Six days of close racing brought the 2015 420 and 470 Junior European Championships to a close on Saturday 15 August 2015 in Bourgas, Bulgaria.
Holding significant point advantages, the leaders in the 420 fleets looked fairly certain to secure the Championship titles on the final day, but in the 470 Men and Women there was all still to play for.
Racing in mainly sea breeze conditions, the 412 sailors from 30 nations contested six Championship titles across the two classes.
The combined 420 and 470 Junior European Championships supports the natural transition between the two classes, with many of the current crop of 470 sailors recently stepping up from the 420 Class.
In the 470 men, Italy’s Matteo Capurro and Matteo Puppo had a fight on their hands to hold onto the gold medals. Capitalizing from a strong start, they took a tidy medal race win to mark a career best performance. Germany’s Winkel and Cipra managed to put 4 boats between them and Spain’s Charles brothers, to claim silver, bronze to Spain. The Germans and Spanish matched the medals they achieved at last year’s Junior Europeans.
“I am really happy,” grinned Capurro. “We started not so well in the medal race, but step by step we took the positions to win. Preparing for this Championship, we arrived some days before and worked a lot on the boat and our speed, and also the sails. After a bad result at the 470 Junior Worlds, we were motivated to do well here.”
Puppo continued, “The week was unbelievable, because when you start a Championship, you don’t know what can happen. It is a long week and you have to be focused day by day and race by race to catch your title.”
Delighted to finish on a high in their last junior 470 Championship, as they age out to the senior fleet, Puppo said. “This is the best way to say ‘goodbye’ to our junior career. Now we will do the Italian Championships in September and then the 470 Worlds in October.”
Capurro/Puppo will also be on a mission to secure one of the six nation places for the 2016 Olympic Games on offer at the 470 Worlds in October.
The top three teams have frequently been in battle in their junior careers. Last month Winkel/Cipra took the advantage, claiming silver at the 470 Junior Worlds, the Spanish in 4th and Italians languishing in 22nd overall as they failed to find their groove.
Only a few points off a podium finish were Spain’s Jose Manuel Ruiz/Fernando Davila, who last year won the 420 Worlds.
“We did a great regatta, although the first day was very complicated for us as we broke many things,” explained Davila. “The boat should be perfect to go racing, and it wasn’t. Since then, we felt really good. We are fast, but need to improve our downwind and reaching.”
470 Men Junior European – Final Top 5
1. Matteo Capurro/Matteo Puppo (ITA) - 37 pts
2. Malte Winkel/Matti Cipra (GER) - 53 pts
3. David Charles/Alex Charles (ESP) - 56 pts
4. Jose Manuel Ruiz/Fernando Davila (ESP) - 61 pts
5. Alexandros Kavvas/Akylas Drougkas (GRE) - 75 pts
Spain’s Barbara Cornudella and Sara Lopez went into the medal race in a virtually unbeatable position, sitting 18 points ahead of rivals and team mates Silvia Mas and Paula Barcelo. A conservative race strategy was their plan, so a 5th place in the medal race easily handed them gold.
“We have been training for this year’s Championships all year, with some intensive training in Barcelona before the 470 Junior Worlds,” reflected Lopez on the secret to their success. “We are really happy to win this Championship. "It was hard at the beginning as we did not have a good start, but we climbed up every day.”
“At the beginning we thought it would be strong winds,” said Cornudella, “as it was really strong winds before the Championship, but it didn’t turn out that way for racing, as it was quite light. It was hard every day to fight for the title but we got it.”
“Our win was a bit of everything,” she concluded. “We have worked really hard.”
Next up for the pair is a month of training in Israel from late September ahead of the 470 Worlds in Haifa, where they hope to secure Spain one of the three slots on offer for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Mas and Barcelo finished in 6th place, to claim silver, a remarkable outcome in their first year racing the Class. Last year Mas and Barcelo were up against each other in the 420 Class, before joining forces. Mas won last year’s ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in the 420 Class, with her former crew Marta Davila.
A phenomenal push from Greece’s Maria Bozi/Rafailina Klonaridou saw them cross the finish in 3rd place and claim bronze, by one point over recently crowned 470 Junior World Champions, Benedetta Di Salle and Alessandra Dubbini of Italy.
After the disappointment of missing out on medal race qualification by 1 point, Canada’s Allie Surrette/Ali Ten Hove proved their mettle by winning the final race contested by the rest of the fleet.
“It is a bit of a consolation prize, as it felt really good for us to win the last race of the event,” commented Ten Hove. “It was our first win ever in a 470, so we were really excited about it. We were winning right off the start, and held the lead the whole race, but it was tight, with the Russian boat right behind fighting with us the whole way."
For now the head back to their engineering degrees in Canada and training ahead of the 2015 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel.
470 Women Junior European – Final Top 5
1. Bàrbara Cornudella/Sara López Ravetllat (ESP) - 45 pts
2. Silvia Mas/Paula Barcelo (ESP) – 65 pts
3. Maria Bozi/Rafaillina Klonaridou (GRE) – 70 pts
4. Benedetta Di Salle/Alessandra Dubbini (ITA) – 71 pts
5. Roberta Caputo/Alice Sinno (ITA) – 84 pts
Another win for the USA’s Wiley Rogers/Jack Parkin in the penultimate race 11 sealed their fate and the 420 Open Junior European Championship title with a race to spare. Their nearest rivals struggled, knocked out double digit scores, whilst the Americans read the race track perfectly. A 1,2 leaderboard glory for Team USA in the 420 Open Junior European Championship hierarchy, as team mates Will Logue/Bram Brakman held on to second, from their 20,5 scoreline – marking a best ever result for American 420 sailing.
