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505 European Championship at Quiberon, France

by Mike Holt 12 Jul 2023 22:25 BST 5-8 July 2023

The 2023 505 European Championship took place between July 5th and 8th at the fantastic French Sailing Federation's facility on the Quiberon peninsula of Brittany France. Seventy-two teams from ten countries raced what eventually became a seven-race series of the scheduled twelve over the four days.

Day one saw the best breeze with 10-15 knots giving good racing for the fleet and three races were able to be run. It was clear from the start of race one that there was a team that had an edge. Polish 470 Olympic Silver medalist Agnieszka Skrzypulec sailing with Holger Jess from Germany came out fast to lead the race pretty much from start to finish. Behind several teams chased their shadow and the German team of Jan Phillip Hoffman and Felix Brockerhoff prevailed in second over the British team of Ian Pinnell and Alex Davies.

Race two saw a similar outcome with Agnieszka and Holger again coming out ahead of Jan-Philip and Felix, this time with the Australian pairing of Malcolm Higgins and David Snoad taking third. In something of a Groundhog Day, Agnieszka and Holger also took the final race of the day, what a way to start, however there was a different team in second, French team of Phillippe Boite and Marin Carnot filled this spot and British team of Mike Sims and Carl Gibbon filled the third place. After such a convincing display Agnieszka and Holger had a solid grip on top spot.

The forecast for Day 2 was not promising and the start was delayed in the hopes of an afternoon sea breeze. After a few false starts we finally got a race away in around 5 knots. Pretty challenging racing, but the good teams always find a way though. Jan-Phillip and Felix took the win, German team Alex Holzapfel and Arne Wittemer second and GBR's Ian and Alex third. Were Agnieszka and Holger beatable? The gap had closed and their 6th place opened the door slightly for the rest.

Day 3 was also looking rather light and a race was started again in marginal trapping conditions. We got a good first beat in, followed by an ok run when the wind started to fade dramatically. The RC team set up a finish at the windward mark but with the clock ticking towards the time limit, the inevitable happened and the race was abandoned. We bobbed around the glassy water for a while, but the breeze failed to return all day and we were sent ashore for alternative entertainment.

The race committee had a tough forecast on the final day and made the smart decision to move the start time forward to 9:30 where there had been breeze the previous day, although it hadn't lasted long! They were fortunately rewarded and able to run three more races in 8-12 knots. The race track was tricky with opportunities for big gains and losses available for the brave or foolish! The Polish/German team of Agnieszka and Holger made it look relatively easy, despite the very close attention of Jan-Phillip and Felix trying to make it hard for them. They ended the day with a 1,2,1 scoreline, easily giving them the win and the title of European Champions.

Jan-Phillip and Felix closed out with a 2,3,4 a score line that would often be sufficient for a win but this time only second. Ian and Alex managed to do enough with a 9,1,20 to take the final podium spot. The Australian/Irish team of Michael Quirk and Charles Dyer had a stellar last day with a 4,6,3 to move into 5th, one point behind the French team of Phillippe and Marin.

A well run event by the race team and the French 505 Class Association despite at times some tough weather to deal with and a dominant winner by Agnieszka and Holger, a first major 505 Championship for a Polish sailor!

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