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European Championship 2006

Loctudy, France

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After eight testing races in a variety of condition, Martin von Zimmermann (GER) is the new OK Dinghy European Champion, with Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) in second place and Jorgen Lindhardtsen (DEN) in third. Sailed in Loctudy in north-western France, the regatta was plagued by light and quite shifty winds and became a quite high scoring regatta as many sailors struggled to find any consistency.

The championship opened on Monday 24th July with three races being sailed. Martin von Zimmerman tells the story of race one, “Light wind conditions dominated the first race and a rising tide made the right hand side favoured. Various obstacles such as bread rock (a small island) and several boats anchored in front of the shoreline put an additional challenge on the first beat. Tomacsz Gal (POL) got the right side first and no one could pass him. It was a surprise to me that course was shortened to only one triangle. Greg Wilcox (NZL) finished second and I was third ahead of Oliver Gronhotz (GER) and Thomas Hansson Mild (SWE).”

World Champion Nick Craig finished in 7th, but in the next race he made sure of a win followed by Wilcox again and Hansson Mild. Hannson Mild described the race. "I started at the committee boat and tacked directly over onto port and went towards the right side of the course. It paid to go towards land and I rounded about 5th at the top mark. Christian Hartmann (GER) was the first boat to round and shortly after Nick Craig. Craig took the lead from Hartmann on the reaches and on second beat we were a bunch of 6 boats who had taken a jump from the rest of the fleet. The run did not see any major changes and on the last beat up I gained some distance by going for the right side of the course again to finish third in this very light and tricky race."

The race committee then decided to go for a third race. Oliver Gronholtz takes up the story, “After the second race we all thought we could go ashore and drink beer but no, we had to race again. The tide had turned and the sea breeze was dying. The pin end favoured Jorgen Lindhartdsten (DEN) and I and we went left up the first beat. Jule Hoffmann, however started in the middle and was a fraction faster. The wind filled in from the left and Jule was first at the top mark followed by myself and Jorgen. Up the second beat Jule got confused thinking the course was again to be shortened so I was first at the top but the lightweight Jule flew down the run to have a big lead at the bottom. On the last beat the left was again favoured but I tried the right. Jule won easily from Andreas Pich (GER) then myself and Jorgen. Happily we all managed to get to shore time for the champagne and pate party at the club.”

Race 4
The light winds continued on day two, but one race was eventually started in very light conditions after a postponement ashore. The right hand side was favoured and Wilcox and Tomacsz Gal were the first two at the top mark. The wind died on the reaches but filled in again enough to keep the race going. The top mark was moved and the length of the beat was shortened to enable the fleet to make the time limit. Wilcox led the whole way around and won by a comfortable margin from Gal then Lindhardtsen and Hartmann . There was not enough steady wind for another race so the fleet was sent in early.

Race 5
Thomas Hansson-Mild describes the race, “This day was the day everybody said it was going to be windy. Well if windy is a fairly steady 3 m/s well then it is. The start went off in shifty conditions of 25 degrees or so. The line was very much favoured at the pin side and basically the whole fleet tacked over for port right after the starting gun. Greg Wilcox rounded as leader at the top mark and headed for the wing mark. Almost at the wing mark he realised that it was not the wing but instead the bottom mark! He suddenly starts to beat and the rest of the fleet who also were asleep and apparently just following the leader also start to go for the right mark. All of a sudden the order in the race was reversed and the new leaders were Darek Kras (POL) and Arne Lindemann (GER). I found myself in the middle of the pack and had a good second beat and run and last beat to make it back up to a fifth place overall. But unfortunately for Arne and Darek, they got confused by the massive amount of flags and boats in the finish area so they did not pass the right finish line. Martin von Zimmermann won the race ahead of Sönke Behrens (GER) and me.

Race 6
Race 6 was sailed in a shifty and patchy breeze. The fleet split into two groups up the first beat with Wilcox and Hansson-Mild dominating the right hand side. Wilcox said, “A big shift with pressure came in from the left so Martin who was about as far into the corner as possible led around the first mark. Sönke Behrens was a close second. I was just in front of Thomas but ended up fourth at the bottom. The breeze filled in up the second beat and Martin and Sönke sailed away. I passed Kuba down the run and finished third. Amazingly the fleet was sent home for the day with the best wind of the regatta still on the race course.”

