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14 -19 September 2021 / Thessaloniki, Greece

2021 European Championship

Final Day Highlights

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Day 6
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Strong Winds and Strong Nerves – Dobson and Tidey Rise to the Occasion

Dobson and Tidey (GBR) out in front, 2021 © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

After a slow start in the first race, Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) put the hammer down, moved through the fleet and proved unstoppable. It was a sign of things to come.

Behind them all kinds of unforced errors were striking other teams. The Kiwis capsized while leading, the Brazilians were lying in second down the final run to the finish but their gennaker sheet got jammed and they couldn’t clear the problem, watching almost the whole fleet sail past as they finished in 15th.

Maloney and Meech (NZL) capsize

Early on it was the gold and silver medallist teams from Rio 2016 who took the lead. Rio silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) led around the first mark. The reigning Olympic Champions from Brazil, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze also had a go in the lead, but they couldn’t keep the British behind them.

That whacky race set the tone for an afternoon of highly entertaining FX competition. After three weeks of training in light winds, the strong, gusty breeze blowing off the shore created chaos and unpredictability for pretty much everyone. The British have taken the lead with scores of 1,1,6 ahead of Steph Roble & Maggie Shea (USA) who scored 3,2,14. After the disaster of the first race, the Brazilians recovered their composure to win the last race of the session, scoring 15,5,1 for third overall.

Dobson was thankful to have come through the day unscathed, downplaying any excitement about winning her two opening races. “I think if someone had told us a week ago that we’d get these results on day one, we’d have bitten their arm off.” She said it was about keeping things simple, or “boring” as she described it..

Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (USA) putting their best foot forward on day 1. 2021 © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

The first two 49erFX races were a real challenge physically and mentally. Of the entire fleet only Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea sailed virtually flawlessly. Remember, the Brits had to come back from two poor starts to win the first two races.

Race one mishap for Grael and Kunze

After the first race, the camera’s focused in on Grael and Kunze as they fixed their spinnaker sheet issue and visibly expressed their disappointment at how the first race had gone. 

The strange thing is, they were the team that had sailed the best until the moment their spin sheet joint pulled through their ratchet block. Good start, good lane holding, good shift catching and good boat handline, it was clear they had a handle on the conditions when so many other teams seemed caught up in the moment. Everything was on the right track until the final leg. Being unable to quickly fix the stuck sheet, and losing 13 points in a single downwind took them completely off the rails.


The passion and aggression that Grael is known to sail with came through visibly via the onboard cameras as they fixed their boat and in their expressions on the coach boat. Modern sports psychology tries to get athletes into a Zen like state at all times. The commentary team suggested they need not have tried the gybeset where the trouble occurred, and should instead have settled for second place in the first race. That is not how Grael and Kunze sail.


The Rio 2016 gold medalists have always sailed with passion, and if the rest of the day is a judge of how that works for them, it works. They went on to sail to fifth and then to win the final race. They actually sailed the best of any team in the fleet, if it wasn’t for the rigging issue. While much might be made of their less conventional process on full display, the gold medalists seem poised to have a great week. 

Grael, Kunze and their coaches digesting the first race mishap © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Irish hold off medal contenders for dream Olympic debut
The breeze had dropped a lot since the 49erFX fireworks earlier on the Enoshima course. The first race eventually got away after 16:00 JST in a 10-12 knot breeze which kept the teams on their toes throughout. Eventually a pattern emerged and it was Ireland’s Rob Dickson and Sean Waddilove that came to the fore, hounded by Dylan Fletcher& Stu Bithell (GBR). 

The young Irish crew misjudged the finish line opening the door for Great Britain to steal the win, but in a photo finish it was the Irish who took the gun. “We came here with not too many expectations,” said Dickson. “This is our first Olympics. So we didn’t have any real results or goals coming into this – just to go and deal with what we have on the water, the conditions and do our best. We have 11 races to go, anything can change. You’ve just got to be ready for everything.
“Fletcher is engaged to British teammate Charlotte Dobson in the 49erFX and was mock-irritated to have had his second place trumped by his fiancée’s stellar start to her competition in the 49erFX.  

Rio 2016 bronze medallists Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel took third, while Spaniards Diego Botin and Iago Marra finished fourth. Reigning Olympic Champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) started poorly and recovered slightly to 12th place.
They all started on Port?
Sailors love talking about starting. How important it is, the best tricks, theories and tactics, and how the RC got it wrong and they weren’t over the line.
Race 1 of the 49er fleet was a wonderful display of the extreme starting skill these Olympians poses. With under three minutes until the start, the breeze shifted 20 degrees left, making the pin end favored and the first shift to a Port advantage. After an hour of the wind shifting mightily, the RC let it run, and the sailors adjusted.