Until last year, Rogers/Parkin were both helming in separate partnerships and fierce rivals on the water, with event wins switching between them. Parkin finished 9th at the 2013 420 Worlds and 29th at the 2014 Worlds in Germany last year, with Rogers finishing a few spots behind in 33rd.
Parkin got too tall to helm, so switched to crewing, and to date they have never finished worse than second in any event.
“When you get too big, you just have to move out,” said Parkin. “It was kind of tough trying to learn the manoeuvres and different physical movements that you need in the front of the boat. But being a helm, you have watched the crew and you just pick up on all these things without really thinking about it. You see every tack and every hoist, and know what you have to do. This has been an excellent way to end a season and has really showed us what we can do.”
In what must be one of the most phenomenal wins ever, Rogers/Parkin amassed a 52 point advantage over Logue/Brakman, wrapping up an impressive season for the pair who claimed silver a few weeks ago at the 420 World Championships in Japan.
“We are just super happy with the win,” said Rogers. “We just went out there, sailed and had fun and worried about results later.”
Reflecting on the dynamics of two helms joining forces, Rogers explained, “I think it helps because Jack can still feel the boat a lot and we both give each other feedback, and it really can’t hurt us.”
The pair grasped a unique vision of the race track, tacking off on their own as they spotted pressure.
“You got to take some risk some times, and if you get a gut feeling that the right pressure is going to come in, you’ve just got to go with it, because usually your first instincts are right,” explained Rogers. “You have to play it back with being conservative, so you just got to take what you can and every time we tacked we had confidence we would come out on top and we just used our boat speed and it turned out nice for us in the end.”
There is no complacency for the partnership though. “You’ve always got to keep pushing forwards,” commented Parkin, “or somebody else will overtake us. We just have to keep training.”
The battle for the top European team and podium medals unfolded between Martin Wrigley/Marcus Tressler of Great Britain and Nitai Hasson/Tal Harari of Israel. The British went into the day with an 8 point margin over the Israelis, but finishes of 28, 15 could not match the Israelis scorecard of 16,13.
Hasson/Harari arrived in Bourgas fresh from elite level racing at the 2015 420 Worlds a few weeks ago in Japan, where they finished 22nd.
“We trained a lot for the Junior Europeans,” said Hasson, “and Japan was really good training for us. We are really happy with our results.”
“Our next goal is to transition to the 470 and compete at the 470 Worlds in Haifa,” added Harari. “We just want to carry on sailing and do the best we can.”
In the battle for the Ladies Junior European Championship titles, disappointment for Greece’s Souzana-Ioli Bakatsia/Nikoletta Papageorgiou who had been sitting right behind Wiley/Rogers until the penultimate day of racing.
Racing within the 420 open fleet, Jessie Kampman/Anael Ponthieu (FRA) took control of the ladies leaderboard to finish in 6th overall and winning the 420 Ladies Junior European Championship and the gold medals. Second to Greece who finished 9th overall and third to Italy’s Rio Demi/Maria Coluzzi (ITA) in 11th overall.
420 Open Junior European – Top 3
1. Wiley Rogers/Jack Parkin (USA) - 23 pts
2. Will Logue/Bram Brakman (USA) - 75 pts
3. Nitai Hasson/Tal Harari (ISR) - 103 pts
420 Junior European – Top 3
1. Nitai Hasson/Tal Harari (ISR) - 103 pts
2. Martin Wrigley/Marcus Tressler (GBR) – 108 pts
3. Andrés Álvarez/Pablo García (ESP) - 111 pts
420 Ladies Junior European – Top 3
1. Jessie Kampman/Anael Ponthieu (FRA) – 119 pts
2. Souzana-Ioli Bakatsia/Nikoletta Papageorgiou (GRE) – 132 pts
3. Rio Demi/Maria Coluzzi (ITA) - 135 pts
In the 420 under 17 fleet, Israel’s Ido Bilik and Ofek Shalgi just needed a reasonable finish in race 11, to wrap up the series with a race to spare. A 5th and a win were more than needed, rewarding them with gold medals and a phenomenal 40 point victory. A fantastic result to build on their bronze medal success from last year’s 420 Worlds.
“We are feeling great and really happy to win the first ever Under 17 420 Junior Europeans,” grinned Bilik.
“The conditions here were interesting,” explained Shalgi. “The wind was tricky, but we understood it and it was fun. We trained all winter 4-5 times a week to prepare for the Championship.”
Looking ahead to the future the pair are considering whether to step up to the challenge of racing the 470 Worlds taking place on their home waters in Israel in October 2015.
Second to Matteo Zerbin/Giulio Maccarone (ITA), third to Albert Torres/Antoni Massanet (ESP).
420 U17 Junior European – Top 3
1. Ido Bilik/Ofek Shalgi (ISR) - 24 pts
2. Matteo Zerbin/Giulio Maccarone (ITA) – 64 pts
3. Albert Torres/Antoni Massanet (ESP) – 66 pts
Thirty nations competed: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, USA.
Daily video highlights by Icarus Sailing Media are available on the Championship website video gallery and 470 Class YouTube channel.
About the 2015 420 Junior European Championship, U17 Junior European Championship, 470 Men Junior European Championship, and 470 Women Junior European Championship
The 2015 420 and 470 Junior European Championships, 8-15 August 2015, were organized by Yacht Club Port Bourgas, in co-operation with the Bulgarian 420 & 470 National Class Association, the International 420 Class Association, the International 470 Class Association, the Municipality of Bourgas, the Port of Bourgas and under the auspices of the Bulgarian Sailing Federation. 412 sailors from 30 nations competed, with 90 boats in the 420 Open fleet, 34 teams in the U17 420 fleet, 32 teams in the 470 Women and 51 teams in the 470 Men.
Championship website: 2015junioreuropeans.420sailing.org