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May 10-16, 2001 / Brest, France

2001 European Championship

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Pos Helm Crew Nat Pts
1 Michael Hestbek Hansen Terp Rasmus Den 28
2 Iker Martinez Xabier Fernandez Esp 34
3 Santiago Lopez-Vasquez Javier de la Plaza Esp 36
Team GBR positions:
6 Alistair Richardson Peter Greenhalgh GBR 45
7 Paul Brotherton Simon Hiscocks GBR 53
12 Ian Barker Harvey Hillary GBR 82
22 Chris Draper Mark Asquith GBR 144

From yachtsandyachting.com

Preview

At Brest in France, the 49er class start their European Championship on Saturday. Up to fifty internationals crews are expected to contest the five-day regatta (Saturday 12th – Wednesday 15th May).

After winning the Hyeres Olympic Classes Regatta at the end of April, Paul Brotherton and Sydney Silver Medallist Simon Hisocks are gunning for a medal position. Brotherton won the European Championship Gold Medal in 1998 while Hiscocks (sailing with his Olympic helmsman Ian Barker) won the Bronze.

Other member of the Lottery funded Team GBR 49er squad competing in France are:

  • Paul Brotherton (from Hamble in Hampshire) and Simon Hiscocks (from Newdigate in Surrey). Simon won the 49er class Silver Medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics with Ian Barker. He teamed up with 1992 Olympian Paul Brotherton at the beginning of the year. The pair won the ISAF grade one Hyeres Olympic Classes Regatta in April.
  • Ian Barker (from Hamble in Hampshire) and Harvey Hilary (from Southampton in Hampshire). Ian was Team GB’s Silver medal winning 49er helmsman in Sydney.
  • Alistair Richardson (from Bournemouth in Dorset) and Peter Greenhalgh (from Southampton in Hampshire). Training partners to Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks prior to the Sydney Olympic Games.
  • Mark and Sam Richmond (from London). Graduates of the Volvo RYA Youth Squad programme.

Day 1

At Brest in France, Alistair Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh, training partners to Sydney Olympic Silver Medallists Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks, produced an outstanding response to the extraordinarily tricky conditions the Atlantic served up for the opening day of the 49er European Championship. Richardson and Greenhalgh’s 5,1,1 scoreline from their three qualifying heats (short windward/leeward races) is expected to put them in the provisional lead of the 60 plus fleet (divided into two fleets for qualifying), but there are still 4 days (upto 5 races per day) left to decide the medal positions.

“It was a very shifty day. The breeze went from 3-11 knots on every beat so it all came down to the wire. The race we finished fifth could have been much better than that or much worse. The whole day was eyes out of the boat, very difficult conditions, certainly not ‘higher and faster’ easy race wins,” explained crew Peter Greenhalgh.

The pair had promising seasons in 1999 and 2000 and were amongst the favourites to claim the single place for the Sydney Games at last April’s trials regatta. Following training with Barker and Hiscocks prior to the Olympics, they took a long break and returned to competition at last months Hyeres Olympic Classes Regatta, finishing sixth overall.

In the other qualifying fleet, Team GBR Olympic Silver Medallist helmsman Ian Barker and crew Harvey Hillary scored 8,2 while Paul Brotherton (Gold Medallist at this event three years ago) and Simon Hiscocks scored 5,4. Brotherton won the Hyeres Regatta and the European Championship warm up event and was leading their third qualification race this afternoon when it was mysteriously abandoned just 200 yards from the finish line.

Day 2

At the conclusion of the two day qualification round, four Team GBR crews have made the 25 boat Gold fleet will contest the 49er European Championship over the next three days at Brest in France.

Alistair Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh won the qualification stage and carry a psychological lead into the next three days of finals. “We had a good morning with a first and second, but not such a good afternoon (scoring fourth and sixteenth) as we had a few problems, such as the spinnaker kept falling down,” explained Peter Greenhalgh.

Their first place overall will count as their opening race score for the final series and is not discardable. “It’s a bit annoying in someways as we have a good set of results (in the seven races to date) which would put us someway ahead but unfortunately it is almost back to square one,” added Peter.

Conditions were a lot more obliging today, with a steady 15 knots this morning, which gradually dropped to an 8 knot breeze late this afternoon.

Joining Richardson and Greenhalgh in the Gold fleet will be Paul Brotherton & Simon Hisocoks, Ian Barker & Harvey Hillary and Chris Draper & Mark Asquith. Alex Tobutt & Henry Clarke are currently one place off the top 25, but may join the Gold fleet subject to protests this evening.

BREST; France. 49er European Championship provisional results (after 2 days, 7 races)

Pos Helm Crew Nat Pts
1 Alistair Richardson Peter Greenhalgh GBR 15
2 Iker Martinez Xavier Fernandez Esp 20
3 Andy Mack crew USA 20
Other Team GBR sailors
4 Paul Brotherton Simon Hiscocks GBR 20
8 Ian Barker Harvey Hillary GBR 30
15 Chris Draper Mark Asquith GBR 60

Day 3

After three races in the 49er European Championship Gold fleet, 1998 Champion Paul Brotherton and Olympic Silver Medallist Simon Hiscocks are third overall in the 25-boat final and looking on form in the breeze.

