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4000 European Championship at Quiberon, France

by Neil Heffernan & Richard de Fleury 28 Jul 2017 08:57 BST

Nine British teams (counting one based in Paris and another from Berlin and New York) made the trip to Quiberon, France, joining French, Italian and Belgium teams for the 4000 Eurocup – and what an event it was!

Close racing in a fleet of 34 boats, check; F4+ wind every day, check; great socials, check; great organisation by the French Class Association, the Race Committee and ENVSN Quiberon, check. Truly an excellent event that left everyone buzzing.

The first day's racing proved to be a tough challenge not only finding the best route up the beat but also finding the elusive gusts to ride downhill. This certainly led to some hit and miss results across the field but, it is fair to say the standard of the fleet has definitely increased with tight racing all over the course despite a very challenging finish line requiring some short order gybes.

Day 2 looked much like the first but with a little more wind and more reliable gusts with most teams finding more consistency. The excitement of close racing was added to as there was a drone buzzing around filming the fleet capturing some great footage. The good, or bad, news depending on your opinion is no one managed any spectacular fails on camera although there were rumours of missing rudders, crews abandoning ship and some even one boat hugging the top mark having arrived there first!

We hope this footage may encourage some new blood into the class to come and join us in what is a very affordable high performance boat and may also remind some old 4000 sailors what they are missing. The boat may be older and a little bit heavier than their newer counterparts, but you will be hard pressed to access high performance sailing for less money. Not to mention top quality fleet support from Rooster Sailing.

Day 3 – BIG FRIDAY – Having considered the forecast of an impending storm front moving through the race officials moved racing earlier to try and beat the really big winds. Success! Two races were squeezed in to the building breeze in some classic 4000 conditions. The conditions certainly tested the crews with some having some big wipe-outs and a very tight finish even saw one boat finish in spectacular style on its side. After two races the RO elected to send the fleet ashore and enjoy the afternoon off enjoying the French hospitality.

Day 4 – Still all to play for - at the front Steve and Sarah Cockerill (GBR) had to make sure they beat Michael Duflos and Nicolas Saillard (FRA) to take the win. For the rest of the fleet places were still up for grabs following some jumbled results in the big winds the day before. The still strong winds certainly tested some tired crews and a large course provided some challenges to finding the best route round.

Overall victory was tightly fought between Steve and Sarah, and Michael and Nicolas, with Steve and Sarah eventually taking a well-earned title, demonstrating great boat speed and decision-making. Second British boat was father and son team Keri and Theo, finishing fifth overall – the intervening four places all being taken by French boats, illustrating the growing strength of the class in France and the amount of practice they have been getting in. Neil and Jo finished sixth, their yellow boat clearly enjoying the stronger winds.

Special mentions to Alex and Charlotte (13th) for both their co-ordinating team outfits and dangerous pace. More time in the boat together will undoubtedly see more of the top five finishes that they already achieved in this regatta. David and Matt (8th) were probably the only crew looking for even more wind, whilst John and Fran (10th) still held on to a top ten position despite sitting out Day 3's 30+ knot forecast.

Stewart and Mark (11th) got faster and faster through the event, propelled not only by their skill but also by Stewart's motivational team talks. Richard and Harry (16th) kept themselves within the top half – a not inconsiderable achievement given this is their second event together and Harry's first windy experience in a 4000. Kevin and Mark, in their first Euros, took 28th, and indeed would have finished a fair bit higher if they hadn't suffered gear failure on Day 2. Again a team on the up.

Full results here: www.ffvoile.fr/ffv/sportif/ClmtCompetDet.asp?clid=134866

Additional photos from the organisers, CDV 56 Voile Morbihan, can be found here.

Huge thanks to everyone who was involved in organising the event and we look forward to the UK nationals at Stone SC 19th-22nd August. Register your attendance now at doodle.com/poll/e6d5iz8m7kfs4ggm

There are also a small number of boats available to borrow, so if you haven't been in a 4000 for a while, but want to, e-mail and get yourselves out there!

For those who want to plan ahead we are in Riva del Garda for next year's Eurocup 1-4 August 2018.

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