A total of 116 teams from as far away as Australia, Martinique and Guadeloupe participated in the 28th Hobie Cat 16 European Championship at Vassiliki on the Greek Ionian island of Lefkas, held in association with Wildwind Sailing Holidays during the week of 2-8 July.
For the seventh time, Detlef Mohr is again European champion, sailing with his crew Horst Fock, in wind speeds ranging from 8-35 knots. The German team stayed within the magic five throughout the series, ahead of former Olympic silver medallist Mitch Booth and his son Taylor in second place. The recent Hobie Tiger world champion Alberto Sonino with Frank Guarnieri came in third.
In Gold Fleet, an amazing start for Jonathan Worthington and Tom Quayle of the British Youth team saw them leading the event after the first day, thanks to a tactical move that took them to the right-hand side of the course where they picked up the windshift before the rest of the fleet.
Day two of Gold fleet was a classic Vassiliki day, calm winds in the morning, but by 1430 the wind went cross shore building from 25 knots through to 40 knots by the end of the day. The first race of day three was taken by the Italian team of Fantasia and Sicuri who relished the high wind conditions of Vassiliki. The consistency of the event winners was clear on day two where in the three races they finished 4,3,2 respectively. The father and son team of Mitch and Taylor Booth proved to quick for the rest of the fleet as they ran away with the second and third races of the day. The final day of Gold fleet saw only one race completed in the strong cross shore wind conditions, with Alberto Sonino (ITA) winning with a clinical performance which took them up to third in the event.
After very impressive results at Carnac and the British youth nationals, team Smith and Lynch did not perform to their full potential, but this was due to a minor problem with their catamaran. This was unfortunate as it was their last event before they move to the Olympic Tornado Sport class. Throughout the week the racing was tight with the committee boat end of the line always being contested furiously with Team Smith and Lynch pulling off some aggressive manoeuvres to give them some good starts and the British Youth Coach, Brian Phipps some extra grey hairs.
The European Championship consisted of five days of racing, the first two of which were the qualifying series where it was decided which teams would go into the Gold or Silver fleets. Within these qualifying rounds there were Masters’ Women’s and Youths’ series.
In the Masters’ event, a magnificent demonstration of how a series should be sailed was given by Andreas Szameitat and Beate Blum who achieved four first places meaning that they could sunbathe and drink Frappé during the fifth race.
In the Women’s event, the French team Marie Duvignac and Charlotte Dumon, bullied and dominated the female fleet getting first place, scoring four first places and not needing to sail in one of the races.
Fifteen teams fought it out for the youth prize with competitors from Great Britain, Greece, France, Germany, Austria and the French West Indies. The growing strength of the class is seen in the distance travelled by these teams, in particular the team from Guadeloupe (FWI). With over 50 boats available provided by Wildwind Sailing Holidays and Hobie Cat Europe it made Vassiliki 2001 a feasible campaign for these promising young sailors.
Worthington and Quayle won the youth event with an impressive array of results coming no worse than fourth, followed by the team from Guadeloupe (Moana Trancart and Pauline Jupin) and in third place, the French team Julien Feraud and Alexi Doglio). Team Smith and Lynch were pushed outside the top three by one point due to a technical problem with their boat in the first race of the event. This was to foreshadow the problem they were to encounter in Gold Fleet. The impressive sailing by the top six youth teams was en