Originally scheduled for the town of Paldiski, west of Tallinn in Estonia, Ice conditions required moving the whole event across the Baltic to Bjorkevik in Sweden, where conditions proved to be perfect, Ice Wise at least.
As is the nature of Ice Sailing, actual venue selection is subject to intricacies of ice stability and safety, and competitors often travel thousands of miles in order to find as near perfect conditions as possible. At this years European Championship, it was decided to switch racing to Sweden on 2 March, giving competitors 2 days to appear at the new venue.
Once racing got underway on 5 March, the fleet was split into gold silver and bronze depending upon ranking position based on previous regatta results, this was followed by a series of mini qualification races to enable sailors to move between fleets prior to the final seven races of the championship.
The Gold Fleet Pre-Start © Gareth Rowland
Light winds were the order of the day for the first few races, but as you can see from the series of pictures below - This didn't affect the speed and thrills experienced by each and every sailor! It was the usual crowd frequenting the top of the gold fleet with Thomas Carlsson (SWE), ranked fifth in the world rankings taking the European title from Bernd Zeiger (GER) and Ron Sherry (USA).
Sherry is currently ranked joint first alongside 2002 ISAF Match Racing World Champion and World Ranked number 1 match racer Karol Jablonski, proving that the transition from soft to frozen water is possible, despite it being a harder fall for a man overboard.
Harald Axling (SWE) loses grip...
Takes a tumble...
Followed by the yacht. All © Gareth Rowland
Racing concluded on Saturday and the top 10 results are below: