The ISAF Grade C1 Yngling Europeans in Blanes is the last championship for the women's fleet before the Olympic Games in China and consequently a top-quality fleet has assembled.
Of the 15 nations racing in the Olympic Games, 14 are participating in the European Championship, including nine of the top-ten teams from the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
Registration started on 30 March and the practice race is scheduled for Monday followed by racing throughout rest of the week, with the Medal Races taking place on Saturday. It has been decided that also the boats not assigned to the Medal Race will sail one final race with a short target time, double points and on water umpiring. It was decided during the last International Yngling Association (IYA) Women Sailors meeting that the limited fleet size would provide a good opportunity to run two races using the Medal Race format on the final day of the regatta. This will give all crews the pressure of racing in a small group for double points.
Many of the teams have arrived directly from the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma de Mallorca and have spent the last week training in Club Vela Blanes, just north of Barcelona. The sailors have experienced some very shifting conditions and were even surprised to find snow on the boats one morning, something very unusual in this part of Spain.
On Saturday however, the sun was shining and the temperatures rising. The forecast is light winds of 8-10 knots for today's practice race. From the start of the week the forecast is that the skies will gradually clear up and this will probably give the sailors sea breeze-like conditions for the opening races.
The two time World Champion team of Sarah AYTON
, Sarah WEBB
and Pippa WILSON
(GBR) are considered favourites but the strength and professionalism of the entire fleet makes any speculating in results very difficult. Russia, with their two participating teams, have considerable strength. Anna BASALKINA
, Vladislava UKRAINCEVA
and Ekaterina MAXIMOVA
recently won the Princess Sofia Trophy and defending European Champions Ekaterina SKUDINA
, Diana KRUTSKIKH
and Natalia IVANOVA
were third in Palma, just behind the British World Champions.
Yngling European Championship - http://cvblanes.esportcatala.com