Monday was set to be parctice race day for the Forward WIP 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships at Lake Attersee, Austria.
Unfortunately Monday brought constant drizzle and flat calm, with only the most dedicated of Swedish 49erFX crews going out for a drift around the lake.
The race committee made an early decision to cancel practice racing and most teams took the opportunity for some down time before the serious stuff begins on Tuesday.
Sailors are simply grateful that the organisers at Union Yacht Club Attersee were able to make a European Championship happen at all.
No spectators are allowed at the venue, only sailors and everyone – sailors, coaches, organisers – had to bring proof of a negative test for Covid-19 before they could register at the venue.
The wearing of masks in public areas is enforceable with a 5-point penalty on any team deemed to be in contravention of the regulations.
With the first qualifying races due to take place on Tuesday 29 September, the Union Yacht Club Attersee is hosting 30 Nacra 17 catamarans, 40 crews in the 49erFX and 60 in the 49er skiff.
Among the front runners for contention in the foiling catamaran division, the Nacra 17, are the reigning World Champions from Great Britain, John Gimson and Anna Burnet, who are the only Olympic Team GB members competing here.
They will face the reigning Olympic Champions from Argentina, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, who are based in the northern hemisphere, because flying to and from Argentina remains very difficult under Covid 19 travel restrictions. And the Rio Olympic bronze medallist Thomas Zajac from Vienna, now sailing with Barbara Matz.
Among the expected frontrunners for the 49erFX European title are the defending champions and World Champions of 2018 and 2019, Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz of the Netherlands.
The reigning World Champions from Spain, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo, are also ready to race, along with the recent winners of Kiel Week, Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke. That performance two weeks ago was sufficient to earn them a place at the Olympics for Germany.
The winner of the men’s 49er division at Kiel was the Danish team of Jonas Warrer and Jakob Precht Jensen. Back in 2008 Warrer won a predominantly light-airs Olympic Regatta to take Olympic gold; 12 years later he’s in his 40s but the victory in Kiel puts Warrer right up there as one of the favourites for success this week.
Local heroes Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl will have a lot of motivation to perform well on home waters. Others to watch are Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Marra, and the 2018 World Champions from Croatia, Sime and Mihovil Fantela.
There are some other British entries including Hannah Bristow and Anna Carpenter, Isabelle Fellows and Alice Masterman, and Megan Brickwood and Stephanie Orton, in the 49erFX.
And in the men’s 49er, young British Team members James Grummett and Daniel Budden.
Forward WIP European Championship Schedule:
Qualifying Series, Tues 29 September to Thursday 1 October.
Final Series, Friday 2 October to Sunday 4 October.