Yesterday the 2013 SAP 49er and 49erFX European Championships commenced in Aarhus, Denmark. The day started out with all the makings of a glamour sailing day only to have a squall roll through in close proximity to start time creating significant variability and trying conditions for all competitors. National Team Coach Mark Asquith commented, 'real tough race course today, as you can see from the scores teams capable of winning this event put up some big numbers'.
The 2013 SAP 49er & 49erFX European Championship is organized by Sailing Aarhus in co-operation with Aarhus Sailing Club and with the support of the municipality of Aarhus, Sport Event Denmark, SAP, SEIKO, VOLVO, HENRI LLOYD, CABINN.
Canada is represented by three teams in the 91 boat 49er fleet including: David Mori/Justin Barnes of RCYC, the Ferguson Brothers of RCYC and team veterans Jon Ladha and Daniel Inkpen of RNYC. The team is competing in Denmark under the watchful eye of Canada’s newest High Performance Coach Mark Asquith. After a warm-up event in Kiel the team has relocated to Denmark and has been diligently preparing for these championships. The event is seen as a quality opportunity to assess the current standards of the team, with time in play to take knowledge home and prepare for the World Championships hosted in late September. Asquith comments, 'these events are not about results, we need to continue working on learning 49er racing before we can even dream of worrying about the scoreboard', sage advice delivered to the developing squad.
Canada’s fortunes on day one appear as mixed as the conditions with Ladha/Inkpen suffering a disappointing 27th after spending the majority of the race in the top 10, but showed character and roared back in race two with a third, similarly the Mori/Barnes team started on the back foot with a retirement in race one, which they followed up with an impressive race win. Team Ferguson rounded out the squad with a 26-24 for the day.
Racing continues through July 7th with the format appearing as follows:
Days 1 and 2: Qualifying racing with 3 fleets – not more than 7 races will be completed in this stage.
Days 3-5: sees the fleet split into Gold, Silver and Bronze with 31 boats forming the initial Gold Fleet.
Day 1 of Gold Fleet: Three races with the top 31 boats from qualifying
Day 2 of Gold Fleet: Three races with the top 31 boats from qualifying plus the top performing boat from Silver fleet added to the mix.
Day 3 of Gold Fleet: Top 16 boats overall – Four races
The Petit Final will be raced for boats placing 9-16th – Three races, no discards, double points
Top eight boats plus the winner of the Petit Final will race for the title.
An interesting new format twist which will invariably provide much excitement.