France, Sweden top 470 Europeans

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Sanremo, Italy (May 14, 2019) – The 470 European Championship concluded today with the top ten teams competing in the medal races, sailed in perfect Mediterranean conditions.

As the most prized regatta after the Olympics and World Championship, both the men’s and the women’s top ten standings were so close to give everyone a chance to grab a medal, adding expectation to the mix.

Despite some hours’ waiting, shortly before 2 p.m. the wind set and enabled the Race Committee to launch the medal races on windward/leeward course, that were concluded in less than half an hour.

Ladies kicked-off first, and in a nice westerly France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz took the lead, carefully covering their closest rivals Afrodite Zegers/Lobke Berkhout from the Netherlands and Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Ogar, with British Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre trying to get free from the mid of the pack.

Behind the French team – bronze medalists in Rio 2016 – who rounded all the marks in first, the fight for the double-points medal race flared up, with the Dutch and the Polish swapping places. Closing in second and in third was not enough for the Skrzypulec/Ogar duo and Germany’s Nadine Boehm/Ann-Christin Goliass to reach the podium, while a fourth and fifth respectively for Mills/McIntyre and Zegers/Berkhout guaranteed silver and bronze to the much decorated female duos.

“The medal race was a tough, especially the start, but very exciting,” said helm Camille Lecointre. “We needed to sail well, think about our race. We only needed to keet an eye on the competition on the second lap. We’re very happy.”

Shortly after the women’s celebrations on the water, the Race Committee launched the starting procedure for the men, where the scoreboard was even closer, with all the ten crews having a chance to jump on the podium.

Australians Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan entered the medal race with a five-points lead on the reigning champions Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom from Sweden, with Spain’s Jordi Xammar/Nicolas Rodriguez and Greeks Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis, all at short distance from the top and all serious contenders to the medals.

The wind having picked up a bit, the start was very tense and heated with the Swedes pushing hard from the pin end of the line, and the Austrians David Bargher/Lukas Maehr getting a penalty. At the first windward mark, a collision between the Austrians and the Greeks resulted in a penalty for Mantis/Kagialis too, forcing the bronze medalists in Rio 2016 out of contention for the top spots, with New Zealanders Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox showing excellent speed and guarding their second place to the finish line.

The Australians and the Kiwis closed the match in first and second place respectively, with French pair Kevin Peponnet/Jérémie Mion in third, realizing the best comeback of the group. A fifth place guaranteed Dahlberg/Bergstrom their second consecutive European title with Xammar/Rodriguez getting a seventh and securing silver, while bronze went to the French duo.

“It’s amazing!” said the Swedish sailors, just after crossing the finish line. “It was a very tough race, everything was there to grab. We had to keep focused all the time. It’s been a very challenging week and we are super happy!”

Representing North America are three teams from the USA: Stuart McNay and David Hughes in 15th, Atlantic Brugman and Nora Brugman in 30th, and Nikole Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss in 37th after not competing on day one due to illness.

Racing at the 470 European Championship was on May 9 to 14 in Marina degli Aregai, Italy.

Podiums 470 Europeans
Women’s Europeans
Gold – Camille Lecointre/Aloise Retornaz – FRA
Silver – Hannah Mills/Eilidh McIntyre – GBR
Bronze – Afrodite Zegers/Lobke Berkhout – NED

Men’s Open
1st – Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan – AUS
2nd – Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom – SWE
3rd – Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox – NZL

Men’s Europeans
Gold – Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom – SWE
Silver – Jordi Xammar/Nicolas Rodriguez – ESP
Bronze – Kevin Peponnet/Jérémie Mion – FRA

The 470 Europeans consist of a series of fleet races and a final medal race, if more than five qualifying races have been completed, for the top 10 teams in each fleet. The racing will be on windward/leeward or trapezoid courses. The championship has an open format, that means that non-Europeans crews can compete but cannot run for the European title.

Source: Carla Anselmi / sailingscuttlebutt

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