This is the screenshot with thirty seconds to go. Hardly a boat prepared to race, or so it would seem. The fleet were sitting off the line on starboard, ready to flip over and wouldn’t you know it, just as the start came most of the boats flipped over and got good starts, without any fouls, and with most boats in a good lane to start the race.

The shifts kept coming before the RC ultimately abandoned the race before setting up again for a remarkably stable restarted race.
Nacra 17 Ready to go

The foilers are ready to get started, with racing scheduled to begin in the afternoon timeslot. Check out the cool image from Ruggero Tita (ITA)

For photos, result, starts times and social, visit the 49er and Nacra 17 Olympic pages.

About Thessaloniki

In 316 B.C. at the inlet of Thermaikos Gulf ancient king Kassandros founded a new city, which he named for his wife Thessaloniki, stepsister of Alexander the Great. For centuries, as co-capital of the Byzantine empire and afterwards, Thessaloniki was the crossroads of nations and has attracted many foreign rule thus establishing an international character by sustaining the coexistence of various and diverse civilizations, religions and cultures. Today as we entered the 21st century, Greece’s second largest city has become the headquarters of many organizations and institutions aimed at the reconstruction and development of the Balkans. Innumerable Byzantine monuments and churches, the magnificent findings from the royal tombs in Vergina, the famous national theater, an outstanding cuisine, its intensive night-life and its proximity to the suburbs beaches of Halkidiki, make modern Thessaloniki an even more attractive point for tourism in Greece.

Culture

Due to the city’s rich and diverse history, Thessaloniki houses many museums dealing with many different eras in history. Two of the city’s most famous museums include the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Museum of Byzantine Culture. Apart from its recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Thessaloniki is home to a

 number of prominent archaeological sites worth visiting.

Coffee Lovers

Drinking coffee is by far one of the greatest pleasures for the Greeks. Our national drink probably costs more than it should, but lasts longer than anywhere else. The average time devoted to this beloved habit is at least 40 minutes; drinking coffee is kind of a ritual almost for every Greek.

Food and wine

The second largest city of this Mediterranean country, Thessaloniki is a paradise for foodies. While displaying its historical landmarks, the sun-drenched, charming and eastern-flavored Salonika (as the city was previously known as) offers its visitors the opportunity to discover the Greek cuisine with all its original dishes and culinary influences. If you truly wish to discover the secrets of the Macedonian wine, the wineries of Epanomi, Kalohori, Osa and Askos Sohou are the right places to begin with!

Important, historic locations like the “Gerovasileiou” domain will gladly accept you.

Nightlife

Thessaloniki used to be called “the city that never sleeps”, just like NYC. Even though this is not totally true anymore, you can always find another place to go for another beer, in case you really wanna stay out till the morning. The city’s nightlife has been changing a lot, during the last 10 years, but it has always been very versatile. You can do pretty much anything you’d possibly like. From trendy cocktail bars to old-school rock bars and from bar with live music to bouzoukia, you can still find a place to satisfy your needs and desires as a guest.

Recommended Restaurants

After a hard day on the waters, enjoy your meal in one of our recommended restaurants!

  • SOROKOS – tavern housed in NCTH premises
  • ESPERIDES – restaurant at about 100m to the left of NCTH
  • KRONOS – restaurant at about 400m to the left of NCTH

All are close to the venue and can be easily recognized by the banner “RECOMMENDED”. All are offering sailors’ menus at little cost.

We wish you Good Appetit – in Greek “Kali όrexi!”

EVENT PROGRAM

Nautical Club of Thessaloniki welcomes teams as soon as they would like, but please email nautical@ncth.gr to book your space.

  • Saturday11 September 0900 – 1800 Registration
  • Sunday12 September 0900 – 1800 Registration 
  • Monday13 September 0900 – 1100 Registration 
  • 1255 Practice Races
  • 1800 Competitors Briefing
  • 1900 Opening Ceremony
  • Tuesday 14 September TBA Qualifying Series Races
  • Wednesday 15 September TBA Qualifying Series Races
  • Thursday 16 September TBA Qualifying Series Races
  • Friday 17 September TBA Final Series Races
  • Saturday 18 September TBA Final Series Races
  • Sunday 19 September TBA Final Series Races
  •  1900 Closing Ceremony

Covid 19 Protocols

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Boat Park Organization

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Registration for the regatta is via manage2sail. Here is the link to Europeans registration.

Shipping Prices from DB Schenker

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Day 2 Highlights

Day 1 Highlights