The event is open for 470 teams from all countries around the world. The title of 470 Class European Champion will be granted to the first ranked crew from the zone of European nations and the Mediterranean Basin.
According to last figures this morning, 101 men crews from 30 nations and five continents, and 49 women crews from 23 nations and five continents have registered.
Predictions on the outcome for this European Championship event are hard to make. Close to the ISAF Sailing World Championships and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, competition gets stronger and domination at the top much harder to achieve.
Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET (FRA) currently occupy the world #1 spot in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, reflecting the strong French presence in the International 470 Class. Although the World Ranking leaders are not known as event winners, their names keep showing up on top of the leaderboards at major events. They won the silver medal in France at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française last April, and took home bronze from the ISAF Grade 1 Breitling Regatta in the Netherlands last week.
The French have travelled to Greece with 13 Men's 470 teams. Three of these teams made it to the top five last year at the European Championships on Lake Balaton, including the title defenders.
The entry list also features many Athens 2004 competitors, World Champions and winners of major events from the past. Reigning World Champions Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS (GBR) are present, although they still have to decide on participation because of an injury.
In their home country, eyes will be focused on 470 veterans Andrea KOSMATOPOULOS and Andreas PAPADOPOULOS (GRE), with three Olympic competitions behind them.
World Champions and leaders of the Women's 470 World Rankings, Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED), will not be participating in the event. However, ROTHWEILER and KUSSATZ will be defending their European title and looked in good form after taking the silver medal in Hyères, whilst Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadège DOUROUX (FRA), gold medallists at the ISAF World Sailing Games, will spearhead the French challenge in the women's fleet.
Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) are one of the form teams on the circuit at the moment after winning in Hyères. The Italian women only started in the 470 Class in 2006, but have already established an impressive track record. CONTI competed at the Athens Olympics in the Yngling Class. MICOL has been successful in the International 420 Class.
Europe class Athens 2004 silver medallist Lenka SMIDOVA (CZE) has formed a team with Veronika FENCLOVA (CZE) to take a shot for the 2008 Olympics in the 470 Class. Together they debuted in the 470 Class in Miami in 2006. They have made rapid progress, winning silver at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy, and bronze at the Semaine Olympique Française.
The weather forecast for the next few days predicts light winds. During the week, some cloud cover will reach Thessaloniki and winds will increase by just a few knots. Racing starts today.
For all the news on the 470 European Championships CLICK HERE.