Swedish Jesper Stalheim (Laser Standard), Dutch Marit Bouwmeester (Laser Radial women), Polish Marcin Rudawski (Laser Radial men) and Canarian Ismael Iess (Laser Radial under-21) have been announced winners of the European Championship and European Trophy in a race that has concluded this Friday in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Nick Thompson leads the Laser Standard class in the European Senior Championship that kicked off this Monday in Gran Canaria. Three poles in the first three races gives the current World Champion the leading position in a demanding day with hard wind and wave conditions.
In Laser Radial the female board is headed by Dutch Marit Bouwmeester and Swedish Josefin Olsson, both with three poles in their groups. In male Radial, Marcin Rudawski is the current leader.
267 sailors from 47 countries participate in this Championship, organized by the Real Club Nautico de Gran Canaria, the European Laser Association (Eurilca) and the Real Federacion Española de Vela (RFEV).
The first two races that kicked off the European Champinonship went fairly quickly and without any incidents at the start. Conditions were 18-20 knots and less waves than what we saw on Sunday.
At the beginning of the third race, showers cause great changes in both direction and intensity with gusts of wind of over 50 knots and changes of up to 40 degrees in the wind forced the race comittee to adjust the course accordingly.
After the wind stabilized, the race comittee decided to start an extra race and recover one of the races from Sunday. Tomorrow Tuesday has also three races scheduled, starting at 12:00.
Cypriote sailor Pavlos Kjontides -Silver Medalist in London 2012- is second in Laser Standard after finishing 1st, 3rd and 2nd. Kristian Ruth (Norway) is third currently with a 2nd, 5th and 3rd.
The Laser Radial female competition is very tight, the two leaders in their own groups are tied, as well as the girls in the third position (with a 2nd and two 4ths), Finish Tuula Tenkanen and Chinese Xu Lijia -Gold medalist in London 2012.
The qualifying races will continue this Wednesday for both Laser Standard as well as Laser Radial female. Forecast seems to still give sailors strong winds, although it’s expected to ease throughout the day.
14 out of the World’s top 20 female Laser Radial sailors -based on the ranking of the World Sailing federation with more than 500 sailors- will take part in the European Championship that will kick off in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria this Friday, 26th February.
Danish Anne-Marie Rindom –World Champion-, Dutch Marit Bouwmeester –Runner-up World Champion & Silver medalist in London 2012, Swedish Josefin Olsson, Australian Ashley Stoddart or Finish Tuula Tenkanen are some of the top 10 elite sailors that will race in Gran Canaria.
Xu Lijia, Gold Medalist in London 2012, has taken several months off the international circuit and has decided to come back decided to take back the podium she earnt before the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.
First Spanish sailor is Alicia Cebrián (Tenerife), Runner-up champion in the European Championship & member of the Spanish Olympic team alongside Martina Reino (Real Club Nautico de Gran Canaria). Cebrián ended 11th en London 2012 and currently holds the 25th position in the World ranking. Reino is Youth World Champion in 2014 and currently holds the 50th position in the World ranking.
105 female sailors from 35 countries around the world will take place in the European Championship for the Laser Radial class.
The fleet will split in two groups for the ranking stage, with 2 daily races scheduled for 3 days. The results of the races will split the fleet again into the Gold group and Silver group for the finals, also with 2 daily races in 2,3 and 4th March.
After Optimist -the sailing class to start in sailing, Laser is the class with the largest number of practicioners around the World,
German sailor Philipp Buhl won the Carnival Regatta in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Laser Standard followed by Swedish Jesper Satlheim and current World Champion, the British Nick Thompson.
Buhl, Silver medalist in the World Championship celebrated in Kingston (Canada), won in a very close regatta that doubled as a great training for sailors before the European Championship that will take place in the same racecourse at the end of this month.
Joaquin Blanco finished in 18th position, and his Olympic teammate Joel Rodríguez finished in 20th.
The last event of Gran Canaria Sail in Winter was marked by hard conditions with shifting winds of 15-18 knots and long waves.
