News Iason Panagopoulos (GRE) defends Boys European Title & Maria Luis Silvestri (ITA) Crowned Girls European Champion
Iason Panagopoulos (GRE) defends Boys European Title & Maria Luis Silvestri (ITA) Crowned Girls European Champion
The 2023 Optimist European Championship hosted by the Nautical Club Thessaloniki, Kalamaria from July 15-22 has concluded with Iason Panagopoulos (GRE) coming from behind on the last day of the championship by leapfrogging from third to first by winning the last race to defend his 2022 Optimist Boys European Championship Title. Maria Luisa Silverstri (ITA) had a solid 10 point lead going into the last race, but despite sailing her drop race with a 27th position in the final race of the championship she was able to hang on to be crowned the 2023 Optimist Girls European Champion.
Unlike other IODA Championships, the European Championship has separate boys and girls fleets. There is no European Team Racing Championship at this event as that will be held separately in Loosdrecht, NED in late August.
47 nations including 35 from Europe and 12 internationally attending the championship with a total of 292 sailors making it one of the biggest in many years. There were 166 sailors in the boys fleet and 126 in the girls fleet.
Over the 5 days of fleet racing 10 races were completed for all fleets – 7 races in the Qualification Series over the first 3 days and 3 races in the Final Series on the last 2 days. Extreme heat and tricky winds dominated the championship making it very challenging for the sailors. The race committee under the seasoned leadership of IODA PRO Ilker Bayindir did an excellent job in getting the races completed.
Although Iason Panagopoulos won the European Title he was tied in points with Nikko Palou Espinar (ESP) with 27 points each. But Iason’s 1st place finish in the last race won the tie breaker between the two. Palou Espinar ending up second overall and the silver medal of the Boys European Championship.
Mateo Carbonell Monte (ESP), the leader heading into the final day and last race of the Championship had a tough race finishing 14th place pushing him back to third overall and bronze medalist of the Championship.
4th overall was Jesper Karlsen (ITA) followed by another sailor from Spain, Ilker Mugica Pinol in 5th, with Claudio Crocco (ITA) in 6th place.
Rounding out the top ten on the leaderboard were Toma Smircic (CRO) in 7th, Peleg Amir (ISR) in 8th, Mehmet Erkut Budak (TUR) in 9th and Borna Mohac (CRO) in 10th.
In the Girls European Championship following Maria Luisa Silverstri (ITA), who became the 2023 Optimist Girls European Champion, was Anna Ulmer (USA) just 3 points back finishing second overall in the championship. Third overall and awarded the silver medal in the Girls European Championship was Gaia Zinali (ITA) with Olha Lubianska (UKR) taking the bronze medal in 4th overall.
Fifth overall was Joana Cocchi Kubelka de Freitas (BRA), silver medalist and top girl at the 2023 Optimist South American Championship held in Paracas, PER in April.
Sixth overall was Emilia Salvatore (ITA) followed by teammates Athina Soulioti (GRE) in 7th, and Eleni Alchanati (GRE) in 8th. Ninth overall was Justine Barbarin (FRA) followed by Sofia Bommartine (ITA) in 10th. The strength of the Italian team was marked by the fact that all four girls registered for the championship finished in the top 10.
The top 16 teams in the Nations Cup Ranking at the 2023 European Championship qualifies them to compete in the 2024 European Team Racing Championship being held in Monaco next year. The top 16 teams in the Nations Cup Ranking are as follows:
The Organizing Committee Chair, Akis Tsalikis and his incredible team of volunteers did a superb job of organizing and hosting this very important IODA Championship. The extreme heat conditions endured in the entire southern Europe region made it challenging. The sailors all went home having experienced an amazing championship making friends from Europe and around the globe. Thank you to the Nautical Club Thessaloniki, Kalamaria for hosting this championship on behalf of IODA.
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For the Nations Cup Ranking list, go here
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