European Championships preview

With 3 weeks to go before the start of the ‘A’ Cat European Championships, we shall be seeing some of the World’s top sailors assembling in North Germany.  In the official provisional entry list, we have 91 entrants signed up so far for this closed (100 max.) regatta at the picturesque German Baltic resort of Warnemunde and the competition looks like it might be rather tough.

In the absence of reigning World Champ Stevie Brewin, who is concentrating on his Nacra 17 campaign, we welcome back his fellow Aussi Nationals nemesis, and the most successful ‘A’ Cat sailor of all time, Glenn Ashby.  Returning from his America’s Cup duties, he has recently been working up on the new DNA F1x at Garda, although not racing at their Spring Cup, instead preferring to perfect the boat setup and familiarize himself with new systems and feel.  It will certainly be a rather more stable and predictable platform to his recent Superfoiler experiences.  Alongside him, we have another AC winner, Kyle Langford.  Fresh from his Team Brunel VOR job, this is the first major ‘A’ Cat event we have seen this young Australian at, but we expect no less a performance as he has demonstrated already.

Manuel Calavia, the ESP champion will be keen to show his current form too.  He has always been right up there and was the only sailor who could have challenged for the 2017 Worlds had it not been for an early OCS.  He will be looking to set things right this time.  Mr DNA, Mischa Heemskerk, is also on form again.  Narrowly missing out on winning the Garda Spring Cup, this twice World Champ has been working hard on the new DNA alongside Glenn.  No-one has spent more time and work on this boat than Mischa, and many of the innovations stem from his experience.

The FRA riders Emmanuel Dode and Jean-Louis Le Coq and Danish rider Thomas Paasch will all be fighting hard too, with Emmanuel gaining 3rd at Garda. For the Team POL, with Tymuk Bendyk and Kuba Surowiec both concentrating on their Olympic Nacra 17 selection campaigns, Jacek Noetzel and Michael Kornesczuk will be battling it out for the Polish glory.  And SUI sailor Sandro Caviezel will be looking to finish well after winning the Garda event on his innovatively modified Scheuer G7.

Another sailor, who might just sneak up on the rail is GBR Olympian Adam May. He has been training hard at next years Worlds venue of WPNSA in Weymouth alongside his Aussie training mate, Paul Larsen.  His ability to foil in lighter conditions than many could be useful.

As the entries have been capped at 100, and National Associations being allocated place numbers depending on their sizes, deciding who has qualified now the class has 2 divisions was always going to be hard.  As a result, the Classic fleet is much reduced, with only some 14 boats to date entered so far.  However, the competition in this fleet will be keen.  Former World Champ Scott Anderson is attending, as is the expat Scot ESP Micky Todd and BEL sailor Michael Warlop who will both try to give Scotty a run for his money.  And never discount GER ace and light wind expert Georg Rutter, who will be snapping at all the fleet’s heels and more if the light stuff arrives, as he showed at the Worlds 2017.  And if that happens, Caroline Van Bleen or Katrin Brunner could also sneak in!

So, now the stage is set, the football World Cup has started too, and with the final on the day after the Euros have finished, it all promises to be a great event for everyone.