In a relatively light and shifty series of 13 races, Spain's Guillermo BELTRI FERNANDEZ won the 2008 International One Metre European Championship in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
BELTRI finished only four times out the top five in each of his 13 heats, so with two disacards he managed to stay just five points ahead of runner-up Ante KOVACEVIC (CRO). The event attracted 70 competitors from 16 countries to compete over seven days at the Cocacabana Beach on the Babin Kuk peninsula, just 4km north of the historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In a class known for innovation and tweaking within a fairly tight box rule, there is close attention paid to subtleties in design and construction of these fast radio-controlled yachts. BELTRI and KOVACEVIC both used the Pikanto, designed by Graham BANTOCK, with BANTOCK's SAILSetc shop in Great Britain having built ESP 47 for BELTRI and Robert GRUBISA the builder in Croatia for Kovacevic's CRO 30. In fact, BANTOCK designs took the next two finishing positions as well: Marko MATIC (CRO) sailed his Grubisa-built CRO 28 to third place, and Juan Marcos EGEA CASTEJON (ESP) sailed his SAILSetc-built ESP 90 to fourth. In fifth overall was Craig MACKEY (USA) sailing his USA 29, a Trevor Bamforth-designed Patriot built by Steve LANDEAU. In all, there were some 20 different designs featured at this biennial championship event.
Event managers from the YC Orsan, which this year celebrates its 75th anniversary, struggled all week to get races completed while the morning offshore Burin breeze competed with the onshore sea breeze. But when either breeze was filled, shoreside competitors and spectators alike were treated to some close and intense racing. And when the racing got too intense, Zoran GRUBISA (CRO) and his assembled multi-national team of umpires provided immediate penalty calls made from the competitors' platform. This clever innovation kept protest-related delays to a minimum by dispensing instant justice for any observed Part 2 RRS and RRS 31 rule infractions.
For more information, results, and photos of the 2008 IOM European Championship, visit the event website at www.iomec2008dubrovnik.com