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Access Class 2013 European Championships

The Combined Access Class 2013 European Championships have just concluded on Lake Constance, Switzerland.  Yacht Club Arbon hosted the event in cooperation with Sailability Switzerland from 7-12 May.  Seventy one entries from twelve nations competed in the Access 2.3, 303, Liberty and SKUD 18 classes.

The weather was not kind to organisers or sailors with plenty of rain and generally light winds.  Some fresher breezes on the final day enabled the racing program to be completed for all divisions.

A strong fleet of ten SKUD 18s competed at the Championships.  In the post Paralympic year, it was good to see a mix of experienced and new teams on the water.  Italy had three crews contesting the event, two Polish teams had their first hit-out and crews from France and the Netherlands returned to SKUD competition.

SKUD Start 2013EuroChamps_2788

Last year’s Paralympic Bronze Medallists, Alexandra Rickham & Niki Birrell (GBR), made a clean sweep of the placings but were not without challengers.  Italy’s Marco Gualandris & Marta Zanetti were fast all week, leading several races but unable to match the tactical ability of the Brits.  Andrzej Bury & Grzegorz Prokopowicz (POL) were very happy to make the podium in their debut regatta, taking third place on tie-break from the experienced Spaniards Diana Cantalejo & Francisco Villa with a good final day.

Next year about this time, the SKUDs  will be competing on Italy’s Lake Garda in the first round of the 2014 EUROSAF Champions Cup being held at Riva del Garda.

In the Liberty competition, Gerard Eychenne (FRA) dominated every race and finished with a perfect score.  Barry Coates (AUS) was second, ahead of Paul Speight (FRA).  Cristina Rubke (USA) was best of the Servo Liberty sailors, just a point clear of Wilma van den Broek (NED).

Zoltan Pegan & Eva Mircsev (HUN) have retained the two-person 303 championship title they claimed both in Italy in 2011 and at the inaugural European Championships in France two years earlier.  Second place was also a repeat of 2011, with Joshua Rothenhausler & Dominique Scheller (SUI) finishing as runners-up.  The gap has narrowed however, with a single point separating the top two teams.  Third were Roger Lieberherr & Christion Schiller (SUI).

The single-person 303 competition was won by Gilles Guyon (FRA) who put together consistent  top three placings to finish five points ahead of Joao Pinto (POR) .  Countryman Carlos Araujo (POR) was just one point behind in the third place won by a tie-break to Frenchman Guy Lassalle.

After finishing second at Lake Garda two years ago, Lindsay Burns (GBR) has won the 2.3 European Championship.  Only the minimum four races were completed in this fleet, but Burns made the most of the opportunities making a perfect scorecard.  Fernando Pinto and Luisa Graca, both from Portugal, were second and third.

A busy summer still lies ahead with National Championships being held in Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal and the UK.  The next international level event for the Access Classes is the North American Championships being held in San Francisco in early September – the same venue that will host the 2014 World & International Championships.

First races sailed in light winds at the European Access Class Championships

The weather forecasting really light winds for the first racing day at the Access Class European Championships. Only the one person classes could sail their first races in the morning. Due to the lack of wind, racing for the two person classes, were postponed for tomorrow.

The Liberty fleet were up on the race track first with Gérard EYCHENNE taking the lead from early on in the race and leading over Cristina RUBKE from the USA. EYCHENNE held tight onto his lead, not making an error, to claim a motivating opening win. Holland’s Wilma VAN DEN BROEK overtook the American RUBKE to finish 2nd, with RUBKE in 3rd. In the 303 one person class, Hungary’sZoltan PEGAN, the 2010 World Champion, led the race from early on and clearly demonstrated his superiority in the fleet by securing a safe lead and sailed cleverly and with smart tactics to easily take the win. Damien PEYSSON finished 2nd in the race followed by Gilles GUYON close behind – no doubt these two  French skippers will have some fierce battles throughout the series.

Immediately after, the wind dropped to zero and there was no other choice for the race committee than to postpone racing, and send the sailors ashore to wait for the breeze. On a positive note, the forecast is for more breeze over the coming days. The breeze finally built up to 5-7 knots and the skud18 and access 303 two person fleets went out to the race course – but only for the wind to disappear, forcing racing to be abandoned for the day.  Stay tuned for more wind and more racing action tomorrow!

The 2013 Access Class European Championships are underway in Arbon

The Access Class European Championships and SKUD 18 Europeans are taking place in Arbon, on the waters of Lake Constance, Switzerland’s biggest lake and the natural border between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Championships are organized by the Yacht Club Arbon in cooperation with Sailiability.ch. The 71 boats competing here will fight for the Championship titles over the next 4 days. 2013 marks the largest level of participation compared to any previous Championships and the number of nations competing has doubled since last year – with 71 boats representing 12 nations. So a great event is set to unfold.

On the first two days the athletes have to pass their boats through measurement inspection to ensure all boats comply with the Class Rules and everyone will be competing on an equitable basis; sails and boats have to comply under the same rules, so hulls are also weighed and have to be within the official limit.

PracticeRace_2263There are 5 different classes competing at the Europeans, offering a range of sailing styles and disciplines. The Access 2.3 is the only class with one sail and thus the smallest of all, then there is the Access 303 that is sailed by one or two persons – with these events attracting a high level of entries. The last of the access classes is the Liberty that can also be sailed by persons with serious disabilities, using servos to help them sail and control the sails. Last but not least is the SKUD18 class, the only Paralympic event here and the most exciting one sailed by a two person crew and with a large gennaker, the boat can achieve some impressive speeds.

