Yann GUICHARD and Alexandre GUYADER got off to a perfect start with two bullets to take the early lead at the ISAF Grade C1 Tornado Europeans in Thessaloniki, Greece.
It has been ten years since the Tornado Europeans were held in Greece in 1998 and ironically it was the last time many of the sailors saw our good friend and fellow competitor Mats NYBERG before he was tragically killed in a skiing accident in early 1999.
Monday saw the start of the 2008 European Championship and the tenth Mats Nyberg Trophy. The Mats Nyberg Trophy is open to all competitors around the world whilst the European Championship is closed to Europeans only. The regatta is being organized and hosted from the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki and so far the organization and hospitality has been second to none.
The first day of the championship got underway in perfect conditions with a ideal seabreeze building from 8 knots to 12 knots through out the first race.
It was the German team of Johannes POLGAR
and Florian SPALTEHOLZ
that picked the shift seconds before the start and crossed the fleet for a perfect port start. The German team lead for one lap until they found themselves too far on the right hand side of the course when the seabreeze strengthened from the left.
This left the door open for the French team Yann GUICHARD
and Alexandre GUYADER
to snatch the lead and take the first heat win. Second was the Italians Francesco MARCOLINI
and Edoardo BIANCHI
, third French François MORVAN
and Matthieu VANDAME
, fourth Australians Darren BUNDOCK
and Glenn ASHBY
and the local Greek team of Iordanis PASCHALIDES
and Konstantinos TRIGONIS
to round out the top five.
Race 2 started in 12 knots and looked as though it was going to kick and build, the fleet was deceived as the breeze dropped back to 8 knots on the second lap.
It was GUICHARD and GUYADER that took control of the second race coming out of the left hand side of the course on the first upwind leg. It was only the Australians BUNDOCK and ASHBY that challenged the French for the lead with the Australians leading at the start of the final lap.
The French took a dig out to the right hand side of the course on the final upwind and found better pressure to lead the Australians to the finish. The French team of Billy BESSON
and Arnaud JARLEGAN
defended off the Greeks for third position.
BUNDOCK said, "Its days like this that you realize why still after 17 years I love sailing these boats. It was perfect sailing conditions in 30 degrees and warm water, most of the day we were fully stretch on the trapeze, it does not get much better that this."
Results - click here