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City news, 01.10.2012 16:21

SB20 European Championships final day What a victory!

Team Russia helmed by Rodion Luka and crewed by Oleg Zherebtsov, Anna Stepanova and Andre Klochko

Magic Marine SB20 European Championships 2012 final day of racing was held in Medemblik, the Netherlands on Thursday 27th September and what a day. What a race. What a victory! Team Russia helmed by Rodion Luka and crewed by Oleg Zherebtsov, Anna Stepanova and Andre Klochko are the 2012 SB20 European Champions.
First race of the day was the most competitive race I have ever seen' grinned Mark Richards, spectating from a media RIB. 'Marginal improvements in technique and tactics meant that at no point could you tell a clear leader.' The final winner was Robert Greeenhalgh (GBR) by not even two boat lengths from Rodion Luka (RUS) who did enough to secure the title. Ben Saxton who after an ambitious left corner start and cross of the fleet always threatened to win. Fourth was Carveth, equally back at the top of his game. Mark Richards commented, 'It is amazing to see four identical boats all being sailed at very similar speeds but all with different traveller/mainsail trim.' There maybe a one design for the boat, but there are clearly different ways to sail them.
Despite having won the Championships, Luka chose to stay on the water and sail final race however the battle for this one was elsewhere. Jerry Hill picked some very good lines of breeze on the right hand side of the track, whilst Andy Oddie came from hard left with a comfortable lead. As has been the case all week, the marginal gains uphill are multiplied by a factor of ten going downhill and by the first leeward mark 'The Kids', Saxton and Co had a comfortable twenty boat lead having been fourth at the windward mark. Robert Greenhalgh was also clear ahead in second of a screaming pack that followed despite a loose cover from Saxton as the breeze freshened Greenhalgh almost looked to claim the lead at the top left of the second beat and then again on the first gybe downhill. However, it was not to be and the youth of Saxton converted lines of breeze into clear ahead wind and a well deserved victory.
Describing his win, Zherebtsov explained, 'We cannot believe it, we are overwhelmed, it will only sink in that we have won in a few days time. This event was tough; but it was tougher mentally than physically, the fleet is so strong and you have to stay calm and focused, we did that.' Always calm, never stressed Zherebtsov has incredible focus which, with his crew, he has turned into another championship triumph.
The Magic Marine SB20 European Championships hosted by Regatta Centre Medemblik has seen some of the most competitive SB20 class racing ever. The class have also enjoyed a fantastic and international social scene. As always, we leave this SB20 event with new friends who we look forward to seeing at future events.
The attention of the SB20 Class now turns to the 2012 World Championships in Hamilton Island, Australia in December 2012 where the battle for the Waterford Trophy will begin again. Its certain, the World Championship is going to be a hotly contested event by some of the top sportsboat sailors in the world. Bring it on!

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