Ireland steps up to the challenge
As the sun sets on the final day of the of the 2023 European Championships, sailors, coaches, volunteers and parents gathered to celebrate what has been an incredible week of extremely challenging racing, hosted brilliantly by The Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Saltsjöbaden. Most of the teams experienced the many highs and lows of racing in such a shifty, pressure driven venue, but in the end it was Irish team mates Ben O’shaughnessy/Ethan Spain who ruled the waves and took the Overall and Men’s European Championship title by 11 points.
With four races on the final day and extreme results from many of the top ten, the championship titles came down to the final race and even then it was nail biting. There was just one point between the top three boats going into the last start, but Ben and Ethan held their nerve, placing top 6 round the first top mark and from there they sailed away to take the victory. Per Christoffer Schwall/Carl Frederik Schwall (GER) sailed an outstanding final four races to jump up the leaderboard into Overall and Men’s Silver medal position with Yanne Broers/Gustav Åsholm-Bradley (NED) just one point behind in third overall and First Open team.
In the Women’s category, Ireland again finished the day strong and Lucia Cullen/Alana Twomey took home the Women’s title and tenth position overall. Assi Lindell/Ines Karlemo (FIN) also put in a solid performance when they needed it most, securing them the Silver medal in the Women’s category with Alja Petric/Caterina Sedmak (SLO) taking the Bronze.
With three Open teams in the top ten, taking Silver was local sailors Hedvig and Hugo Liljegren (SWE) with Caroline Pennetier and Benjamin Benhayoun (FRA) in Bronze medal position.
The Nations Cup for the top three teams out of two categories was France, with three boats in the top ten and the teams celebrated in style and many with a small push off the dock!
Cecile van Steenberge, as the new Vice President of the International 29er Class spoke to the audience, reminding many that our International events are largely run by volunteers who give up their time to support youth sailing. Cecile went on to thank the sailors for giving their best in every race of the Championships and for making us very proud of the 29er fleet. The International 29er Class also extended their thanks once more to The Royal Swedish Yacht Club for really going the extra mile to make their European Championships special from start to finish, and everyone involved will depart knowing they were an integral part of such a unique and memorable week.