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3 August 2007, 04:31 pm
Dragoon Gold To Britain; France On Top In Hobie 16s
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The Hobie 16 fleet in action

Hobie 16 And Hobie Dragoon European Championships 2007
's Gravenzande, Netherlands

It's multihull-fever in 's Gravenzande, Netherlands with the Hobie 16 European Championships following on from the Hobie Dragoon Europeans. France currently holds the top three positions in the Hobie 16 and has already won the Hobie 16 Youth Europeans and Women's titles, whilst Britian took gold in the Hobie Dragoon Europeans and Germany won in the Masters.
The French domianted the opening two days of this year's Open Hobie 16 Europeans in 's Gravenzande. On Thursday Christophe RENAUD DE MALET and Alban ROSSOLLIN (FRA) took the overall lead, with the Frenchmen of New Caledonia enjoying the medium conditions, in which they performed strongly with two bullets and a second. BADER and SOUQUET (FRA) remained in second position overall, followed by yesterday's leaders Jerome LE GALL and Enrick OBERT (FRA). As foreseen by the French, the Germans advanced in the overall ranking. The northwester breeze of about 12 knots was a pleasure for all 127 teams competing in the gold and silver fleets. They are halfway the championship, so this evening it is time for a party on the 's Gravenzande beach.

'Winning the first race of the day, is good for your mind,' said ROSSOLLIN after claiming the first position in the championship. 'There was a pretty big swell and enough wind for one or two persons on the wire. In the second race, we had a bad start at the pin-end. It was chaos and I think we were behind everybody, but we did a good job on tactics in the first beat. We had a great boat speed, both downwind and upwind, and overtook many cats.' They crossed the finish line in second position. ROSSOLLIN: 'There was a perfect breeze in the last race. We had a good start and were leading at the bottom mark.' They stayed focussed and took the next bullet. 'If you are in first position, you are more intelligent,' said Rossollin with a smile.

Difficulties

LE GALL and Enrick OBERT had more difficulties and dropped from the first to the third place overall. They finished 5,12,10. LE GALL: 'My crew was not really in the race. He made many mistakes. I think it was a lack of concentration.' Ingo DELIUS and Katrin WIESE-DOHSE (GER) were very unfortunate in the first race, as their trapeze broke. DELIUS: 'That was a pity, because we were in fourth position at that time.' They took revenge with a fifth and a third. DELIUS: 'We were leading in the second race, but halfway the wind died and we were sailing with an extremely stiff rig, so we dropped to the fifth place. It was fantastic to see the British youth winning with so much joy. That is what we try to achieve with young sailors.' His crew WIESE-DOHSE also enjoyed the racing very much: 'It was great fun with more wind.' The silver medallists from the Master Europeans are in tenth position. Best German duo is WIESE-DOHSE and GEHRMANN in fourth place.

Current Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champions Richard and Andrew GLOVER (GBR) surprised the established Hobie 16 class sailors by taking the bullet in the second race. The last one was a bit different. Richard GLOVER: 'All day it paid to go left, until then. We were on the left side when the wind shifted to the right.' A 24th place was the result, but the GLOVER brothers did climb to the eighth position overall. Richard GLOVER: 'Considering we are youth, I am pretty pleased with our performance so far. We are not very fast on the downwind without spinnaker. That is more patience sailing, because it is a lot slower and all the old boys are used to it.'

Youth Champions

The new European Youth Hobie 16 with spi champions Antoine LAURIOT-PREVOST and Alix PREVIER (FRA) are sixth overall in the provisional results. The French team won the Youth Europeans on Tuesday after a tough conclusion of this year's championship, with the combination of a wild surf and a light onshore wind causing some difficulties. During the day, the northwester breeze dropped from eight to about four knots.

LAURIOT-PREVOST and PREVIER recorded victory after three races on the final day, pushing former leaders Thomas RICHARDS and Olivier KERSUZAN (FRA) back to silver, followed by the Italians Vittorio BISSARO and Lamberto CESARI. The Dutchmen Rob SPRIJ and Sam FRANK just missed the podium, whilst the GLOVER brothers climbed with two bullets to a fifth position on the leaderboard.

