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North Sails NEWS
2018 LIGHTNING EUROPEANS
North Teams finished 1,2*,3,4,5!
The 2018 Lightning European Championships were held June 28th-July 1st at the Yacht Club of Greece in Pireaus. Twenty-two teams representing six countries were in attendance for what was a fabulous weekend of sailing. Team Verginadis, sail number GRE 14791, with 10 points in the 5-race series, including 2-race wins, secured the European Championship and the coveted Lightning Class Silver Flash.
The first day of the championship brought sunny skies and warm temperatures however a weather system also brought strong winds that averaged near 25-knots all day, with gusts reaching 40-knots. Though the Race Committee held out with hopes of getting some racing in, they eventually cancelled for the day. During the delays, North Sails Lightning expert Brian Hayes held a tuning session for many of the competitors in the parking lot and fielded questions on prebend and rig tension. After lunch, roughly 60 sailors squeezed into the meeting room as Brian did some video reviews from the practice race showing where each team may find some opportunities for improvement when it comes to sail trim, rig set up, or sailing style. This “brief” gathering lasted until nearly 5:30 pm that evening, which showed the eagerness of the fleet to continue to get information on how to improve and get their boat up to speed.
The second day of racing opened with a brisk breeze near 15-knots which softened all day to around 10-knots. The top three teams began their string of consistent finishes as all three kept their finishes in the top four, creating a three-way tie on the leaderboard by the end of the day. This basically created a showdown on Sunday between the top three teams for the European Championship crown.
The first race saw Team Verginadis chase down Team Argyropoulous on the final run to gain the win while Team Vasilas held their own at 11 points. Team Tsoulfas had nine points. The final race was dramatic as Team Vasilas caught the big left shift and had a large lead at the first mark with the other two teams deeper in the fleet. However, the Race Committee weighed the fairness of this large 50-degree shift on the first beat and abandoned the race. Not to be dissuaded, Team Vasilas once again leapt out to a big lead but the other two teams stayed close behind and finished third and fourth, giving the title to Team Verginadis by a slim two-points. Team Vasilas’ last race win earned them the runner-up position, followed by Team Tsoulfas to round out the podium.
Thanks to the Yacht Club of Greece and the event organizing committee for an outstanding event and gracious hospitality. The Lightning Class in Europe is excited to be hosting the 2019 World Championships in Finland next June and the entire fleet at the Europeans is eager to test their skills against sailors from around the world.
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