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31 May 2011, 09:32 am
Access Class European Championships Decided
Britain's Alex Kate
Britain's Alex Kate

Access Class 2011 European Championships
Lake Garda, Italy

A gentle 'Pelair' breeze greeted sailors on Sunday for the final day of racing in the 2011 Access Class European Championships.
The event attracted 56 sailors from 10 nations. While Access Class competitions are open, 80% of sailors at the European Championships had some form of disability.

Pedro Cancio Reis (POR) scored 1-2 on the final day to secure the European Championship in the Access 2.3. Lindsay Burns (GBR) held on to second overall and Bruno Pereira (POR) moved up a place to claim third overall.

Six straight first places throughout the Championship meant that Zoltan Pegan (HUN) was European Champion in the Access 303 Single Person. Pegan adds this to his Single Person 303 World Championship title. Luca Mantovani (ITA) and Paul Phillips (GBR) both retained their places and finished in second and third place overall.

Australian Barry Coates also posted another two wins in the Liberty division to claim the Liberty Championship with a six point break on Vera Voorbach (NED). While denied the Open trophy, Voorbach was presented with the European Championship Liberty Servo trophy. Russell Phillips (AUS) built a seven point margin over the next competitor and secured third overall.

The afternoon breeze looked promising and the first heat for each of the two divisions provided good racing, but the wind evaporated after the second 303 race was started and the Race Officer was forced to abandon racing for that division. The SKUDs managed to complete their eights heat on the last of the breeze.

Series leaders in the Access 303 Two-Person competition, Zoltan Pegan and Eva Mircsev (HUN), finished their regatta with another first place, giving them a nine point victory over the field. They retain their European Championship title won in Port Camargue, France in 2009. Joshua Rothenhaeusler and Dominique Scheller (SUI) finished second overall, a couple of points ahead of Julian Mueller and Fabio Rosa (SUI).

Two second place finishes for Alex Hovden and Kate Mannerings (GBR) on the final day was just enough to give them a single point break over Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA). Andrea Stella and Pietro Piccoli (ITA) were in third place heading into the final day, but a DNF enabled Shimon Ben Yakov and Zehavi Hagar (ISR) to steal the final podium place.

The next Access Class European Championships are scheduled to be held in 2013. Possible venues include Hungary and Switzerland. Further information will be available from www.accessclass.org.

David Staley
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