Tornado Europeans preview

Mark Bulkeley looks at next weeks championship, who the runners and riders are and the recent rule changes to the Tornado
On Monday over 60 Tornados will gather in Vastervik; Sweden, for their European Championships, with 10 races scheduled through to a finish on Saturday. Vastervik is a small holiday town on the east coast of Sweden; about 3 hours drive south of Stockholm. Not normally known for its racing heritage, it is in fact the home of Marstrom Composites who build the Tornados, and over the past 15 years have turned the class into a virtual one design. In what is typically a quiet year; post Olympics, the Tornado class has undergone some significant changes which came into effect after Athens 2004. Following a Ballot of the class association a Carbon mast was introduced to the class, along with some minor rule changes to encourage a more one design fleet, as well as to reduce costs (Some would argue that introducing a carbon mast and reducing costs are mutually exclusive!). As a result of these changes it has been quite a busy year and all of the top teams from last time round are back, including medallists from Athens. With the Rig changes and some restrictions in sail cloth, notably the banning of T-fibre (a laminated cloth made by Cuben Fibre which Leigh and I together with the Americans and Mitch Booth developed for Athens) 2005 has been a busy year with a complete re design on mainsails needed to match the new Carbon Masts. Most of the fleet have been working with Pablo Soldano of Ulmann sails, who has a large share of the market for mainsails and jibs, and has been working with us closely this year. With so much going on with the masts and mainsails the rest of the sail plan has stayed the same with the majority of the fleet still using Gran Segel spinnakers. Apart from