470 Open European Championship: Swedes dominate Europe
Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco in partnership with SLAM and FxPro, the 470 Open European Championship, an Olympic class for men and women attracted 90 teams from 26 nationalities. The event which went way beyond the borders of the Old Continent drew sailors from all over the world, many of them from the Olympic route.
A delighted YCM General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri, said “It is really incredible to host a regatta of this level. Conditions were perfect and the public blown away by the spectacle on the water. Again, this event illustrates to perfection the Club’s position on its sailing policy.”
Orchestrated by Nino Shmueli, coordinator of the 470 class and International Race Officer at World Sailing (formerly ISAF), the regatta had been “a success. The YCM has ideal facilities for this type of meeting. It was a remarkable championship.”
Winning top three
In the 470 Men’s, the Swede-France-Australian trio battled it out for the top three positions from start to finish. World No. 1 pair, Swedes Carl-Fredrik Fock and Marcus Dackhammar performed like a well-oiled machine and left Monaco as 470 European Champions 2017. Hard work by Guillaume Pirouelle and Jérémie Mion saw the Frenchmen make a spectacular comeback to become Vice-Champions. “It’s my first big international regatta with Jérémie. We were communicating all the time and that really paid off” said a delighted helmsman.
With a list of prizes as wide as their country and a cool headedness worthy of the greats, the Australians Will Ryan and Mathew Belcher, Vice-Champions at the Rio Olympics, failed to upset the order despite the presence of Victor Kovalenko at their side. The Ukrainian coach, nicknamed “Medal Maker” Down Under is behind many sailors’ success: nine Olympic medals, six of which are gold. This evening he was made an honorary member of the YCM. A distinction presented to him by Bernard d’Alessandri, “I am certain that this is the beginning of a great partnership, working together to prepare a new generation of competitive sailors.”
Although the Australians finished 3rd, they did not leave with the Bronze Medal round their necks as that went to Spaniards Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez (only participants from Europe had the chance to compete for a medal in the Medal Race).
Sailors on the cleat
Combative, experienced, formidable – words cannot describe the 82 women on the water who went head to head without hesitation throughout the eight races, tacks and gybes coming off in quick succession.
Event favourites the Dutch provided their rivals with a lesson in sailing. Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen, 4th at the Rio Olympics, well deserved the Gold Medal having started the regatta way behind the top three. Equally at ease in the light winds as in 25 knots, the all-new European Champions demonstrated astute tactical skills leaving little doubt as to the outcome of the regatta.
Italians Elena Berta and Sveva Carraro, who had difficulty catching the pack at the start of the Championship, cleverly engineered their performance to win the Silver Medal, dethroning the Polish pair Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Jolanta Ogar who finished 3rd.
The best teams in the under-23 category (men and women), the youngest teams (men and women) and veterans of the 420 who put in the best performance at this 470 Championship were also presented with prizes at the prize-giving ceremony.
There is no let-up at the Yacht Club de Monaco as it gears up for another spectacular event with the Monaco Solar & Electric Boat Challenge from 13-15 July.
Final overall ranking:
1st: Afrodite Zegers / Anneloes van Veen (NE), 49 points
2nd: Elena Berta / Sveva Carraro (ITA), 56 points
3rd: Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Jolanta Ogar (POL), 62 points
1st: Carl-Fredrik Fock / Marcus Dackhammar (SWE), 26 points
2nd: Guillaume Pirouelle / Jérémie Mion (TUR), 35 points
3rd: Will Ryan / Mathew Belcher (AUST), 36 points
4th: Jordi Xammar /Nicolas Rodriguez (SP), 40 points