President’s 14th Letter - 23/10/2019

Dear friends,

I wish you had a wonderful sailing summer; I feel confident fall will be propitious.

EUROSAF was not idle during this period and I am happy to report on some achievements

2019 EUROSAF Events

The EUROSAF Women Match Race Europeans took place in Lake Ledro, Italy, from 20 to 23 June. Pauline Courtois (FRA) won gold, with silver and bronze going respectively to Silke Hahlbrock-Basedow (GER) and Sanna Hager (SWE).

Two weeks later, from 3 to 7 July, the same lovely Italian lake saw youth teams battle for the EUROSAF Youth Match Race Europeans. The gold, silver, and bronze medals went to the Italian, French, and British teams.

The EUROSAF L30 European Championship was sailed in Gargnano, Lake Garda, Italy, from 2 to 5 September. It took place between two famous regattas, Gorla and Centomiglia, which also welcomed many of the teams. The winner was Sharifa, skippered by its owner Rasmus Töpsch (GER), followed by 14, helmed by Jonas Gerckens (BEL) who was at the same time training for the EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship, and Present Perfect, steered by its owner Tenke Dupeter (HUN).

Followed closely the EUROSAF Pirat European Championship in Bayramoğlu, Turkey, held from 15 to 20 September and clearly dominated by German sailors.

The first EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship, which followed World Sailing guidelines for the future Olympic event and used the boat chosen by World Sailing for the 2020 World Championship in Malta, was clearly a hit. After a memorable prestart in front of San Marco square, Venice, on October 9, the fleet took to the Tyrrhenian Sea and sailed in Italian, Croatian, and Serbian waters before coming back to Italy for the night finish in Trieste in the early hours of October 11. The Austrian winners (Lisa Berger – Christian Kargl) celebrated the offshore way, lighting a red flare on the finishing line, while facing headwind gusts of up to 30 knots. The rest of the fleet finished during the night and the early morning to enjoy the Barcolana ambience the following day. Silver went to the Belgian team (Sophie Faguet – Jonas Gerckens) and bronze to the French team (Mathilde Géron – Pierre Leboucher). The EUROSAF event tested the concept and the guidelines, proved the suitability of the L30 OD boat for such an event, generated a working experience for both the class and the organizers, and ascertained the media—both social and traditional—appeal of the event, which was outstanding.

The last event this year was the EUROSAF Open Match Race European Championship taking place in Šibenik, Croatia, from 9 to 13 October. The winner was Eric Monnin (SUI), followed on the podium steps by Ettore Botticini (ITA) and Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA).

Thank you to all organising authorities, club staff and volunteers, race officials, and of course sailors and their support teams, who were involved with EUROSAF events this year!

Gdynia Sailing Days

First vice-president Tomasz Chamera and myself were in Poland in July during the Volvo Gdynia Sailing Days when the whole city comes out of its way to put sailing centre stage. Championships come in close succession for a month-long sailing festival. Of course Tomasz was there as president of Polish Yachting Association and main organiser of the regattas. Among the many important and well-attended events this year, the top one was probably the Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships, organized to a huge success in a privileged location in the very centre of Gdynia’s waterfront, in between two marinas. The prize giving ceremony was outstanding with warmth and creativity.

Among the many activities taking place at the same time it is worth mentioning the Wind and Water Boat Show where the ESA-WEST project received strong shows of interest from Polish sailing industry leaders.

Volvo Gdynia Sailing Days is a first-class example of a strong and fruitful collaboration between a dynamic national sailing federation, a welcoming city, and committed sponsors to deliver top-level events for mutual benefit, sailing showcasing and expansion, and sailors’ development and enjoyment.

EUROSAF meeting in Bermuda

As we have been doing since 2017, we will convene a EUROSAF informal meeting during the World Sailing Annual Conference to directly inform your delegates about EUROSAF projects. The tentative date and time are Wednesday 30 from 1900 to 2030; meeting point at the Networking Event starting at 1830 in the Poinciana Foyer. One of the topics we plan to touch upon is the experience gained with the new Mixed Offshore Championship and plans for 2020.

I look forward to meeting you in Bermuda in less than a week and wish you a safe trip.

Best regards,

Josep M. PLA