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20 August 2005, 09:31 am
Victory To France
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420 Junior European Championship
Riva del Garda, Italy

Yesterday afternoon Thomas and Mathieu RAHIER (FRA) won the closest ever 420 Junior European Championships, from British team Richard MASON and Dan SHIEBER, and Irish team Kenny RUMBALL and David MORAN.
Hannah MILLS and Peggy WEBSTER finished seventh overall to become the girls European Champions. The first Italian team of Stefano CHERIN and Matteo VELCOGNA finished fourteenth overall, just in front of the recently crowned 420 World Champion Tomas OLIVEIRA DA SILVA and Francisco GOMES (POR).

MASON and SHIEBER convincingly won the first race of the final day, race 11, sailed in classic Lake Garda conditions, sun and wind. By finishing second in this race, Rumball and Moran were tied on points for first place overall, with Mason holding the lead on count back. The French team's fifteenth place dropped them from an overnight lead to third place overall, 12 points behind.

The Rahier brothers survived the pressure to pull off a terrific start in the second race of the day: the final of the championship. But an X flag was flying… who was OCS? Certainly not Mason/Shieber or Rumball/Moran who had poor starts from which neither recovered, knowing they would have to discard their last result and watch the drama ahead unfold.

At the last windward mark, the Rahier brothers held second place to the German team of Maximillian DOHSE and Maximilian ZIEGELMAYER. The coaches on the race course calculated that this would give him the championship by one point. However Guy ABADI and Yair VISHILZKI (ISR) squeezed past close to the final leeward mark. With a short raching leg to the finish, this result would give Mason and Shieber the Championship on countback from Rumball!

A poor spinnaker gybe allowed Thomas and Mathieu RAHIER back into second place and a provisional championship win. The French held their breaths until the OSC list was posted ashore. In fact they had a clear start, while both German and Israeli teams were judged premature starters. The Rahier brothers had won the last race and the 420 Junior European championships by 2 points!

The Silver fleet was won by Swiss team Raephael GABELLA and Jonathan SIMON, from the Greek brothers Harris and Leonidas CARELIS. In third was another Greek crew of Ioannis GIANNOPOULOS and Timoleon VLACHOS.

Three countries separated by two points after 12 final races, a nail biting climax.

Mark Rushall (As Amended by ISAF). Image: Erik HEIL and Thomas PLOESSEL (GER) cross Markos PETRIDIS and Lazaros TZIGAKOS (GRE), © info@fotoemmebi.com
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