Hungarian boat wins the first race at the 49er and 49erFX Junior European Championships
The Hungarian-Spanish crew, competing under the Hungarian flag, won the first race of the 49er class at the European U23 Championships in Balatonfüred. The first race of the 49erFX class was won by the Polish boat.
The second day started with an AP flag at 9.30am. In the meantime, the race committee measured the wind at several locations in the race area. According to the information they received, the wind was variable in strength and direction but with the encouraging speed of 5.2 knots on average and maximum winds well above 6 knots. Further readings showed stabilizing conditions. First the 49erFX fleet and then also the 49er fleet took to the water. At 10.19am AP flag came down as Peter Lübeck sent the sailors out to race. The wind was blowing 5-7 knots from 70 degrees.
The race organizers had been setting the course in ever-improving conditions. Luckily the wind had freshened, so at 11:20 the 49er fleet had its first start of the Europeans with the U flag flying. The 95 degree, 950-metre long course axis proved to be too short in the already 9 knots wind, so course race officer Bence Kárpáti lengthened the course by 250 metres for the second lap and also adjusted it to the right due to the slight shift in the wind.
The Hungarian boat crossed the finish line first. HUN-373 is helmed by the recent Hungarian champion Roni Oszkár Szabó, his racing partner is the Spanish Filippo Binetti Pozzi. Szabó and his crew already led by 2-3 boat lengths at the first mark and gradually increased their lead to win start to finish.
“We have very good speed in this kind of wind, so we could race our own race from the beginning by following the wind shifts. The front of the fleet was still pretty tight at the end of the first leg. In the first downwind, the leading boats stretched out a bit, so we were able to keep an eye on the second and third place boats right behind us, enforce our tactics and increase our lead,” said the winning helmsman, Roni Oszkár Szabó.
In the first race the jury gave only one penalty, interestingly, the winning Hungarian boat was the one receiving it. Fortunately for them, although they were penalized after the one-minute signal, they still had time to resume their starting position and eventually win the race.
By the start of the next race, the wind had dropped noticeably, with an average of 5.7 knots and a maximum of just over 6 knots. This start was also passed without a UFD, but with the wind already dropping to an average of 3.7 knots, the race committee decided to abandon the race at the end of the first leg and after raising the N flag and then AP. The boats started to go back to the harbour, where after waiting for a while the continuation of the race was postponed to the next day.
On the Bravo course of the European Championships – where the women’s and mixed team Olympic class, the 49erFX class competed – the first race was very similar to the Alfa course. The second upwind leg had to be extended in the freshening winds and the axis had to be changed to the right. The wind force was also similar, at around 8 knots.
The second race also started in weakening winds between 5 and 6 knots, and in the middle of the first downwind leg the wind reduced so much that the RC led by Berta Böröcz prepared to shorten the course. After a significant wind shift of 35-40 degrees, when the wind changed from the original 100 degrees to 60 degrees, the race committee decided to abandon the race.