Races 7 and 8
At last the wind arrived at about 7 m/s. Thomas Hansson-Mild scored two first places. He said,”I thought I should rest my legs for more than 3,000 km driving back to Sweden, so I was just HIKING!” Martin came second in the seventh race followed by myself and Sönke. Six boats were taken out by the black flag.

The last race in the same conditions with good wind and sun, combined with a few waves. Terry Curtis got second followed by four Danes (Jorgen, Morgens Johansen, Jesper Petersen and Bo Teglers).

And so, this year’s European Championship ended with a new winner, Martin von Zimmermann from Germany, the first German winner of the event since 1977. After the prize giving took part in the small clubhouse, Martin got chucked into the Atlantic without making any trouble.

1GER 693 Martin v. ZimmermannSCOe3811611294130
2SWE 2767Thomas Hansson-MildUMEA SSC173121635115841
3DEN 1348Jørgen LindhardtsenHvidovre SK151943107336445
4GER 717Oliver GronholzSegeberger SC453141665DNS9553
5GER 731Thomas GlasSegeberger SC6427114146108255
6GER 690Sönke BehrensSCOe1416102022487656
7POL 1Thomasz GajPogoria 312792212471310477
8GBR 2116Nick CraigFrensham Pond717858DNSDNS12078
9GER 656Andreas PichLübecker YC911212142018DNS12886
10DEN 1335Morgens JohansenSalrad Strand SK2217610171716410987
11GBR 2118Terry CurtisUpper Thames SC1212133031912212190
12SWE 99Hans ElkjærVarbergs SS8714212416111411591
13NZL 522Greg WilcoxWorser Bay BC22181263DNSDNS13694
14DEN 1347Rene JohansenEbeltoft SK3020195221091112696
15POL 61Piotr StobinskyAZS Poznan1324169613221712096
16SWE 2763Jan-Eric EngholmGetskats SS119222335111712140105
17GER 699Juliane HofmannSWS26131178232629143114
18POL 27Jakub KaniaElkS2421DNF25741518156114
19GER 688Dirk DameSv Mannheim202220728221316148120
20GBR 2107Mike EdwardsSSSC1034172227151415154120
21DEN 1340Jesper PetersenSolrod31105243626205157121
22GER 725Christian HartmannVSa Wannsee3362641927BFD19176134
23DEN 1330Troels LykkeHvidove SK162815193229821168136
24SWE 2739Jan-Eric Nystedt Vikingavnas SS211529273012BFD7183141
25GER 539Carsten SassLübecker YC1929251823311020175144
26GER 666Jan HartmannBSV273183115281922181150
27GER 645Arne LindemannPostdamer SC2323DNF13919BFD25196154
28DEN 1324Bo TeglersOresunds SKF281832341133DNS6204162
29BEL 214Paul VerrijdtKLYC Antwerpen53021152525BFDDNS205163
30POL 424Piotr PrzewoznyJKW Poznan3635243220182123209173
31FRA 29Noel MasseronC N Loctudy183223331232BFD26218176
32POL 24Darek KrasMos-Z Warszava253628351321DNSDNS242200
33FRA 1764Frederic LamarqueC V Bordeaux2926302837372427238201
34GBR 2007Anthony RichOxford SC32253339183523DNS247205
35GBR 2104Derick LovegroveKingsmead341431293430DNSDNS256214
36GER 695Dirk GerickeSGE Brandenburg RV3937343829362724264225
37POL 46Adrian GorkaWkZ3733363633342528262225
38GBR 2060Paul-Stephen PikeCovenham SC3540353739382830282242
39GBR 2083Andy TurnerArdleigh3841DNF2638BFDDNSDNS311269
40FRA 1769Olivier RonsiauxC V St Quentin413837DNF4039DNSDNS321279
41GER 728Karsten KathSV Neptun Ende4039DNF40DNSDNSDNSDNS329287