156 teams of the 470 european championship were expected to race the first step of qualification yesterday in Brest, France but with a light wind from SW 3 to 6 kts, the competitors remained in the boat park.
Thirty four countries are represented by 156 teams (112 men and 44 women). The championship is open to non-European competitors and whilst they cannot be "European Champion" they are racing for the 40th anniversary trophy. Some nations will take in account the results of this event for their Athens Olympic Games selection.
High level champions are present in Brest. In the women's fleet the 2002 European and World Champions and 2002 female ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Sofia BEKATORIOU and Emilia TSOULFA from Greece are lining up against 2000 Olympic Champions Jenny ARMSTRONG and Belinda STOWELL (AUS) and all of the sailors ranked in the top nine of the ISAF World Rankings.
Over in the men's fleet the competition includes current World Champions Simon COOKE and Peter NICHOLAS from New Zealand, Andreas KOSMATOPOULOS and Kostas TRIGONIS (GRE) who finished second at both the European and World championships in 2002 and the world number 2 team from Australia of Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE. Also at the event and with nothing to lose are the silver medallists in the boys double handed event at the 2002 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship sailing a 29er, Geoff Woolley and Mark OVERINGTON (NZL).
Racing should get underway today - weather permitting.