Brotherton and Hiscocks are sailing with the new class sails by Neil Pryde. Being flatter than the current North sails used by a majority of the fleet, they have greater power in stronger winds while in the lighter breezes do not generate as much speed. Having won the first race of the day and finished fifth in the second in a moderate 12-14 knot breeze, Brotherton and Hiscocks were seventeenth in race three as the wind dropped from 12 to around 7 knots. The new sails will be mandatory for the class from January 2002 onwards with Brotherton and Hiscocks getting some valuable testing under their belts already with an eye to 2004.

“I’m pleased with the way we sailed. Only five boats in the Gold fleet are using the new sails. Given that, we’re pleased with the speed that we’ve got when the conditions suit the sails and we had a first and a fifth but we also have to accept that when the conditions don’t suit the sails, and that is beyond our control, we may go slower than the rest, which is the other twenty boats!” explained Paul.

For the others members of the Lottery funded Team GBR 49er squad, Alistair Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh are ninth overall with 10,17,9 today with Ian Barker and Harvey Hillary one place behind having added 11,14,13 to their scorecard.

Racing concludes on Wednesday.

BREST; France. 49er European Championship provisional results: (after 3 days, 4 Gold fleet races)

Pos Helm Crew Nat Pts
1 Iker Martinez Xavier Fernandez Esp 15
2 Michael Hestbek Rasmus Terp Hansen Den 17
3 Paul Brotherton Simon Hiscocks GBR 27
Other Team GBR sailors:
9 Alistair Richardson Peter Greenhalgh GBR 37
10 Ian Barker Harvey Hillary GBR 45

Day 4

Results after 6 Gold fleet races (the first race is the result of the qualifying series). Paul Brotherton and Simon Hiscocks have dropped down the rankings after an OCS. Alistair Richardson & Pete Greenhalgh are up to 5th.

Gold Fleet:

Pos Helm Crew Country R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Pts
1 MARTINEZ Iker  FERNANDEZ Xabier SPAIN 2 8 4 1 1 14 4 20
2 HESTBEK Michael  RASMUS TERP Hansen DENMARK 5 5 3 4 2 1 5 20
3 LUKA Rodion  LEONCHUK George UKRAINE 9 15 1 5 3 5 10 33
4 SIBELLO Piero  SIBELLO Gianfranco ITALY 10 12 13 3 4 3 6 38
5 RICHARSON Alistair  GREENHALGH Peter GREAT BRITAIN 1 10 17 9 15 2 7 44
6 LOPEZ-VASQUEZ Santiago  DE LA PLAZA Javier SPAIN 8 3 9 10 12 12 3 45
Other British Placings:
8 BROTHERTON Paul  HISCOCKS Simon GREAT BRITAIN 4 1 5 17 19 4 OCS 50
11 BARKER Ian  HILARY Harvey GREAT BRITAIN 7 11 14 13 10 13 2 56
25 DRAPER Chris  ASQUITH Mark GREAT BRITAIN 15 21 25 21 20 20 24 121

Day 5 – Final Day

Sixth overall for Alistair Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh, one place ahead of Paul Brotherton and Simon Hiscocks, at the 49er European Championship (which finished today) consolidates Great Britain’s position amongst the leading dozen nations in the Olympic skiff class.

Although neither of the two leading Team GBR crews were able to produce the results that were needed today to lift them from fifth (Richardson) and eighth (Brotherton) overall last night into the medals, individual race results remain promising. Both crews also leave Brest on the French Atlantic coast with a clear plan of the work ahead that is needed to challenge for podium positions.

“We’re fairly happy and we see it as a positive result but we’ve had a few things conspire against us this week,” reflected Olympic Silver Medallist Simon Hiscocks after racing. “We had an OCS yesterday and Paul (Brotherton) has had the flu all week so he hasn’t been able to sail 100% to his potential. On the plus side, we’ve learnt some things about the rig and about starting and communication in the boat. We’ve got a long way to go as the small things make a difference and it takes a long time to get the dynamics of sailing together just right”.

Considering Team GBR’s overall position, Stephen Park, RYA Olympic Development Squad Manager said: “Our results were reasonable as we have three new crews sailing together whilst this is the second event this season for the only established team (Alistair and Peter) after they have had a winter off through injury. Some of them were disappointed as they felt they were capable of better results but it’s still very early days”.

Danes Michael Hestbek and Hansen Rasmus Terp won the series from Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez (Spain) but current world champions Santiago Lopez-Vasquez and Javier de la Plaza (Spain) sailed a perfect final day in the 10-14 knot breeze to score three first places and move from sixth overall into the Bronze medal position.

BREST: France: 49er European Championship Gold Fleet Final results: (after 5 days)

Pos Helm Crew Nat Pts
1 Michael Hestbek Hansen Terp Rasmus Den 28
2 Iker Martinez Xabier Fernandez Esp 34
3 Santiago Lopez-Vasquez Javier de la Plaza Esp 36
Team GBR positions:
6 Alistair Richardson Peter Greenhalgh GBR 45
7 Paul Brotherton Simon Hiscocks GBR 53
12 Ian Barker Harvey Hillary GBR 82
22 Chris Draper Mark Asquith GBR 144