1720s head for Largs

Andi Robertson previews this year's Europeans, starting today

Wednesday September 1st 2004, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
The Old Pultney 1720 European Championships are scheduled to start today off the Scottish Sailing Institute at Largs and should see the first round of what promises to be an engaging title battle between the best of the Irish, Scottish and English fleets of these popular one design sportsboats.

Looking to uphold the Scottish hopes as the championships come to Scotland and the Clyde for the first time ever, will be Tarbert's Ruairidh and Graeme Scott on King Quick. While they cut their teeth in Scotland as one of the first active boats in Scotland, their long years of experience have paid off and King Quick recently won the Irish National title during Cork Week in July. They showed well also this year at the UK National Championships where they won two races but had to miss most of the regatta due to serious gear failure. King Quick are also past winners of the Welsh Nationals and also the overall Bell Lawrie Scottish Series.

England's best hopes surely rest with G&T, the current UK National Champions, which combines the full talents of the Greenhalgh family. With Rob, Pete and Libby and father David all sailing on G&T, they will be among the title favourites. With a regular record in the top five of 1720 championships Mike Budd on Animal/Gul races the boat which last year won the title as YachtsandYachting.com in the hands of Glen Bourke. Work commitments mean Bourke is not in Scotland to defend his title. Among the other top boats Mark Rushall is on mainsheet and tactics on Darren Baker's Mad Cow, Rob Larke sails on Twister and Ian Atkins' Boats.com has an excellent record in the Solent fleet.

Predictably a strong Irish contingent among the 28 boat fleet will be jousting for the honours. 2002 European Champions Aquatack sailed be Des Faherty has Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell as tactician and will face stiff opposition from their Howth fleet clubmates Wet & Black which has Dan O'Grady and North Sails' Nigel Young among an experienced afterguard. World Council Chairman Conor Clarke has top Finn sailors Charlie Cumbley and Matt Howard among his crew, while Royal Ulster's Irish Spars, owned by Shaun
Douglas and steered by Gareth Flanigan are also likely to mount a serious challenge.

11 races are due to be sailed, with three each day scheduled today, Thursday, Friday, finishing with two on Saturday. Light to moderate breezes and sunshine are expected until Friday with stronger winds for Saturday.

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