After registration and equipment inspection the practice race was scheduled for today. After a long wait for the wind to show up, the start was finally given for the three first classes under very light conditions. But the lack of consistency in wind strength forced the Race Committee to abandon the practice race and hope for a better start tomorrow when the Championships gets underway. Enjoy some impressions from the first days of the championship.

31.03.2013: Information to all competitors

Entry deadline extended

The Organization Authority decided to extend the entry deadline to Fri, 5. April. Please enter your last-minute entries asap. Late entry fee of extra CHF 100.- will apply to all entries after the entry deadline.

Accommodation update

The tourist infocenter Arbon informed us, that hotels and apartments with wheelchair accessible rooms are nearly fully booked in Arbon. More rooms are available in the proximity of St.Gallen. For those participants who do not have accommodation yet, please contact the Tourist Office St.Gallen-Bodensee: >>ww.st.gallen-bodensee.ch/en/

Event Schedule Update

The International Access Class Association Forum will take place on Thu. 9. May 2013 form 18:00 – 19:00h in the championship tent. The event schedule is accordingly updated. >>Event schedule

Access Charter Boats Availability

For the spontaneous among you: There are still some Access 303 and Access 2.3 for charter available. For more information write an email to info@accessclasseuro2013.com

RIB Charter Boats

Due to lack of interest we decided to cancel the offer for the coaches to charter RIBs from charterboat.com.

Please remeber:  For Coaches and helpers that are bringing RIBs or other non racing vessels are requested to register the boats and will be required to comply with local legislation. Due to restrictive legislation on Lake Constance, every non-resident motor vessel requires an exceptional permission for operation. Only boats with four-stroke engines will get such a permit. The OA will apply for the needed exceptional permission for the event. Please get in contact with the OA via mail (info@accessclasseuro2013.com) to register your motor vessel prior to the entry deadline (5th April 2013).

Welcome to the Host City Arbon

Welcoming address by Andreas Balg,
City Major of Arbon

It is with great pleasure that Arbon takes up the role as the Host City for the next Access Class European Championships which will take place in May 2013.

When the new harbour was officially opened in 2010, it contained not only an additional 150 mooring places for sailing boats, but also an extra slip as well as an extra jetty for the handicapped. By creating the best possible environment Arbon enables the athletes to focus on their sport instead of logistic matters.

Arbon is a lakefront city with more than three kilometre of unspoiled lakeside. The city is also part of the UNESCO world heritage because of the prehistoric pile dwellings. Various parks, a variety of sporting activities as well as cultural events and the old town make Arbon to a popular tourist destination throughout the year. In this sense we welcome all athletes to our city and wish you an unforgettable stay and sailing competition in Arbon and on the Lake of Constance. Welcome!

Andreas Balg

City Major of Arbon

 

«A very warm welcome to the Access Class Sailors»

Welcoming address by Monika Knill,
President of the Government of Thurgovia

Dear Sailors
Dear Sports Lovers

Welcome to the Canton of Thurgau! The sport of sailing enjoys a long tradition in the Canton of Thurgau. This is no doubt due to our geographical location on the water, with over 60 kilometres of direct borders with Lake Constance and the River Rhine. Our sailing clubs are also widely known as organisers. They regularly arrange Swiss, European and world championships. In recent years, these have included, for example, the Optimist, 420 and Sharks classes. During the Access Class European Championships 2013, you can benefit from this experience as athletes, and also as supervisors, sponsors and guests.

I am delighted that the Access Class has selected Lake Constance and Arbon as the competition venue, and on behalf of the government of Thurgau, allow me to extend a very warm welcome. I am also grateful to the team of Sailability.ch and the Arbon Yacht Club for their substantial and unstinting commitment. I am convinced that the organising committee will make every effort to ensure you enjoy great sailing and some truly memorable experiences. The Sailability.ch motto, «Sailing for All», is true to life and applies to everyone involved.

The sailors of Sailability.ch have won numerous medals at previous championships. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they can repeat their excellent achievements on Lake Constance. As the sponsor of a dinghy, I particularly hope that the work of Sailability.ch in the European Championships will earn the public recognition it deserves.

I hope you enjoy excellent wind and weather conditions! Good luck!

Monika Knill

President of the Government,
Head of the Department of Education and Culture

«A very warm welcome to the Access Class Sailors»

Welcoming address by the President
of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer

Dear Sailors
Ladies and Gentlemen

Water, wind and waves – the three elements that sailors and their boats must tackle in all weather conditions. This demands skill, proficiency, stamina and endurance from both recreational and racing sailors. And the challenges are even greater for people with special needs, who are confronted with the perils of life each and every day.

I am delighted that, for several years now, the Sailability.ch organisation has been providing these athletes, both young people and adults alike, with special boats so they too can enjoy sailing. I admire how you, as sailors, meet the challenges on the water to compete against your opponents in these European Championships.

I wish all the participants here from Switzerland and abroad a successful regatta and the best possible wind conditions. I would also like to thank the Arbon Yachtclub and Sailability.ch for organising these championships and the many helpers for their support.

Ueli Maurer

Federal Councillor
Head of the Federal Department of Defence,
Civil Protection and Sport DDPS