An exciting finale on Lake Garda with theatre style racing as Mathieu Frei & Yann Rocherieux (FRA) are crowned 49er European Champions while James Peters and Ed Fitzgerald (GBR) take the Youth World title.
Theatre Style racing proved to be both exciting and promising. Matheiu Frei and Yann Rocherieux (FRA) sailed beautifully throughout the week and used the new format to their advantage to win the overall title.
Just across the finish line, after a quick douse of champagne, Rocherieux said, "We only made one mistake per day. Today it was the first race and then we said 'no, we won't give up" and now we won." Second overall were Allan Norregaard and Anders Thomsen (DEN) who surprised the fleet all week with their twin trapezing technique, used even today during the Theatre Style short course. But the greatest and expert sailing of the day went to the Youth team of James Peters and Ed Fitzgerald (GBR) who finished in third overall.
Peters, thrilled and a bit stunned by his performance said, "We managed to scrape through and win our group which meant we went into the top 8 and we sailed really consistently with no bad roundings or capsizing. Incredibly that meant we went into the top 4 and the Croatians had to do a 360 on the last mark and we came 3rd overall, and way surpassed our expectations so we're really happy." He added, "I was nervous before every single start."
The constricted theatre style course forced quick decisions and kept the racing exciting between the teams as well as demanded expert boat handling. The knock-out heats also provided continued excitement and a chance for last minute advancement for those who won. The racing was broadcast live on the internet with those not racing following onshore crowded around various screens cheering on their favorite teams.
The Silver fleet, the majority who continued in the fleet racing, was won by Philipp Muller and Moritz Janich (GER) who had advanced to the Finals and ended in a tie with the Swedish team Carl Sylvan and Otto Helm.
The SEIKO King of the Downwind prize was given to the team with the least time spent sailing downwind, determined by SAP analytics and GPS data and earned by Croatian sailors Pavle Kostov and Petar Cupac. The team with the fastest recorded time during racing was Tim Elsner and Marco Grasse (GER) with a 24.3 knot record.
A huge round of thanks must be given to Fraglia della Vela Riva and their members for their flexibility and assistance in the Theatre Style format.
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