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6 August 2009, 12:01 pm
Stars Line Up For EUROSAF European Match Racing Championship In Denmark
The EUROSAF European Match Racing Championships logo

EUROSAF European Match Racing Championships 2009
Middelfart, Denmark

On the eve of the EUROSAF European Match Racing Championships 2009, the scale of this regatta is becoming very clear.
With 32 of the best men's and women's teams from the highly competitive match racing world, there are 160 sailors before you even start counting the army of organising and administrative staff who are making this event happen in Middelfart, site of the world's biggest purpose-built match racing venue, Match Race Denmark.

"We've got 18 umpires for this event," says regatta chief Soren LAUGESEN. "We need them because I believe this is the biggest match racing event ever hosted. That's what I've been told. We have worked hard to make sure that we have 12 boats in top condition, equally matched, and with a spare boat in each fleet. We are ready."

The men's teams will compete in DS37 Match Racers and the women in the smaller "match 28" keelboats. Competition is likely to be fierce. Indeed it was fierce even in practice today when two of the men's teams lost their damage deposit after a collision. With 19 flights of races scheduled over the next two days of round robin competition, the race committee will have their work cut out keeping the regatta on track. However the men's principal race officer Andreas KUCHLER didn't anticipate any major problems. "They are all sailors of a high standard, so they will help us do our job as well as they can," he said. He was more concerned about keeping the same weather as today. "If it could be like it was in practice then it would be perfect." It was hot, sunny, and most importantly, blowing a pleasant Force 2-3.

The competitors from 20 nations are beginning to get the sense that not only is this event well organised but it is also going to be a lot of fun. LAUGESEN is expecting 10,000 spectators to watch the racing over the next four days, attracted to one of the most scenic parts of Denmark, and also to the Middelfart Jazz Fezztival which is taking place in the town nearby. "The racing will be very close to the shore, there'll be live race commentary aimed at people who know nothing about sailing, there'll be live GPS tracking and a jazz band playing, so we think people are going to have a good time here," said LAUGESEN.

Nearly all the sailors and organizers are being accommodated in Hindsgavl Slot, a castle dating back to the 13th century but which today has been converted into a beautiful hotel. After a buffet meal, the competitors and organizers went to an open ceremony in the hotel grounds, where a four-cannon salute pronounced the EUROSAF European Match Racing Championship 2009 officially open.

Chairman of the EUROSAF Events Committee, Dan IBSEN, looked forward to having a joint men's and women's European Championship for the first time. "I think it will be something that happens every year now," he said. "It makes a lot of sense to have men and women at the same regatta. Also, with women's match racing now an Olympic event we are seeing more interest - both in Denmark and internationally - in this part of the sport than ever before. In Denmark we made a special effort to promote match racing from the early 1990s onwards, and it is great to be hosting this event now at Match Race Denmark, here in Middelfart."

The EUROSAF European Match Racing Championship 2009 is one of a number of high profile sailing regattas taking place in Denmark this summer as part of wider festival of different sports, called Denmark's Year of Sport. To do their utmost to ensure that their events are held to the highest possible standards the Danish Sailing Association is working with the support of the insurance company CODAN (part of Sun Alliance Group), to provide TracTrac tracking during the Laser Radial Europeans, Finn Gold Cup, EUROSAF Match Racing Europeans and 470 World Championship. The Danish Sailing Association has purchased 150 state-of-the-art GPS tracking devices, allowing races to be followed in real time over the internet.

Last year the TracTrac tracking of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark was followed by nearly 30,000 viewers from 69 countries all over the world.

Entry List

Women
(Skipper's Name, Nation, ISAF Match Race World Ranking as at 8 July)

Lucy MACGREGOR, Great Britain, 3
Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN, Denmark, 5
Silke HAHLBROCK, Germany, 6
Julie BOSSARD, France, 9
Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM, Denmark, 13
Anne-claire LE BERRE, 14
Karin HAGSTROM, Sweden, 17
Rita GONCALVES, Portugal, 18
Giulia CONTI, Italy, 22
Charlotte LAWRENCE, Great Britain, 35
Susanne WARD, Denmark, 41
Anne LE HELLEY, France, 42
Mary ROOK, Great Britain, 50
Renee GROENEVELD, Netherlands, 64
Ekaterina SKUDINA, Russia, 118
Katie ARCHER, Great Britain, 257

Open
(Skipper's Name, Nation, ISAF Match Race World Ranking as at 8 July)

Philippe PRESTI, France, 8
Paolo CIAN, Italy, 9
Johnie BERNTSSON, Sweden, 10
Mads EBLER, Denmark, 12
Jure OREL, Slovenia, 15
Álvaro MARINHO, Portugal, 18
Pierre-Antoine MORVAN, 20
Staffan LINDBERG, Finland, 23
Eric MONNIN, Switzerland, 27
Gian Luca PERRIS, Monaco, 29
Lars NORDBJERG, Denmark, 31
Marek STANCZYK, Poland, 32
Jan- Eike ANDRESEN, Germany, 38
Ali HALL, Great Britain, 53
Jurjen FEITSMA, Netherlands, 70
Maxim TARANOV, Russia, unranked
Danish Sailing Association
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