After only three races in very light, tricky and shifty conditions Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff are the new Fireball european champions, followed by vice-champions Dave Wade and Tim Hartley and bronze medalists Matt Rainback and Simon Foskett.
These days Portoro? is hosting two of the biggest annual Fireball events, European Championship (8-13 September), followed by Worlds (13-20 September). 62 crews from eight countries gathered for the Europeans and 17 more crews have registered for the Worlds.
Although September in Portoroz usually provides very good sailing conditions, last few days offered thunderstorms, followed by almost non to very light and shifty wind, so sailing was very tricky and not at all easy. All three racing days of the Europeans started with the AP up, and it was late afternoon when the fleet finally sailed out. The race officer really struggled hard to make the most out of it, but it was impossible to finish more than three races all together, one per day. Nevertheless, although this Europeans was won with only three races, for many sailors it was one of the trickiest and most difficult regattas they've ever sailed.
British sailors seem to figure the conditions out best. They won all three podium positions, and first seven overall. The 2013 european champions are Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff, vice-champions Dave Wade and Tim Hartley and bronze medalists Matt Rainback and Simon Foskett.
The first women is Czech Eva Skorepova (with Roman Ro?ek). First Slovenian crew are the youngest participants Eva Peternelj and Valentina Baruca on 19th place overall and on 3rd place in women competiton.
Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff said, "It was very difficult racing, extremely tricky. Although there were only three races, that was probably one of the hardest events we've done, because it was so easy to sail a bad result in all three races. There was no consistency, you just had to always get in a pressure and a shift, where ever that was. And yes, we're really pleased. Naturally we wouldn't be fully happy until hopefully we win the Worlds next week, but this is surely a good start. We think this is probably one of the most competitive events in lots of years in Fireball, there's a number of people that have won the championships in the past, who all of them seem to be here, so yes - to win here is perhaps extra special, so I just pray that we can try to do that again. But we've done it this week, so there's no reason we can't do it next week, we'll just push it on and try to do it again. Thanks to everybody, the event has been perfectly organized, GoSailing is great, you definitely get the sense that it's been done properly."
The Europeans closed with a prize giving ceremony, which was an opening ceremony for the Worlds at the same time.