Thirty nations are set to come head to head on Lake Traunsee, Austria at the 2009 470 European Championships. Eighty-two men's-mixed and 39 women's teams will be competing at the opening 470 Championship of 2009, hosted by the Union Yacht Club Traunsee.
The Championships will welcome all the top three crews from the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings for both the men's and women's fleets, which are currently led by Stuart MCNAY
and William MCBRIDE
(USA) and Henriette KOCH
and Lene SOMMER
Whilst for many of the 2008 Olympic Champions, it is still time out since their successes in Beijing, elements of three of the medal placing Olympic men's crews will be contesting victory. Olympic gold medallist crew Malcolm PAGE
(AUS) with new helm Mathew BELCHER
, Olympic silver medallist Nick ROGERS
with new crew Pom GREEN
(GBR) and the bronze medallist Nicolas CHARBONNIER
also with a new crew pairing of Baptiste MEYER
(FRA). Finding their feet as a new team, BELCHER and PAGE have had a strong start to the season, with four events to their credit to secure themselves a position of 24 on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings
and 7 on the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings
. ROGERS and GREEN will make the team's third appearance since ROGERS' Olympic medal, having secured a fourth place at the ISAF Grade 3 Palamos Christmas Race and a 14 place at the ISAF World Cup Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE. They currently hold an ISAF World Sailing Ranking of 8 but are yet to score sufficient points to appear on the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings.
The Olympic bronze medallist helm, CHARBONNIER, with new crew MEYER have opened their 2009 season with top ten results at the three ISAF Sailing World Cup events which they have contested; second at the ISAF World Cup Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE, fourth at the Semaine Olympique Francaise and fourth at the Delta Lloyd Regatta - to sit in fourth on both the World Cup Standings and the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. A mere point ahead of them on the World Cup Standings in third place are fellow teammates Pierre LEBOUCHER
and Vincent GAROS
(FRA) who have contested four of the World Cup events. So the performances of these crews at the Europeans, whilst not counting to the World Cup Standings, will contribute towards the personal battle being fought between them.
The women's fleet will see teams from 20 nations facing each other on the race course, including three of the top ten crews on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, including Ai KONDO
and Wakako TABATA
(JPN) who sit in second, Giulia CONTI
and Giovanna MICOL
(ITA) in third and on home waters with a world ranking of #5 and second on the ISAF World Cup Standings, the Austrian pairing of Sylvia VOGL
and Carolina FLATSCHER
. For the renowned faces at the head of the fleet through to the relative newcomers, such as the crew of Kate WILLIAMS
and Sarah WILLIAMS
(GBR) who with a ranking of #114 sit towards the back of the ranked sailors, it will be interesting to see the racing unfold as they come head to head on the waters of Lake Traunsee.
With the 470 Junior Worlds taking place from 10-18 July, the Europeans may prove a form guide to see how some of the younger crews deliver amongst the more senior crews in the European fleet, before competing in the 21 and under age group at the Junior Worlds in Thessaloniki, Greece. The youngest helms in each fleet are both German crews, with Magnus MASILGE
at 17 years with crew Moritz KLINGENBERG
in the men's-mixed fleet, and Magdalena HUBERT-REH
at 16 years and crew of sister Sophia HUBERT-REH
in the women's keen to demonstrate that their young years will prove a bonus.
The Race Management team at the 470 Europeans is headed up by Helmut CSAZNY (AUT), with the International Jury chaired by Magriet PANNEVIS (NED) and the Measurement Team headed up by Andy HALCON (ESP) and Gabor CSERNUSSI (HUN).
The qualifying series gets underway from 8-10 June, with the final series and Medal Race scheduled for 11-14 June. Full reports, photos and results will be available on the event website: www.traunseewoche.at