The European Championships are fast approaching. Sailors are preparing and training so they can be at their absolute peak at this iconic sailing venue. Lets have a quick look at a few of the runners and riders entered.
We now pretty much have the lie of the land as far as the competition goes in the 2022 A’Cat European Championships and it looks pretty impressive so far. In the absence of any US entries, we won’t be seeing a Ravi Parent / Kuba Surowiec Worlds downwind final-leg rematch or see the World No. 3, Riley Gibbs either. However, Kuba, the World Open No. 2, is blasting but will have several other racers to have to look out for now instead, and there is a strong fleet in this event’s Open category.
We have the AUS Bundy-Stevie double act again. These two former multiple World champions and training partners will fight it out yet again. Darren Bundock, fresh from his Worlds 4th place finish and Stevie Brewin, whom he pipped by one point in Texas, will be resume their on water rivalry again at this Arco event and Stevie no doubt bent on revenge. But also, with a Championship well within in his sights, Tymuk Bendyk POL, who has been holding training sessions on the lake, so will know it’s intricacies intimately. He was pretty dominant at the Spring regatta the other month, so a podium could await for him too. He is one of several in a strong looking Polish squad.
Reigning Euro Champ Manuel Calavia ESP will no doubt be keen to defend the crown he won way back at Warnemunde in 2018, so he has skin in the game. Triple World Champ Mischa Heemskerk NED is an old hand at these events, but hasn’t been see on the circuit so much recently as house building is currently his thing. Hopefully he will be able to get some good results at Garda, one of his favourite venues. Emmanuel Dode FRA will also be looking to do well. He had a very good Houston event, finishing 6th, so he will be hoping to continue his run of good form. Also another top 10 World’s finisher is the old POL veteran Jacek Noetzel. He will be battling it out with the top of the fleet if he is not feeling too old – his words!. We will also see Pieterjan Dwarshuis NED and Rutger Krijger NED in action too. Plus, another couple of AUS sailors, Joey Randle and Paul Larsen. Joey can be fast, assuming he manages to keep the thing on the water and not in the air, and if it’s speed we are talking about, we all know what Paul is capable of doing in that direction!
Germany, the joint organisers with Italy, have a strong team. Had it been a team event, then GER could be a good bet. Roeland Wentholt, the former World Champ Bob Baier and Rainer Bohrer, to name a few, will all be up for it. And if light stuff arrives, Katrin Brunner is in with a shout to finish well, as could also a few other South German lake sailors. In the SUI team, Sandro Caviezel and his fellow Scheurer team rider, Robin Maeder, could also do something. Both are past SUI National Champions after all. Then there is the legendary GRE sailor Konstantinos Trigonis. Judging from his recent Facebook videos, he is looking very fast! A few Vikings are invading, led by Tom Bojland and Peter Boldsen. And we also welcome a few lone representatives of their countries – The well travelled Vladislav Ptasnik representing CZE and Matti Niminen from FIM.
Over on the Classic course, in a smaller but equally strong fleet, Micky Todd ESP looks to be in form, following his 2nd place in Houston and as Landy isn’t here, could be in with a shout. However, Scotty Anderson AUS and Alberto Farnessi SWE are on the course, and they may well have different ideas, especially if the wind gets up, where Alberto is pretty much unstoppable. Phil Muysers BEL is also going well as is GBR sailor Hugh Macgregor, who finished 11th at the 2019 Weymouth Worlds and is also looking rather fast. Plus former NED champ Caroline Van Beelen could also be doing well, especially if it goes light. Jacques Valente FRA, Owen Cox GBR and Ian Michie AUS could also be watched.
As for the Italian fleet, we have no idea yet, as they only have their block fleet booking up so far, so we wait in anticipation!
The fleet is split of about 60:30, the classic fleet is the smaller of the two at Garda, however, it is still the discipline that sees by far the most A’ Cat sailors sail in and it is a favourite of he ‘Older Gentlemen’. Close racing and good camaraderie will see it continue. However, Garda is a foiling venue per excellence, so we expect to see some fast foiling action in the Open fleet out there.
We are all looking forward to this event enormously. The first major European event in 2½ years promises to at least as much fun as usual.
Event starts at the Circolo Vela Arco on the 12th September.