Youth Croatians are the new European champions

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic win the 470 Europeans, while Conti/Micol claim the women's division

Monday June 15th 2009, Author: 470 Class Association, Location: United Kingdom
At 7am on Sunday morning, racing successfully got underway for both the Men's and Women's class at the 470 European Championships in Austria. One race in each event was needed to make the Championship valid and a light early morning breeze fulfilled this requirement smoothly.

Men's 470

Japan's Harada Ryunosuko and Yoshida Yugo won the Open men's 470 event, while Croatia's Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic won the European Championship title, coming home second overall and first among crews representing European countries and countries from the Mediterranean basin.

For Fantela and Marenic, it's their first time to win a medal at a senior International 470 class Championship, although previously they have won the 470 Junior Worlds twice, in 2005 and 2007. With the European title under their belt, the 23 year olds are set to become one of the class' most competitive pairing in this new Olympic cycle.

“This is the most excellent feeling we´ve had so far in sailing. It's our first major victory," said Fantela. "It was extremely difficult this week, but the race committee did a fantastic job under this hard conditions. It is far easier for us to sail on the sea. Here on the Traunsee you need a good eye for wind shifts and a lot of routine. We gave our maximum every day and every race. This result is a confirmation for us and our trainers, that we are all going in the right direction.”

Lucas Zellmer and Heiko Seelig from Germany won their first medal in an International 470 class Championship, taking home silver.

Italy's Gabrio Zandona took the bronze medal with his new team mate Eduardo Mancinelli, having started his professional sailing career with Andrea Trani. Zandona and Trani won their first Championship (bronze) medal at the 470 Europeans in 2001, and went on to win the 470 World's title at the 2003 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Next to sailing 470s, Zandona sails Melges 24 where he led his team to the European title in 2005.

Dutch duo, Sven Coster and Kalle Coster finished fourth overall. They had their first big success at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships, where they took home the silver medal. In 2008, they won silver at the 470 Europeans, but lost bronze in Qingdao last year in the last half hour of the competition to France's Nicolas Charbonnier and Olivier Bausset.

Charbonnier, now sailing with Baptiste Meyer, is known as a very talented and successful sailor in many types of sailing disciplines. After many successes in youth sailing, he combined his 470 Olympic program while being part of the sailing team for K-Challenge's last America's Cup campaign. He is also a keen multihull racer.

Australia's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page end their second event as a pairing fifth in the Open Event.

Victor Kovalenko, coaching the Australian 470 team into a new Olympic period looks back onto the development of, and conditions during the event. The event has brought experiences to his team, that will help them on their path to another Olympic gold. But most of all, and typical for Kovalenko's character, he admires the efforts and success of others.

“It was an interesting, challenging event, and successful in general. We had difficult conditions, but in the end the best sailors show on top. If there would have been more races, the results would not have been different. We congratulate the winners because they deserve it. And about the Croatians, they have been working for this for so long now ,we are very happy for them!.

"For us, it was a good learning school. We had complex light winds, thermical winds, cold and sweet water, all types of conditions that we don't have in Australia. In the end, we are very happy with our results."

Women's 470

Italy's Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol maintained their lead in the women's event to claim the European title.

After Conti's Olympic adventure in the Yngling class that ended in Athens 2004, she teamed up with Micol in 470s. They started the competition in the women's 470 in 2005, and worked their way up to win silver at the 2008 World Championship.

“It is a great feeling," said Conti. "It is our first win at the Europeans after being second in 2007. We did a fantastic job over the whole week. Only today we had a bad race, which we discarded. I am extremely happy that we are still able to be in front after quitting racing after the Olympics. We started to sail together three weeks ago and now we are the champions. The conditions during the week were challenging, but we can say that it was a fair championship. Traunsee is a beautiful place and tricky to sail. With a bit more weather luck, it would have been a fantastic spot.”

Winners of the ISAF World Cup Delta Lloyd Regatta last month, Japan' sAi Kondo and Wakoko Tabata came close to take second place in the Open Women's event. Kondo and Tabata, two helms, teamed up after the 2008 Olympics.

Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos from Spain took second place in the European Championship. They seem to do very well in senior events. At last year's 470 Women's Junior Europeans and Worlds, they had to allow other crews like Hannah Mills and Katrina Hughes in front of them, however at the latest Semaine Olympique Francaise they made great progress to take fourth overall, far ahead of the other Junior women.

Greece's Anthi Economou and Olga Tsigaridi had their first success in a senior 470 class Championship taking bronze but by only 0.8 points ahead of Margriet Fokkema and Marieke Jongens, and they in turn managed to stay on top of their Dutch team mate Mandy Mulder and Merel Witteveen, silver medalists in the Yngling class at the 2008 games.

In the Open event, New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie took third. The women's top performing crew experienced more classes as a team, and individually as well. Previously they won the 420 Ladies' World Championships, and took a shot for a first 470 experience at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships to end 15th. Aleh then switched to the Laser Radial, where she won silver at the Test events in 2006 and 2007, coming seventh in Qingdao. After the Olympics, Aleh and Powrie got together to start a 470 campaign for Londen 2012.

The next International 470 class Championship will be the 470 Worlds, to take place in Copenhagen on 20-29 August, with the ISAF World Cup Kiel Week in between.

Results: men.pdf women.pdf

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