Among the 2000+ boats present, our fleet of 87 competitors signed up for this, the final round of the European O’pen Skiff Championships 2019, and a chance for this group of talented and committed young sailors to strut their stuff in front of the huge crowds assembled every day to watch the action as it happens. O’pen Skiff is THE most vibrant and inclusive class in modern sailing, offering young kids the chance to learn, sail and then compete on equipment that is specifically adapted to their needs, and presents a level playing field for everyone. Fun and skill are the real winners, in a class where everyone is happy just to have a chance.
Another heatwave day today, but with winds a little stronger than yesterday’s opening rounds, and the prospect of temperatures cooling towards the end of the week. This meant that the Race Committee was able to run another three rounds of racing in each category, U13 and U17, six races run so far, and on track for the twelve races the committee had targeted for the week.
Today was “Champagne” sailing, with sun, sea, and up to 17 knots of steady wind, a great, and for some, novel experience. Lots of happy, and very sun-tanned, faces at the end of an excellent day’s racing that has consolidated the rankings at the half way point, and there’s still everything up for grabs as regards podium positions as we move towards the event and overall European Championships climax.
We said the Polish team had made a statement of intent, and that’s shown in the rankings for the U13 category. Federico Quaranta (Italy) is still in front, but is now closely chased by two Polish girls, Gita van der Voort and Liwia Liszkiewicz, closing out the other fancied Italians from the podium positions for now.
The U17 category looks like a fascinating finale over the defining rounds, with five different nationalities occupying the top six spots, and little between them with six races left to decide the outcome. Manuel de Felice (Italy) is still in pole position, ahead of compatriot Nonnis Leonardo close behind in second. Honorary European Ben Tapper (actually New Zealand) has moved up into third spot, followed by Kacper Bak (Poland) and Matteo Fatti (France), with everything still beautifully poised as the business end of the contest approaches.
It’s a big adventure for all the young sailors, none more so than Balazs P Szolomayer, more at home on the relatively flat lake waters of land-locked Hungary. “I’ve never seen such big waves” his conclusion, as he slid down the rankings from 5th to 15th. He should try the Atlantic sometime soon!
We’re all back again tomorrow, Friday, for the penultimate day of competition, when the leaders and podium contenders should be starting to take shape, barring unforeseen in the next three days, as we all know, anything can happen in sailing!