by Event media
Iker Martinez & Xabi Fernandez crowned 49er European Champions 2008
It was a Gold and Silver day for the Spanish on the final day of the 49er European Championship in Mallorca. Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández were crowned European champions for a second consecutive year, with the silver going to the Alonso brothers. Third place on the podium went to the Ukrainian sailors Rodion Luka and Geogiy Leonchuk.
The event, held at the Club Nàutic S’Arenal, enjoyed a gripping end with Spain's Martinez and Fernandez winning their third European title - second consecutive one.
The top ten teams of the '49er Europeans – Madrid 2016' sailed the final Medal race. The weather conditions in the Bay of Palma on this final day, underwent a radical change with respect to the previous days, with a East-Southeast wind from the land, constant changes of direction and speed (an average of nine knots) and a smooth sea.
The fleet sailed close together with constant changes of positions throughout the race, to the point that the team to round the windward mark first was last at the leeward mark. This happened to Pietro Sibello and Gianfranco Sibello, the current world ranking leaders, although they managed to regain places and finished second in the Medal Race.
But the focus of attention in this last race was on the two Spanish teams. Martínez and Fernández (Grand Krust Movistar), the 2004 Athens gold medallists and Spanish representatives at the 2008 Beijing Games, started the race with four point advantage over the Ukrainian team, and eight over the other Spanish team, Federico and Arturo Alonso (Alfa Romeo).
Martínez and Fernandez took the start with the assurance, and on the first beat to windward they took the right decision when the wind shifted, taking the left side of the course together with the Sibello brothers.
They were second at the windward mark while their training partners, Federico and Arturo Alonso, were fifth in front of Luka and Leonchuk. The Austrian team, Delle Kart and Resch, who were fourth overall, were also behind.
From this moment Martínez and Fernandez concentrated on keeping control over their main rivals. The Alonso brothers from Real Club Astur de Regatas de Gijón, sailed very well and after a few ups and downs crossed the line in fifth place, while the twice world champions were not lucky in the last downwind leg and finished eighth.
But their main rivals finished below fifth place: Ukrainian sailors Luka and Leonchuk were ninth; Austrian team Delle Kart and Resch seventh and US sailors Wadlow and Rast, sixth.
So, Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández were crowned European champions with two point advantage over their home rivals and team mates from the Real Federación Española de Vela, Federico & Arturo Alonso.
It is the third European title for the Spanish pair who previously won in 2002 and 2007. Also, they have won two European bronze medals (2000 and 2006) and a silver medal in 2001.
Ukrainian sailors Luka and Leonchuk had to be content with the bronze medal and with a two point advantage over the fourth placed Austrian sailors, Karth and Resch, who following this result have been selected to represent their nation at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Fifth place went to Australian team Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin, the current class World champions and winners of the Medal Race, a perfect finale to a championship that didn’t start too well for them.
49er - Final leading positions
1 ESP Iker Martinez / Xabi Fernandez 85 pts
2 ESP Federico Alonso Tellechea / Arturo Alonso Tellechea 87 pts
3 UKR Rodion Luka / Geogiy Leonchuk 91 pts
4 AUT Nico Delle Karth / Nikolaus Leopold Resch 93 pts
5 AUS Nathan Outteridge / Ben Austin 103 pts
6 USA Tim Wadlow / Chris Rast 108 pts
7 ITA Pietro Sibello / Gianfranco Sibello 113 pts
8 FRA Monteau Alexandre / Guillou Damien 118 pts
9 GER Jan Peter Peckolt / Hannes Peckolt 118 pts
10 DEN Peter Krüger Andersen / Dennis Dengsø Andersen 136 pts
The 49er European championship is sponsored by Fundación Madrid 2016, the regional ministries of Tourism, Sport and Youth of the Govern de les Illes Balears and Llucmajor city council. The regatta collaborators are firms Engel & Völkers & Cadillac and Seiko is the class sponsor.