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14 June 2007, 04:54 pm
MIARCZYNSKI And ALABAU Crowned European Champions
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David BELL, Yes, No

RS:X European Championships 2007
Limassol, Cyrpus

Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) and Marina ALABAU (ESP) were crowned champions in Limassol, Cyprus, after the Medal Races brought the ISAF Grade C1 RS:X European Championships to a close. MIARCZYNSKI just held on to take the title from his team mate Piotr MYSZKA (POL), whilst Marina ALABAU (ESP) turned around her World Championship agony with a classy display in the women's fleet.
There was all to play for in the Medal Races today. They were tough to watch and even tougher for the athletes. This was a straight fight for podium places in both the men's and women's starts. First off were the men at 10:00 with around ten knots of shifty breeze in the early stages of establishing itself. There was huge drama as a result!

Men's Medal Race

Nicolas LE GAL (FRA), was hosed at the start so was forced to tack off on port with no other place to go. He and Ivan PASTOR (ESP) fought it out to the lay line. The other eight went out on starboard. LE GAL was super nervous about taking a lone flier. This was an all or bust strategy. This time it worked as he tacked back and crossed the bows of the whole fleet.

Meanwhile, world #1 MIARCZYNSKI, who took a 14-point lead into the Medal Race, had a clear strategy. He just had to stay within six positions of MYSZKA to take the title. LE GAL was leading at the top mark, MYSZKA was in eighth with MIARCZYNSKI just behind in ninth.

MYSZKA blasted downwind, passing one board and on the next upwind he climbed three more places. MIARCZYNSKI was making no progress, still stuck in ninth overall, he saw MYSZKA in fourth and LE GAL leading. However, he was safe as long as he could stay in front of tenth place man Nikos KAKLAMANAKIS (GRE). MIARCZYNSKI clamped a 'close cover' on him and saved the day by the smallest of margins. MYSZKA took second overall and the silver medal, whilst the bronze went to LE GAL.

ALABAU Triumphs

Going into the women's Medal Race the standings were much closer, with world #1 Marina ALABAU (ESP) just four points ahead of World Champion Alessandra SENSINI (ITA). At the Worlds on Lake Garda last year, SENSINI just edged out ALABAU in the tightest of finishes, to win the Medal Race and with it the World Championship, but this time the Spaniard was determined to stay in front of her nemesis.

ALABAU hit the start accelerating fast and chose the right-hand side. At the top mark, she was in second place, just behind Blanca MANCHON (ESP), the 2006 European Champion, with SENSINI languishing in ninth. ALABAU stormed downwind overtaking MANCHON in the process, taking the win and vanquishing the demons of Garda to secured her first RS:X European title. SENSINI came home in ninth but had the silver medal secure, whilst bronze went to MANCHON.

Much fanfare was awaiting the new 2007 European Champions on the beach and after finally working thru the crowd, ALABAU said, 'I was happy with my speed, and I knew that with a good start, I could win. This championship was very difficult for me, because my camber broke in my sail yesterday. This almost forced me to miss the last race of the day. I am now very happy and relieved it's over!' Not only did she win, but she proved that she could step it up when the pressure is red hot. She will be one to watch in the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais next month.

Men's 2007 European Champion MIARCZYNSKI is no stranger to the top step on the podium, having won the European title in 2001, and the World title in 2003. His brilliant tactics and good speed made him the most consistent racer in the championship. He said, 'Coming off the back of the Polish National Championships a few weeks ago, I had renewed confidence in my light air abilities. I can now cut it in all conditions and am hungry for a win at the World Championship.'

The rest of the gold fleet raced after lunch as did the remainder of the women's fleet, followed after a postponement, by two races for the silver fleet in perfect 15 knot planning conditions.

The Cyprus Yachting Association did a great job organizing the regatta. Many thanks to all the officials and volunteers who made the championship possible.

For all the news on the RS:X European Championships CLICK HERE.

Ben Barger (As Amended By ISAF). Image, European Champion Marina ALABAU:© Ntina Halla
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