Sanremo Proved An Exciting Venue For The European Championships
An exciting medal race concluded the 470 Europeans in Sanremo, Italy. With 80% of the fleet powered by North Sails, the regatta was packed full of exciting racing and continually changing results.
Tensions were high on the final day as the wind took it’s time to arrive on the race course for the medal race. By early afternoon, the wind set and enabled the Race Committee to launch the medal races on windward/leeward course. With the championship taking an open format, non-European crews raced but could not run for the European title.
The women’s medal race was first with Brit’s Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre top of the leaderboard. This soon changed as France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz took the lead off the blocks, covering their closest rivals Afrodite Zegers/Lobke Berkhout from the Netherlands and Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Jolanta Ogar. The British team were caught up in congested air in the middle of the fleet leaving France open to the title. France took home gold, closely followed by the British and Netherlands consecutively.
As the men’s medal race started, the wind had picked up slightly and the tension on the startline reflected the exceptionally close leaderboard; any of the boats in the top 10 could finish on the podium. Australians Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan went into the race with a five-point lead on the reigning champions Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom from Sweden. Spain’s Jordi Xammar/Nicolas Rodriguez and Greeks Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis were both at the top of the leaderboard and serious medal contenders.
The Swedes pushed hard from the pin end of the line, and the Austrians David Bargher/Lukas Maehr got a penalty. At the first windward mark, a collision between the Austrians and the Greeks resulted in a penalty for Mantis/Kagialis too, forcing the bronze medalists in Rio 2016 out of contention for the top spots, with New Zealanders Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox showing excellent speed and guarding their second place to the finish line. The Australians managed to keep their lead and finished top of the Open results, with the Sweedish team winning the European title, ahead of the Spanish sailors. The French pair made a great comeback securing third place.
New to the One Design team, North’s470 Class Expert, Riccardo de Felice, was coaching at the event.
”The Europeans was a well-organised event with some excellent high-level sailing. We had all kinds of weather conditions in Sanremo; light, medium and heavy winds, as well as big waves at times and it was fantastic to see our sails respond to these challenges, continuing to perform well. There was even a race with more than 35 knots!”
Powering all but two of the top 10 boats in the men’s fleet and all top 10 boats in the woman’s fleet, North Sails is proud to be so involved in the 470 class and looks forward to the World Championships in Japan later this year.