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17 May 2010, 10:41 am
Ebler And Skudina Crowned 2010 EUROSAF European Match Race Champions
2010 Eurosaf European Match Racing Championship
Ekaterina Skudina's team celebrate victory in Hard, Austria

2010 European Match Racing Championship
Hard, Austria

Mads Ebler from Denmark and Ekaterina Skudina from Russia are the brand new 2010 EUROSAF European Match Race champions after a day of races that went down to the wire.
Mads Ebler (DEN) had to fight until the fifth and last race in order to beat Eric Monnin from Switzerland while Ekaterina Skudina of Russia beat Britain's Lucy Macgregor in their fourth race when she crossed the finish line a few centimeters ahead of her opponent. It was an impressive end to an event with 24 teams in two classes, two separate races courses and a full set of double round robins, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

Finals
Macgregor, the world's number one match racer, started the finals on a wrong foot. She had her timings completely off at the prestart of the first race and crossed the starting line 15 seconds behind Skudina. From that point there was no way back and Skudina got her first point easily. Macgregor came back in the following race, controlled the prestart, got off the line with better speed and stayed ahead, the pattern to guarantee victory in this event.

Skudina proved in the third race that it was up to who made less the boat handing errors. Macgregor got the upper hand at the start and led the race but a number of sloppy tacks in the second beat let Skudina get ahead and win. The fourth and final race was a nail biter and it could have really gone one way or the other. Both crews made mistakes, Macgregor got a red flag at the bottom mark and let Skudina take the lead but then the Russian let the British team separate in the last run and close the gap. It was finally Skudina that crossed the line in front by less than a foot.

It was a very important day for Russian sailing and Skudina who will now have to rush back to her desk in order to present her PhD in less than a week. Afterwards, both she and Macgregor will head to Medemblik in the Netherlands for the next leg ot the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

The Open class final was decided on the starts or better said, as Ebler pointed out, on who got control in the first two minutes of the first beat. According to the brand new European champion the wind was easily readable, no unpredictable shift took place and its direction went back and forth with a distinct pattern. He got control of the first race but lost the following two as Monnin was better off the line.

The turning point came at the fourth race. As Monnin put it, the big shift that took place a couple of minutes before the start had made it clear that the first beat would almost be on the layline. As a result, it was vitally important to get the correct position on the line. Nevertheless, 30 seconds before the start, Monin admitted he lost control of the prestart and handed it to Ebler. The Dane took advantage of the error and went on to win the race. The final race saw again Ebler leading from the outset after a very good start. He sailed flawlessly, controlled Monnin and left him with no possibility to overtake.

After being crowned European champion, Ebler will now just have to cross to the north bank of Lake Constance in order to take part in Match Race Germany.

Petit-Final

Alvaro Marinho from Portugal beat the Pierre-Antoine Morvan of France, 2-0. In the first race Marinho forced a penalty on Morvan at the prestart and as a result he could choose the left side, as he wanted. He controlled the race to the finish line. In the second race, Morvan had a much better start and was comfortably ahead up to the last top mark. Unfortunately for the French, a left shift of 40 degrees at the second run powered Alvaro Marinho ahead, allowing to pass Morvan and take the bronze medal.

Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen from Denmark had no real trouble dominating Cristiana Monina from Italy in the Women's petit-final. A combination a very good starts and better boatspeed upwind secured the bronze medal for the Danish match racer.


2010 EUROSAF European Match Race Championship - Final Results

Final - Women
Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) beats Lucy MacGregor (GBR) 3-1

Final - Men
Mads Ebler (DEN) beats Eric Monnin (SUI) 3-2

Semi-Finals - Women
Lucy Macgregor (GBR) beats Lotte Meldgaard (DEN) 3-2
Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) beats Cristiana Monina (ITA) 3-1

Semi-Finals - Open
Eric Monnin (SUI) beats Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) 3-2
Mads Ebler (DEN) beats Alavro Marinho (POR) 3-0

For further information please visit www.matchracehard.blogspot.com

Pierre Orphanidis (as amended by ISAF)
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