Dragoon European Champions

Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Adam BUTLER and Gilly SUTCLIFFE (GBR) won the Hobie Dragoon Europeans 2007. Although they dominated the competition, their victory was not taken for granted on the final morning. After a day and night of strong onshore wind, the surf was huge with a light north-westerly breeze. All boats experienced difficulties sailing through the breakers, but eight out of nine Dragoon-teams succeeded. James HENSON and Oliver AMPHLETT (GBR) performed strongly with three seconds, which pushed them to the second place overall. The French boys Antoine BEZILE and Quintin LE TALLEC won bronze.

'It feels great,' responded SUTCLIFFE happily to the congratulations of winning the European title. At the beginning of the championship, BUTLER announced that this would be their last Hobie Dragoon event, as they will continue on the Hobie 16 with spinnaker. SUTCLIFFE about their final day: 'The conditions were light, in which we did not do very well. We won the last race and finished fourth and third in the others.' While almost running the Hobie Dragoon towards the dunes, SUTCLIFFE recalled the spectacular morning. 'That was exciting. We managed just about the stay upright in the surf. I don't think we have ever gone to such high breakers. It was pretty impressive.'

Gold For Germany And Australia

The first champions of the Hobie 16 and Hobie Dragoon Europeans were crowned on the 's Gravenzande beach on Sunday. Detlef MOHR and Karen Wichardt from Germany won the Masters' title. Belinda ZANESCO and Jesse DOBIE from Australia and representing France, are the new European champs in the Women class. The northwester picked up strongly to about 25 knots and challenged the sailors to the utmost on Sunday. Many boats capsized and several teams gave up. The conditions required good seamanship. Especially the last races in the afternoon were rough, but everybody returned safely to the beach.

'Well, that is also a way to land', joked Ingo DELIUS while a Hobie 16 capsized in the surf. On the final day the Master class completed three races. After the first two, DELIUS and WIESE-DOHSE were leading by one point. The German teams put up an exciting competition for the highest position on the leader board. DELIUS: 'We had a second, first and DNF… We had to win the third race in order to secure the overall victory, but DETLEF was already gone. That is why we lost our concentration, which resulted in a capsize.' It was not an easy win for MOHR and WICHARDT though. Detlef MOHR: 'At the beginning it was hard, due to the combination of medium wind and high waves. In the end it was extremely windy and wavy. There were many capsizes. It was on the edge, but it was a perfect training for the Open Europeans.' MOHR and WICHARDT sailed a series of 3,1,1. The German domination is not really unexpected, since the class is still pretty big in Germany. 'We have an average of 50 to 60 boats lining up for national regatta's.' It is MOHR's tenth European Master title. DELIUS and WIESE-DOHSE won silver, followed by JANSEN and JARLING.

The women's competition went down to the wire. 'Here is your Champagne, you deserved it', said Andy DINSDALE from Hobie Cat Europe as he handed over the bottle of victory to the Italian SITOURI sisters. At that point, they did not know whether they finished first or second overall. Crew Lara SITOURI while unrigging the mainsail: 'We had good results. We were leading in the last race, but we capsized twice, so Belinda could pass us. The second finish was very close, so we might be first or second.' It turned out to be a second place. 'We had a good battle with them', said Lara SITOURI. ZANESCO and DOBIE won, followed by the SICOURI sisters and the French girls Marie CAROLINE and Mathilde PASSET.

The Hobie 16 and Hobie Dragoon Europeans 2007 are sponsored by: I-Drukker.nl, Carrier Airconditioning, the Greenery, Autobedrijf Schoenmeijer, Vakantiepark Vlugtenburg aan zee, Tomselect, Ernst Olieman BV, Hogenboom vakantieparken, AfvalisHipenSexy.nl, Wealco Systemen BV, Westland Energie Services, ProfMedia BV, Rabobank, Boekestijn Transport Service, De Parel, Center Line, Hoeve de Viersprong, Colour XL, IkSloopGoedkoop.nl, Kwekerij Rozenhof, Ariën Hofman MD, Combifleur, Hobie Cat Holland BV, Westland Workwear, Woodfever, Veenman, Gemeente Westland, Arditio fotografie, Valere ICT Strategies, Vrijwillige Reddingsbrigade 's Gravenzande, Jessica emotions& flowers, Venvo Zonwering and van Spronsen, b.v.

Diana Bogaards (As Amended By ISAF)
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