by John Friend
The Eurosaf Match Racing, European Youth Open Championship has now completed the first day of competition in Marsala, Sicily and the weather has been very kind with sunshine and wind, enabling twelve flights of first round-robin to be completed, despite a wait for the wind in the morning.
EUROSAF Match Racing, European Youth Open Championship 2011
Finishing twelve flights may well prove to be a bonus, because an area of high pressure is currently ‘hovering’ over this area of the Mediterranean and wind could be at a premium as the championship progresses.
After the first ten flights Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) and Valerio Galati (ITA) have each won five races, giving them 100% records. Behind them Austria, Slovenia and Russia each had three wins, but elsewhere teams were with one or two wins apiece. Nobody amongst this group of match racing sailors started with zero wins, which is excellent, considering the wide difference in the experience between those taking part. This bodes well for the development of a new generation of match racing sailors.
The back ground to this event is based on the fact that after reaching the age of 19, many young sailors have few options in the sport, unless they are in that very small minority of elite athletes who are selected for Olympic development squads.
At the same time, while the professional match racing circuits seems to be flourishing, it is very difficult for young sailors to break into this area of the sport, so the Eurosaf strategy was to create an annual event that will allow young sailors, in this case under 22 (on 31st December), to experience a high quality international event, in a discipline of the sport that does not normally offer such an opportunity to promising young sailors. Hopefully, this will encourage them to continue sailing and will see a new generation of match racers emerging to replace those who are currently top of the tree.
All the Race Officials at the event the event are of an international standard and the host club have gone out of their way to make the sailors welcome. Thanks to the generosity of the Region and the Society Canottieri, once in Sicily there is absolutely no cost for the competitors.
Racing continues on Saturday and concludes on Sunday. The teams are:
DEN Joachim Aschenbrenner, Daniel Arildsen, Simon Østergaard, Sebastian Bennetsen
ITA1 Valerio Galati, Francesco Mastrogiacomo, Francesco Mauro Manzi, Marco di Domizio
GBR Mark Lees, Peter Austin, Toby Mumford, Tom Forrester-Coles
SWE Jakob Klitte, Felix Mossberg, Fredrik Höije Karlsson
RUS Ivan Biryukov, Vadim Valiev, Maxim Klyavlin, Vyacheslav Martynov
SUI Alexa Bezel, Nelson Mettraux, Remi Aeschimann, Laurane Mettraux
ITA2 Massimo Attina, Francesco Genna, Giuseppe Cappello, Danilo
SLO Gorazd Rajar, Blaž Jeršan, Klemen Cernak, Tit Plevnik
GER Anke Lukosch, Karl Martin Gurgel, Robert Lau, Kai Bertallot
AUT Max Trippolt, Julian Meister, Lukas Linhart, Simon Bildstein
FRA Christophe Francois, Gabriel Skoczek, Thibaut Soler, Marc Mallaret
USA AJ Reiter, JP Barnes, Kyle Sutter, Patrick Snow