Whilst the leadership position changed after every race in the Laser Standard class -second, third and fourth have only one point difference- in Laser Radial, Dutch brothers Marit and Roelof Bouwneester dominated the entire race from the get go. Marit, Silver Medalist in the London Olympic games 2012, won in the Laser Radial female and her brother won in the male category.
British Alison Young -regular in the winter season in Gran Canaria- earned a second position in Laser Radial, while Dutch Sarah Toftedal got third place, same position she achieved in the World Championship in Miami a few weeks ago.
Martina Reino (RCNGC) unfortunately broke the bottom mast of her Laser Radial due to very harsh wind conditions in the last day and was unable to finish the last two races. Reino is part of the olympic team alongside Alicia Cebrian, first spanish in the raking holding a 22nd position overall.
In the Male Laser Radial Alejandro Bethencourt (Real Club Náutico de Arrecife) won the Bronce and Silver was earned by Polish sailor Marcin Rudawski.
For both Laser Standard and Radial, this Carnival Regatta has been a great chance to prepare for the European Championship that will take place between February 26 and March 4th in the same race course. The regatta has brought several of the best sailors in the international world ranking to participate in the program Gran Canaria Sail in Winter.
“It has been a great training because we have raced against some players that we will compete against in the European Championship. In this way, we could measure where is the team, measure our strengths and try to improve some areas to get ready for the race in two weeks”, stated Canarian sailor Joaquin Blanco.
The Canarian Laser Championship took place simultaneously this weekend. Bethencourt got the Gold, Cebrián Silver and Reino the Bronce.
In Laser 4.7, Julio Jordán (Club de Mar Radazul) was Gold; Nelly Mª González (RCN Tenerife), silver; and Carlos Pavillard, bronce (RCN Tenerife).
The paralympic class brings also a second medal for Spain, as RCNGC’s sailor José Guerra got third, while Gold went to Finish Janne Laine and Silver to Finish Jussi Ahlström.
The Carnival Regatta, organized by Real Club Nautico de Gran Canaria, yielded a session marked by difficult weather conditions and changes in the pole positions. This iconic regatta has gathered many world class sailors for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.
Swedish Jesper Stalheim leads currently the Laser Standard class after three good races (2nd, 4th and 1st position respectively). Nick Thompson, Kristian Ruth and Stalheim took turns to lead the fleet.
Several leadership changes in Laser Standard class and over 40 disqualifications due to the black flag rule marked Saturday’s race. This race precedes the European Championship that will take place in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria between February 26th and March 4th.
Joaquin Blanco (RCNGC) is the first spanish in position 20, followed by Jesus Rogel with only 4 points separating both of them. Joel Rodriguez (RCNGC) raised to the 28th position after an unlucky first day. Canarian sailors Blanco and Rodriguez are members of the Olympic Team in Laser Standard.
In Laser Radial the Dutch brothers Roelof and Marit Bouwneester keep their leadership with 5 and 6 points respectively.
Alicia Cebrian (RCNT) leads the female Spanish board in Laser Radial at 29, followed closely by her teammate in the Olympic team Martina Reino (RCNGC) in position 32.
Alejandro Bethencourt, representing Lanzarote, is 9th currently in Laser Radial being the first Spanish behind the six women chasing after Roelof. Ismael Iess (RCNGC) finished in 20th position overall, being the second Spanish in the ranking.
This Saturday has been a complicated day, marked by long waves and direction shifts in the wind. Unstable conditions and a rainy day complicated the race course for sailors yesterday. The races are being held in San Cristobal, far down south in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Most of the sailors are facing this race as a final test towards the European Championship, taking perhaps bigger risks from the start -which could explain why there were so many black flag disqualifications.
Julio Jordán, Nelly María González and Carlos Pavillard, all of them representing Tenerife, are leading the ranking in Laser 4.7, which doesn’t have any international sailors. Andrea Machado (RCNGC) finished Saturday holding the 4th position.
Janne Laine, Jussi Ahlström y José Guerra (RCNG) are the first three sailors in the 2.4 mR paralympic class.
This Sunday the race is expected to start at 11:00 and there are 3 races scheduled. The qualifying races have finished and will now divide the fleet in Gold and Silver categories. This afternoon RCNGC will hold an event to give the Trophies to the best sailors.