Event Report - 2023 Eurocup 1 at CN El Balis, Nr Barcelona
The first 29er Europcup of 2023 was held at CN El Balis, near Barcelona on 16-19th February. 11 British boats, including the full National Youth squad headed down to Spain at the beginning of half term, eager to get some training days in the warmer climate in advance of the event. They were rewarded with 3 fantastic days of sunshine and moderate breezes – no woolly hat required.
Day 1 of the event itself dawned windless, but there was optimism for a thermal breeze by early afternoon. The boat park was alive with the chatter of 136 teams from 18 countries, relaxing in the sunshine and making new friends. Sadly the wind didn’t play ball and this was to be repeated on day 2 of the 4 day regatta.
Image Credit: G Webb
The fleet finally launched in the afternoon of day 3 to a gentle 8 knots and a typical Mediterranean ‘washing machine’ chop. Split into 4 flights over 2 courses, 3 races were completed on each course before the wind died away once more.
The British teams started strongly with 4 teams taking race wins and 7 top 3 results in total. Overnight leaders were FRA 3, closely followed by Jamie and Jamie, with Charlie and Sam in 5th, Sant and Kuba 7th and Annabelle and Maddie in 10th overall and leading females. James and Noah in 13th made for 5 British teams in the top 15 and the points were very tight.
The final day dawned very light again, and there were a lot of anxious faces around the boat park, as the wind promised and then disappeared. Finally the D flag was raised and two more races were completed in a very light but steady breeze. Another strong day for the British teams, with 3 more race wins and plenty of top 3 results.
Image Credit: G Webb
Jamie and Jamie completed a superb regatta counting 1,2,2,3 to take silver overall, with the top 3 boats (HUN 10, GBR 2433, FRA 3) finishing on equal points. Close behind were Santi/Kuba and Charlie/Sam, tied on 13 points and in 7th and 8th respectively. James and Noah, in 10th completed a record 4 British boats inside the top ten at a Eurocup event.
A spectacular performance from Annabelle and Maddie sailed a brilliant series, including a 1,2,3, saw them take First females and 13th overall. Young guns Finn and Zeb also took a race win to complete a hugely successful regatta for the Brits.
With a home World Championships at WPNSA this summer, the teams will be working hard to build on a good start to the season and really look forward to welcoming the global 29er family to what promises to be a fantastic event.
By G Webb