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20 August 2007, 06:07 am
Windy End For Junior Europeans
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The 470 boys podium

420 and 470 Junior European Championship 2007
Medemblik, Netherlands

On Thursday the Junior European Championships 420/470, sponsored by Valk Welding, came to a windy conclusion on the IJsselmeer off Medemblik, Netherlands. Europeans titles went to Great Britain, Germany and Russia.
The west wind quickly picked up from about 15 to 30 knots in gusts. That caused many capsizes, especially on the 420 course. As a result of the strong conditions, the race committee decided to send the sailors ashore. The 470 Medal Race followed later in the afternoon. Although Justin LIU and Sherman CHENG (SIN) won the gold fleet, runners up Tom GILLARD and Sam BREARY (GBR) became the International 420 Class Men Junior European Champions 2007. Tina LUTZ and Susann BEUCKE from Germany are the new International 420 Class Ladies Junior Champions. Last year's winner Hannah MILLS and her new crew Katrina HUGHES (GBR) were now victorious in the 470. They became the 470 Class Women's Junior European Champions 2007. Despite their capsize in the Medal Race, the Russians Artem BASALKIN and Maxim SHEREMETYEV remained on top of the 470 leaderboard. They are the new 470 Class Junior European Champion.

420 - Battlefield

The 420 gold and silver fleets managed to finish one race. The first start of the 420 was scheduled at 10:30 hours local time. At that time, the wind was about fifteen knots strong. The gold fleet had a general recall, where after the wind picked up quickly. Especially on the downwind, loads of competitors capsized. Silver medallist Ben MUSKETT, crewing for Jonny MOSS: 'There were two huge shifts. We went to the left in the first beat, but that was the wrong side, so we lost a lot. In the second beat, the wind shifted to the right where we were. That is how we caught up well.'

The British boys finished 12th, which was enough to secure the silver medal in the European ranking. Their fellow countrymen GILLARD and BREARY were less fortunate in the final race. GILLARD: 'We went from a seventh to a 20th place in the second beat, as the wind shifted to the right.'

The new champs finished 25th, which was their discard. Gabriel SKOCZEK and Thibaut SOLER from France took the bronze medal at the International 420 Class Junior European Championships. Best mixed crew were Tim SAXTON and Claire LASKO (GBR) on place six. Adolfo Berrocal FERRER and Allain HERMAN (ESP) won the silver fleet.

As expected and according to their strong performance all week long, LUTZ and BEUCKE from Germany won the title International 420 Class Ladies Junior Champion. The Dutch girls Nina KEIJZER and Anneloes VAN VEEN gained one spot by beating the British competitors Imogen STALEY and Kate MACGREGOR. KEIJZER: 'We had a top 15 position, when we also missed that big shift to the right. But we were just ahead of the British girls and then it started blowing, which is good for us. That was enough to win silver.'

470 Boys - 'Interesting Medal Race'

By the time the 470-class started competing at 11:00, the wind was already gusting up to 25-30 knots. In the end, only the gold fleet completed one race in which the girl's competition was decided. The 'interesting Medal Race', as silver medallist Amir YAM called it, followed in the afternoon. YAM: 'I think it was the best one ever, since there were a lot of changes.' The Greek Georgias VASILAS and Evangelos MITAKIS were eager to change the colour of their bronze position and leaded the fleet from the starting line. VASILAS: 'We had a magnificent start. At the middle of the first beat, we tacked and the jib sheet got stuck, where after we capsized. As a result, we went back to last.'

The German Rieger brothers came first at the upwind mark and did never gave away their leading position. Max RIEGER: 'The gap was closed, but we could take the bullet.' Due to their victory, the Germans beat the Dutchmen in the ranking and finished fourth overall. The Russians almost lost their title, as they went upside down in the second downwind. BASALKIN: 'After one lap, we had damaged our boom and afterwards we capsized. It was not an interesting race for us, but we are very happy with the title.'

Levine EYAL from Israel thought for a short while it would be theirs: 'The Russians dropped to an eighth place and we were second, but they gained a spot again. It was almost enough to win the championship.' Greek helmsman VASILAS looked a bit disappointed: 'We lost in details. In the qualifying series we made the wrong call to go back for what we though it was an early start. And then that yellow flag, with we did not agree. A medal is good, but it has the taste of a little bit disappointment. We were really close. We had some bad luck today.'

470 Girls - Mills And Hughes Win In Style

MILLS and HUGHES finished the job in style. The girls showed their class by leading the fleet to the first windward mark. MILLS: 'There it got really breezy, so some boys got us.' They were ninth over the line, which was enough for the title 470 Class Women's Junior European Champion 2007. MILLS: 'It is our first win together, which is a good motivation. It was great racing against the boys, so we learned quite a lot.'

Margriet FOKKEMA and Marieke JONGENS (NED) had their own goal for the day. They wanted to secure their silver position. FOKKEMA: 'It was great. We could not reach anymore, because of the strong wind. The French girls capsized on the last downwind and the Belarus girls were already behind us, so we kept it simple from that moment.' The Dutch sailors finished fourteenth and won silver, followed by ALAEKSANDRA and ALLA (BLR). ALAEKSANDRA: 'The strong wind and big waves were difficult for us. We prefer a lighter breeze. I think we could have done better, but this medal helps us in the future. We will receive more facilities.'

Event Manager Edwin LODDER about this year's Junior Europeans 420/470: 'It was a fantastic week, with a great and sportive competition combined with a good social atmosphere onshore.'

Diana Bogaards (As Amended By ISAF)
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