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2014 Javelin European Championship at Zwischenahner Meer, Germany

by Brian Earl 17 Aug 2014 23:27 BST

30 Javelins, from Britain, Holland and Germany, travelled to Zwischenahner Meer, 30 miles west of Bremen, for the 11 race event. The meer had a starting platform in the centre, 8 iron buoys near the edge in the form of a clock and some inflatables to give a true beat. Races were to be triangle and sausage of about 60 minutes duration.

The fleet soon discovered on the first day, of 3 races, that this was a very tricky sailing venue. The force 2 - 3 wind was subject to random 30° to 40° shifts in narrow bands. After a good start, it was possible to be first or almost last in alternate minutes. Despite this, the 2013 champions, Richard & Kathryn Smith, won the first race from Arent de Jong and the Earl brothers. The second was won by Malte Reisner from the Reid brothers and Ruth Walker & Harry Ashworth. Christian & Barbara Wirts won the third from Johannes Markert and the Schlittenhard brothers. Due to the unpredictable wind, no one dominated the first day and only 5 points covered the first 5 boats.

If anything, the force 2 - 3 wind was even more unpredictable for the second day of 3 races. All the favoured teams suffered at least one bad result due to the conditions. The Earls had a big lead in the first race, but lost out to Markert and the Schlittenhards, who took a different course on the run. After leading the second race for more than an hour, the Wirts team did not cover the Earls, who slipped through 30m from the finish. Markert, sailing very fast, in an older boat, was third. In the third race, the Smiths recovered from a bad result to record their second win from James Jarvey (the current builder) & Andrea Penrose and Reisner. Again only a few points covered the first 6 boats.

Only two races were possible on the third day, in a light force 2. After a tricky start on a very biased line the Wirts and the Earls found the right wind band to the first mark. The Earls passed Wirts to win with the Smiths second. However, Wirts was OCS and Markert was again third. In race 2 the Earls led from the first mark, and covered Smith and Wirts to the finish. After 8 races the Earls led by 2 points from Markert, with at least 7 boats possible winners with 3 more races and a second discard.

The flapping tents during the night warned that the last day of racing would be very different. After a short delay, over 20 boats set out to the platform in the force 4 – 6 wind. In severe gusts, several boats capsized before the start and one mast was broken. During the first race many boats suffered a capsize, or knock down, but the Smiths dominated to the end, ahead of the Schlittenhards and the Earls, who both capsized 100m from the finish. Schlittenhard recovered in time, but Ben & Richard Fisher passed the Earls for third. 3 boats retired with broken rudders. After recording gusts of 30 knots, the race officer decided on a delay for the wind to drop. After 9 races the Earls were now 2 points ahead of the Smiths.

The final two races were sailed later, in force 4 – 6. Smith won again from Reisner and the Fishers, who were enjoying the strong winds. The last race was dominated by the Schlittenhards who were flying upwind. Although the Earls rounded the last mark second, the Smiths, Reids and Fishers overtook on the last beat, due to a large wind shift. Therefore, the 2014 champions were the Smiths, ahead of the Earls and Schlittenhards. Everyone agreed it was a difficult place to race, so the Smiths were very worthy champions.

Overall Results: (top seven)

1 Richard & Kathryn Smith 22pts
2 Brian & David Earl 29pts
3 Jens & Jans Schlittenhard 35pts
4 Johannes Markert & Jorn Pietsch 43pts
5 Malte Reisner & Moritz Gutmann 43pts
6 Christian & Barbara Wirts 54pts
7 Ruth Walker & Harry Ashworth 67pts

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