Victory for Skudina and Ebler
Mads Ebler from Denmark and Ekaterina Skudina from Russia are the 2010 EUROSAF European Match Race champions after a day of great races that saw the competition go to the wire.
Ebler had to fight until the fifth and last race in order to beat Eric Monnin from Switzerland while Skudina beat Britain’s Lucy Macgregor in their fourth race when she crossed the finish line less than a foot ahead of her opponent. It was an impressive end to an impressive event with 24 teams in 2 classes, 2 separate races courses and a full set of double round robins, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
Macgregor, the world’s number 1 match racer, started the finals on a wrong foot. She had her timing completely off in the prestart of the first race and crossed the starting line 15 seconds behind Skudina. From that point there was no way back and Skudina got her first point easily. Macgregor came back in the following race, controlled the prestart, got off the line with better speed and stayed ahead, the pattern to guarantee victory in this event.
Skudina proved in the third race that it was up to who made less the boat handing errors was the one to have better chances. Macgregor got the upper hand at the start and led the race but a number of sloppy tacks in the second beat let Skudina get ahead and win. The fourth and final race was a nailbiter and it could have really gone one way or the other. Both crews made mistakes, Macgregor got a red flag at the bottom mark and let Skudina take the lead but then the Russian let the British separate in the last run and close the gap. It was finally Skudina that crossed the line in front by less than a foot.
It was a very important day for Russian sailing and Skudina who will now have to rush back to her desk in order to present her PhD in less than a week. Afterwards, both she and Macgregor will head to Medemblik in the Netherlands for the next event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
The Open class final was decided on the starts or better said, as Ebler pointed out, on who got control in the first 2 minutes of the first beat. According to the brand new European champion the wind was easily readable, no unpredictable shift took place and its direction went back and forth with a distinct pattern. He got control of the first race but lost the following two as Monnin was better off the line.
The turning point came at the fourth race. As Monnin put it, the big shift that took place a couple of minutes before the start had made it clear that the first beat would almost be on the layline. As a result, it was vitally important to get the correct position on the line. Nevertheless, 30 seconds before the start, Monin admitted he lost control of the prestart and handed it to Ebler. The Dane didn’t want more, took advantage of the error and went off to win the race. The final race saw again Ebler leading from the outset after a very good start. He sailed flawlessly, controlled Monnin and left him with no possibility to overtake.
After being crowned European champion, Ebler will now just have to cross to the north bank of Lake Constance in order to take part in Match Race Germany.
Alvaro Marinho from Portugal beat the French Pierre-Antoine Morvan 2-0. In the 1st race Marinho forced a penalty on Morvan at the prestart and as a result he could choose the left side, as he wanted. He controlled easily the race to the finish line. In the 2nd race, Morvan had a much better start and was comfortably ahead up to the last top mart. Unfortunately for the French, a left shift of 40 degrees at the second run powered Alvaro Marinho ahead, allowing to pass Morvan and get the bronze medal.
Lotte Meldgaard from Denmark had no real trouble dominating Cristiana Monina from Italy. A combination a very good starts and better boatspeed upwind secured the bronze medal for the Danish match racer.
In the Women's division the two semifinals were a true exhibition of match racing skills. Russia's Ekaterina Skudina prevailed over Cristiana Monina and advanced to the finals after defeating the Italian 3 to 1. Skudina was able to hit the start line with better speed and stay ahead. With the absence of any significant shifts on the Binnenbecken inner lake and with good crew work, the boat ahead stayed ahead.
The second semifinal between Lucy Macgregor and Lotte Meldgaard was a true roller coaster, again decided on who got a better start. Macgregor won the first two matches, then went on to lose the next two but finally managed to control Meldgaard in the last and decisive race. According to Macgregor, this semifinal was more about boat handling rather than match racing.
In the Open division Mads Ebler continued with the strong performance he had shown during the event. He beat Portugal's Alvaro Marinho 3-0 but as he admitted it was far from being a walk in the park!! Marinho sailed very well and proved a tough opponent but Ebler's starts were right on spot, allowing him to control the races until the finish.
Finally, Eric Monnin beat Pierre-Antoine Morvan 3-2 and got a berth at the finals.
2010 EUROSAF European Match Race Championship - Final Results
Women - Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) beats Lucy MacGregor (DEN) 3-1
Men - Mads Ebler (DEN) beats Eric Monnin (SUI) 3-2
Women - Lotte Meldgaard (DEN) beats Cristiana Monina (DEN) 2-0
Men - Alvaro Marinho (POR) beats Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) 2-0
Women - Lucy Macgregor (GBR) beats Lotte Meldgaard (DEN) 3-2
Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) beats Cristiana Monina (ITA) 3-1
Eric Monnin (SUI) beats Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) 3-2
Mads Ebler (DEN) beats Alavro Marinho (POR) 3-0