264 YOUTH SAILORS LINE-UP FOR 420 CLASS JUNIOR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
A strong line-up of some of the best youth sailors in the 420 Class are ready to battle it out for glory at the 420 Junior European Championship taking place at the Galician Sailing Centre in Vilagarcia de Arousa, north-western Spain from 23-30 July 2019.
The Championship is for sailors who are aged 18 or younger, with boys, girls and mixed teams competing against each other in the Open fleet for teams aged 18 and under and in the U17 fleet for those 16 years and under. The ninety-three teams in the 420 Open and 39 in the U17 fleets are set to contest a 12-race series over 6 race days, from Thursday 25 July.
The weather is shaping up to offer something for everyone, with lighter breeze of around 12 knots for the first 3 days of the Championship, building to around 18-20 for the closing stages. Different race areas are available depending on the weather, with race tracks closer to shore and out on the ocean.
Two days of registration and measurement precede racing, with the Opening Ceremony formally kicking off the show on Tuesday evening with a parade to Galicia’s main square. The Championship beach clean up takes place on Wednesday 24 July.
Men, Women and mixed teams are racing against each other in the 93 boats contesting the 420 Open Championship. Teams will be split into two fleets for the 6 race qualification series, before the top 47 advance to gold fleet racing and podium honours and the other 46 teams continue racing in the silver fleet.
The 420 Junior European Championship is guaranteed to congratulate a new line-up of medallists, as all last year’s top 3 have aged out of the Championship. There is plenty of talent in the mix vying for front of fleet glory, including the recently crowned 420 World Champions Martin Wizner/Pedro Ameneiro. The pair has enjoyed a remarkable record of success in recent years, are defending 420 Junior European Champions and captured the 2018 420 Worlds bronze medals, with 2019 marking a career best season so far. They have just competed at the Youth Worlds, finishing 5th, so mix their race track confidence with their recent taste of victory and the duo are likely to be formidable opponents.
As host nation Spain can field fourteen teams, and has filled up their quota with a balance of 7 women and 8 men, with an extra slot awarding to the defending Champion too. Always strong in the 420 Class, their squad includes the 420 Worlds bronze medallists Conrad Konitzer/Fernando Rodriguez, 4th placed Nacho Davila/Javier Mestre and 7th placed Pablo Ruiz/Miguel Martinez Fortun. Amongst the women are Paula Van Wieringen/Maria Gil who finished 4th at the Worlds and Marina Garau/Blanca Cabot who last year finished as women’s gold medallists at the U17 Junior Europeans fleet and second overall.
A consistent challenger will be Germany's Johnathan Steidle/Leonardo Honold, winners of the inaugural EUROSAF 420 Race circuit, who just finished 5th at the 420 Worlds, only 8 points off the bronze.
Transitioning from the U17 fleet to U19 racing are Greece’s Odysseas Spanakis/Konstaninos Michalopoulos who won U17 gold at the 420 Worlds. Last year, the pair picked up the bronze medal in the U17 420 Worlds and 6th in the U17 Junior Europeans, and will now make their debut in the more senior fleet.
Leading the flag for Poland will be Patryk Kosmalski/Tomasz Lewandowski (POL) who won Kieler Woche last month up against a 62 boat fleet, and just finished 7th at the Youth Worlds.
The women teams are certain to fight as hard as any of the men, with some big names competing, including 420 Worlds silver medallists Irene Calici/Petra Gregori of Italy and bronze medallists Melina Pappa/Maria Tsamopoulou of Greece. Falling short of the 420 Worlds’ podium by just 1 point was Spain’s Paula Van Wieringen/ Maria Gil, who will be looking to reset the scoreboard. Germany’s Theresa Steinlein/Lina Plettner secured bronze medals at last week’s Youth Worlds, and also carry a favourites tag on the race course.
Eleanor Keers/Faye Chatterton of Great Britain are fresh from carrying their nation flag at the Youth Worlds, where they finished 6th, off the back of scoring a 16th at the 420 Women’s Worlds. The pair kicked off their season being crowned British 420 Inland Championships, so have plenty of experience in a pressurized fleet.
The entire line-up of 93 teams is super competitive, with plenty more than capable of dominating at the front. Racing gets underway on Thursday 25 July, with the first race scheduled to start at 1200 hours.
Lots of new faces amongst the thirty-nine teams aged 16 years and under who will be jockeying for position in the U17 fleet, featuring mixed, boys and girls teams.
Star performers include Spain’s Neus Ballester/Andrea Perello who won the Women’s U17 gold medals at the 420 Worlds, and just last week picked up silver medals at the Youth Worlds. They will be chased hard by team mates Alberto Morales/Miguel Bethencourt who collected the U17 420 Worlds bronze medals in the open category.
Rivals to the Spanish will be the USA’s Vanessa Lahrkamp/Katherine McNamara who secured the Women’s U17 420 Worlds silver medals and bronze medallists Elena Sotiriou/Eleni Giannouli of Greece.
Looking for a critical edge will be France’s Ange Delerce/Timothee Rossi who were 420 Worlds U17 bronze medallists, progressing up from an 8th place last year.
The fight will be finely balanced when racing gets underway on Thursday.
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About the 420 Junior European Championship
The 420 Junior European Championship is open to non-European teams, although the medals will be presented to Europeans teams.
The 420 European Championships is for athletes aged 18 and under at the end of 2019, and each NCA is entitled to 7 entries, with 14 entries for the host nation. The 2019 420 U17 Junior European Championships is for athletes aged 16 and under at the end of 2019. Each NCA is entitled to 3 U17 boats, with 6 boats for the host nation.
Nations competing: Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA.
About the International 420 Class Association
The 420 is an established worldwide performance two-person trapeze and spinnaker racing dinghy which holds status as a World Sailing Class and Learn-to-Sail recognized boat.