Sopot, Poland is the host of the RS:X Europeans and Youth European Championships, where over 220 sailors have gathered across four fleets representing nearly 20 different nations. Racing will take place on Gdansk Bay starting from Tuesday 21st August, culminating in medal races on Saturday 25th August where the champions will be decided and titles awarded.
Preparations have concluded with equipment inspection, registration and the practice race all being held today. The sailors were welcomed to the opening ceremony with thanks from Sopot Sailing Club, the Polish Yachting Association and the RS:X Class Association. The championships were officially opened by the President of the Polish Yachting Association, Tomasz Chamera.
With the RS:X World Championships only finishing a week ago, there are some tired bodies in the board park, but with the prospects of a fantastic weeks racing from the beach at Sopot, there are still lots of smiles around too. For the Youth fleet sailors, most have not raced since the RS:X Youth World Championships in Penmarch, France – whilst others will be looking to settle scores from the Youth World Sailing Championships held in Corpus Christi in July.
In the senior men’s fleet, whilst the current World champion takes a well-deserved rest, it opens the door for a new European champion to take over in Louis Giard’ absence as the reigning European champion is also resting this event. The top contenders will come from Pawel Tarnowski, racing at his home club here in Poland. Tarnowski was in medal position contention up until the medal race at the World championships and will have a hunger to avenge a poor final race and secure the European title at this event.
Italians Mattia Camboni and Daniele Benedetti will continue their battle which has gone on since 2017. Where Camboni has come out on top at the last two major events, Benedetti has been closing the gap and had provisionally held the lead during the qualification races last week – something that will fill him with confidence this week. Finally, Byron Kokkalanis from Greece and Poland’s Piotr Myszka, the veterans of the fleet, will also be looking to upset the younger sailors and show that their experience can count at these significant events.
In the senior women’s fleet, the door is open for Emma Wilson from Great Britain to claim her first senior championship title. Her fourth place showing at the World championships last week was exceptional and with the medallists from that event missing, Wilson will be amongst the favourites for the title. Another contender will be Zofia Noceti-Klepacka from Poland who won this event in 2017 and will be here to defend her title and the home nations interests.
Katy Spychakov from Israel, fourth at the Europeans in 2017, had a tough week at the World championships and will be looking to bounce back and have a strong week as will a number of other sailors who left Aarhus with some regrets or disappointment.
The Youth fleets have had a busy summer and there have been different winners in each of the year’s main events. In the boys fleet, Fabian Pianazza from France and Nicolo Renna from Italy have been exchanging blows, with Pianazza taking the RS:X Youth Worlds and Renna being the top European in the World Sailing Youth Championships. Both sailors are favourites for the title this week.
In the girls fleet, Islay Watson from Great Britain won the World Sailing Youth Championships where Giorgia Speciale from Italy won the RS:X Youth Worlds – both events were held in very different conditions and both Watson and Speciale will be hoping for their specialist conditions this week.
Poland’s Weronika Marciniak and Lidia Sulikowska will be the best representatives for the hosts in the girls and Alexsander Przychodzen will be the top polish boy sailor.
There are 12 races scheduled over the next four days for each fleet which can be followed online as all fleets will carry trackers.
RESULTS will be available when race commences here – http://www.rsxclass.org/europeans2018/
WATCH the tracking online when racing commences here – http://RSX.SailRacer.org