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14 -19 September 2021 / Thessaloniki, Greece

2021 European Championship

Final Day Highlights

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The Brazilian 49erFX Champions repeated their Rio performance after beating their challengers in another incredibly tight medal race. Sailing as always with courage, guts, and smarts, Grael and Kunze (BRA) worked hard to win the boat end of the start line, got the first shift, consolidated over the top of their challengers, and then extended forward cleanly with win comfortably in the end.

The Brazilians were tied on points heading into the final race with Annemiek Bekkering with Annette Duetz (NED) who continued to sail to their strengths by winning the pin end. Unfortunately for the Dutch, they didn’t have as clean a start as they would have liked and were blocked from a perfect lane by Norway and Argentina who went on to win and place second in the race.

The critical moments came halfway up the first beat. Both the Brazilians and Dutch headed toward each other from their respective sides, the main difference being the Brazilians were powered up and sailing alone, while the Dutch had to do a few ducks and sail in a controlled lane. For much of that convergence, the Brazilians were holding a half knot boat speed advantage which put them ahead when they converged. Brazil rounded cleanly in third, while the Dutch got mixed up with the bulk of the fleet and gradually fell back through the race as the traffic and a tough leeward mark rounding kept pushing them backward.

“This week was a very big challenge to come all the way from behind and little by little go up in the fleet, even having some other results, some not so good. It was really tough – every single point.” Martine Grael

Starting in the front row and sailing a safe but effective race was the German pair of Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke.  The critical moment in their race came halfway down the first downwind. The German pair gybe set along with the Brazilians and Dutch, while Tamara Echegoyen with Paula Barcelo (ESP) straight-set to what turned out to be the favored side. As the German and Spanish came back together, the Spanish had to give way to the Germans as they were on port. By the most slim of margin, the Spanish spinnaker brushed the back of Lutz (GER) on the way by, a clear but unfortunate port/starboard foul for the Spanish, who were penalized and had to do a penalty turn.

Spain hits Germany with their spinnaker as they try to duck.

The Germans continued onward, moving up into the fourth position by the second windward mark, ultimately finish in fifth, but moved into the Silver medal position based on the Dutch finishing more than two places behind them!

The German story is one of perseverance. They began racing together in 2007, missing out on selection in 2008 and 2012 in the 470, then again in the 49er in 2016. They stuck together, and improved their sailing through the quadrennial, winning two European Championships. They made it to Tokyo and have now converted their fifteen years of experience into a Silver medal.

For Annemiek Bekkering with Annette Duetz (NED), a Bronze medal is a wonderful prize, but they have some unfinished business at the front end of the fleet. The two burst onto the elite 49erFX scene winning back to back World Championships in 2018 and 2019. Perhaps covid threw off their momentum as they did not do much traveling or racing over the break, yet they were ever so close to the top.

The Spanish continued to factor in the race, but ultimately could not make up any ground and finished in fourth for the second consecutive Olympics. Let’s spare a moment for any team finishing twice at a games. Tamara did win gold in London 2012, and two 49erFX World Championships, but that is a heartbreaking result for one of the most popular sailors in the boat park.

Argentina continued their light air dominance in Tokyo by winning the medal race which moved them up the standings another position into fifth. They were incredibly close to a Bronze medal in the end, and had just one more boat finished ahead of the Spanish and Dutch they would have won a medal.

Travascio and Branz share a hug after they win the medal race

Britain, Norway, and Denmark filled places six through eight overall. Each of these teams had medal performances through the quadrennial and would have been dreaming of medaling at the Games. For the British, they had such a great start to the regatta, but could not hold that lead as the regatta turned lighter. For Denmark and Norway, they each had a couple of days that didn’t go their way, and then the days that did go their way were not enough to move any higher.

France and Singapore round out the top 10. Each of these teams is in their first games and will take positives from the performances as they turn their eyes toward Paris.

Full results, photos, and stories about the 49erFX fleet.

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