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Nacra 17 European Championship at Barcelona, Spain - Overall

by Helena de la Gándara 3 Oct 2015 19:22 BST 25 September - 3 October 2015

Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves crowned winners

The European championship of this spectacular Olympic class took place in the Barcelona International Sailing Center with a wide range of weather conditions

Winds of up to 12 knots offered ideal conditions for the exciting finals in the Nacra 17 European Championship. The event finished today after six days of competition in the innovative Barcelona International Sailing Center (BISC). British Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves were not caught by surprise in the Medal Race and finished as European Champions.

Saxton, world champion in this class in 2013, and his current crew Nicola Groves took the European gold in Barcelona after finishing fifth in the Medal Race.

"It was a fun race and we did a good job –mentioned the English skipper-. In the end we are champions, so we are very happy. The fact is that the organization has done a great job".

Second in the open championship, four points behind the winners are Australians Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis, who add a total of three Olympic silver medals. Bundock, silver in Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008, regretted losing positions in the Medal race: "It was a very strange race today, the positions changed a lot and we were first place for a while, but we finally lost [they finished sixth]. The British have done a great job. It was a great championship and I think everyone is happy. The setting was magnificent, with very good facilities, so we had a good race. "

Three points behind the Australians, completing the podium of the open championship and claiming the European silver are Olympic medallist Allan Norregaard and his crew Annette Viborg, from Denmark. For this country the Nacra 17 Europeans was one of the events to qualify for the Olympic Games. In fact, two Danish teams finished in the top ten: Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lübeck, who last night won a protest against Spanish Iker Martinez and Julia Rita, won today the Medal race and finished seventh in the open championship.

For Annette Viborg, "the championship was amazing with a great organization, as well as giving us every facility which in Denmark we don't have". The Danish explained "we still have to work hard this winter to achieve the goal of going to the Olympic Games".

Italians Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri finally took the European bronze. These sailors from the F18 catamaran finished ten points behind the Danish team. "It was a fun regatta- said Sicouri-, everything was open until the end, so we really enjoyed it. All the logistics of the championship were great. The centre is very big, with many facilities, such as the chill-out area where we could hang around until there were good conditions to start the race".

Danish Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lübeck won the medal race, followed by Austrians Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank. Third were Allan Norregaard and Annette Viborg.

This afternoon there were 12 knots of wind from the SW in the race course in Barcelona opposite the Parc del Forum. These conditions allowed to fulfil the program scheduled for today, both the Medal Race as well as the final race for the other teams, which finished before the big final for the medals.

Iker Martínez and Julia Rita (Movistar) won the final race for the teams who didn't qualify for the Medal Race. They managed to lead the fleet from the first downwind leg until the end. The Spanish team fell from the top 10 last night after being disqualified due to a protest against a Danish team.

With the Nacra 17 Europeans, the Barcelona International Sailing Center closes the first of a series of Olympic sailing events which will host this season, in order to promote itself as a reference training centre for Olympic sailors. The event has been organized by the Sports Federation Union of Catalonia (UFEC) and the Catalan Sailing Federation, with the support of the Barcelona City Council, the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona Royal Yacht Club (RCNB) and the Royal Maritime Club of Barcelona (RCMB). 42 teams from 23 countries and three continents took part in the championship.

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