers were answered.
Race 3 started on time in about 12 knots of breeze. Blue and Green boys fleet started first and the fleet remained quite tightly bunched until the final leg. Luka Tosic (Serbia) read the shifts well as the wind tracked slowly right and won the race ahead of Kristian Chekh (Russia) and Tanju Okan Mandalinci (Turkey). Silvia Mas (Spain) won the Blue and Green girls fleet having lead for most of the race.
The wind continued to track right to come from the E/NE and strengthened to a steady 16 knots. This was the Adriatic Burja or Bora wind, which brought near perfect sailing conditions for the rest of the day.
After day 3 the German team are in great form, Annika Matthiesen and Paulina Rothlauf are currently in first and second place in the girls fleet and Maximilian Hibler is leading the boys. Lighter winds are expected tomorrow which will continue to provide challenging conditions for the sailors.
Tuesday July 7
The race committee left the beach hoping to have stronger winds than yesterday. Slowly a breeze began to build and the horizon was soon filled with lines of optimist sails as the sailors enjoyed the increasing breeze. The course was soon laid and unlike yesterday, all four starts of race 2 got away without any recalls. The wind had now increased to 12-14 knots and the racing was close and exciting.
Race 3 began quickly with the intention of trying for three races during the day. With the delayed start this was always going to be a challenge and it began to look even less likely as the wind began to drop to 5-6 knots with frequent shifts. Suddenly, just as the last girls group was starting, the wind became much colder and within 5 minutes was blowing 20 knots with gusts to 25+. The wind continued to increase and the race committee abandoned all races, signalling that all boats should return to shore and racing ended for the day.
Piran has certainly provided the sailors with a challenge and for many it has been hard to be consistent. However, after two races, Malcolm Lamphere (USA) was leading the boys with a 5th and a 2nd and Jennifer Poret (France) was leading the girls with a 1st and a 3rd – a significant achievement in these trying conditions. Paulina Rothlauf (Germany) last years winner of the girls title was in 4th place, only 6 points behind the leader.
Monday July 6
Today the competition really begins. The sailors were split into four fleets, two each for the boys and two for the girls. Before the start the wind was a light 5-7 knots with many small shifts to the left. This provided a real challenge for the race committee.
The fleets were anxious to get away which resulted in several boats OCS and general recalls. Finally all four fleets got away in what had become even more difficult conditions with the wind slowly decreasing. A good result would require skill, concentration and maybe a little luck!
On the last leg there was a large shift to the right which caught several sailors out and meant small gains to others.
Unfortunately the race committee were unable to start another race as the wind continued to die and racing was abandoned for the day.
Sailors from Italy and Portugal featured in the top three in both the boys and the girls fleets, with Massimo Attina ITA and Andre Sanchez POR winning the two boys groups and Silvia Mas ESP and Jennifer Poret FRA, ahead in the girls. There is still much to play for and hopefully tomorrow will bring the promise of more wind.
Sunday July 5
The city of Piran welcomed the sailors to Slovenia at a ceremony held in the beautiful city square, next to the harbour, in Piran. The teams entered the square, parading in their team uniforms, waving their national flags. The mayor welcomed everyone to the city, a place with a long sailing heritage. After the ceremony the teams were left to make new friends and swop team uniforms. There are no cultural barriers here with all making new friendships many of which will last for years to come.
Sunday July 5 - earlier
Today in Piran Slovenia, over 250 sailors from 41 countries and 5 continents, will gather in the city square for the opening ceremony of the Optimist European Championships.
The teams have been arriving for the last few days taking the opportunity to pass through measurement early and to practice on the clear waters off the shores of Strunjan. Racing begins tomorrow, 6th July and will continue until 11th July when the European Champions will be known. This event, like the South American Championships in Curacao last year, will use a tracking system which will permit friends and relatives to follow the racing live on the internet. You can follow the racing here
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