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24 March 2008, 08:34 pm
Storms Delay Start Of 49er Europeans
Storms swept across the Bay of Palma on Monday
Storms swept across the Bay of Palma on Monday

49er European Championship 2008
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Winds over 25 knots and the huge waves in the bay of Palma on Monday resulted in the cancellation of the first day of racing at the 49er European Championship - Madrid 2016.
Sixty-four boats and 128 sailors representing 22 nations are in Palma for the ISAF Grade C1 European Championship, but their patience looks set to be tested again on Tuesday with the stormy weather is forecast to continue. More northwesterly winds in the 25 to 30 knot range are predicted, although the wind could lose strength from 16:00, but the waves are expected to remain.

Yesterday, Ferran MUNIESA, sports manager of the host Club Nàutic S'Arenal, explained reason for the cancellation. "The wind is not the problem; the waves are the main concern. They are over 2 metres high and are very dangerous for the 49ers because they can cause broken masts and other structural damages," MUNIESA said.

With all the equipment ready for the start of the event, the competing crews will take the opportunity to rest gladly, especially after the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mapfre last week. The competitors participating in the regatta are top-level athletes, many of whom will be representing their nation at the Beijing Olympic Games.

"In fact for two nations, specifically France and Austria, the European Championship- Madrid 2016 is the last selection event to chose the Olympic team," pointed out Marcus SPILLANE, 49er class CEO. "Besides it is the last official event of the class before the 2008 Beijing Games, so there is a very high level," he added.

In contrast to the French and the Austrians, nations such as Spain, Great Britain and Australia have finished their Olympic selection. The Olympic representatives are on the list of favourites to win the European championship - Madrid 2016 title. Spanish tandem formed by Iker MARTINEZ and Xabi FERNANDEZ (gold in Athens 2004 and defending European Champions), Britain's Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (2007 World Champions) and Australian crew Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN (current World Champions) are the focus of attention in Club Nàutic S'Arenal. An exciting challenge will also be offered - among others - by the Italian SIBELLO brothers, Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO, the leaders of the class ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

49er European Championship -
Neus Jordi
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