by John Friend
The EUROSAF Youth Sailing, European Championship commences tomorrow, Monday 5th August, in the waters off the picturesque Portuguese town of Tavira, and continues until Friday 9th August, when the under 19 sailing champions of Europe will be crowned.
Laser Radial - EUROSAF Youth Sailing, European Championship
Many of the best young sailors in Europe have gathered in Tavira, Portugal, to compete in the EUROSAF Youth Sailing, Europe Championship, for which racing starts on Monday 5th August. Today, Sunday, there has been a practice race, in what were fantastic conditions, sunshine and 15 knots of wind! This is the second occasion EUROSAF have organised this multi-discipline Continental Championship for sailors under the age of 19 (on 31st December this year), and using the same equipment as that utilised in the ISAF Youth Sailing, World Championship.
Some 14 European countries have sent their sailors to compete in eight different disciplines, including girls and boys single-handed and double-handed dinghies, plus sailboards and a high performance dinghy. The equipment being used is the Laser Radial, International 420, RS:X sailboard and the 29er skiff.
Over 150 sailors, in more than 100 boats and boards, will be competing over the five days of competition, to decide who will be crowned the youth champion of Europe in each discipline. Also at stake is the prestigious Nations’ Cup: Team Trophy, which will be awarded to the top competing nation and which in 2012 was won by Italy, who are once again at the event with a large team.
The official opening ceremony takes place this evening, when the sailors will parade across the bridge that crosses the Rio Sequa, which runs through the town of Tavira, behind their national flags and into the open air amphitheatre, where each team will be introduced as they arrive. Local dignitaries will join with the sailors to celebrate the opening of the event, where the EUROSAF flag will be hoisted.