The first race of the 2013 Europeans Championship got underway yesterday (Tuesday 9th April) at the third attempt. After two general recall’s, the Black Flag was implemented and got everyone’s attention to give a clear start to the 62 boat fleet. The line was well set and with current against it was difficult to know which side of the beat would prove advantageous. The sea’s were lumpy and the 8 to 10 kts of wind from just south of west, had the fleet completely spread out over the 2.2 mile windward/leeward course.

As the boats came together from both sides of the course at the windward mark it was obvious that the left-hand side had paid. The three main “players” of the day were DEN 405 Jens Christensen, GBR 761 Gavia Wilkinson-Cox and DEN 406 Jorgen Schonherr who all came from the left and were please to set their spinnakers first to make use of the now favourable current on the downwind leg. With so many top sailors taking part in this championship it was a day “if only” and “why didn’t we”…  Bla Bla Bla..

The fact of the matter was that for some reason the left-hand side seemed to pay more than the right, (probably a combination of pressure and current), but it was difficult to know this before the start, so some top names had real “Character Building” results. It would be unfair to name any as there are so many teams here that could win this Championship, but many of those will be saying, thank God there are more races to come….

So back to the front of the fleet…  Because the left had paid on the first upwind leg, DEN 405, GBR 761 and DEN 406 all chose the right-hand gate buoy and headed left again. Meanwhile other front running boats that rounded the left-hand gate, where soon to be seen tacking back onto starboard to also make use of the left-hand side. Towards the end of the second beat, GBR 761 Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, crewed by Mark Hart and Philip Catmur, had shown great speed to sail pass DEN 405 Jens Christensen and rounded the top mark first ahead of DEN 406 Jorgen Schonherr, then Christensen.

The final run saw a slight wind-shift to the right, which Jens Christensen was the first to react on and gybed onto port. Jorgen Schonherr immediately followed suit and this manoeuvre put him back closer to Gavia who was now further towards the left-hand side of the course still waiting for the shift to reach them…  At the finish it was Jorgen Schonherr who just got his bow across the line first to take the victory, from Gavia in 2nd and Jens 3rd….

So there we have it my friends, an exciting finish to a well organised first race of this great Championship. Crews were then welcomed ashore to drinks and a Pork BBQ hosted by the Portuguese Dragon Fleet. The daily winning team of  DEN 406 Jorgen, Jan and Peter were awarded their small prizes and a good time was had by all. Today there are two races scheduled, with a start time of 12.00. Slightly more wind is forecast so there should be no problem in completing the on the water programme, before returning to the Club Naval de Cascais for a reception sponsored by Transbunker…..

Higher, Faster, Longer………….   Stavros (USA 310).