Competitors from all over Europe, joined by teams from as far afield as USA and Hong Kong, are arriving for the eagerly anticipated Techno 293 European Championships. Many are taking advantage of some early training in the Baltic Cup Regatta taking place this weekend.
Registration opens today (Sunday) and closes at noon tomorrow. Current u15 Boys World and defending European Champion, Tom Arnoux FRA-152, who trounced the competition moves up into the Youth Fleet, as do Geronimo Nores USA-108 and Joshua Carey GBR-393. Leonidas Tsortanidis GRE-80, third on the 2014 European podium must surely be in with a chance of the u15 boys title but he is up against Israelis Kamil Lior and Itai Kafri who shared the world podium. However, it is Finn Hawkins GBR-3116 who is currently loving the conditions as leading u15 boy ahead of two Russians in the Baltic Cup regatta.
Yoav Cohen ISR-253 will be a strong contender for the u17 Boys title, 3rd youth in the 2014 World Championships in Brest. Egov Zhilin RUS-7 is at the top of the leaderboard in the Baltic Cup regatta although it is noted that Andrew Brown GBR-360, way down the list, has taken a couple of bullets. Ukrainians Vlad Mendelenko and Arsen Hrynchak are also enjoying the conditions.
Only two of the top ten Girls Worlds Youth Fleet are currently on the starting list - French girls Oceane Montaut FRA-66 and Camille Olivier FRA-44 and, of the top ten 2014 Europeans, Choi Wing Chi, 5th and Olivia Rosique FRA-998 6th
Moving up into the Girls Youth Fleet are Giorgia Speciale ITA-1, who completed both the 2014 Europeans and Worlds with perfect winning scores, 2nd placed World medallist Shira Benbenisti ISR-905, and Lidia Sulikowska POL-313, third at the Europeans, 5th Worlds. Also moving up are Alessandra Papitto ITA-75 and Aleksandra Kaupa LAT-116 who both just missed 2014 European and World podiums, finishing 4th in each respectively.
French girls Anna Guevel FRA-11 and Heloise Macquaert FRA-946 are in with a chance of podium positions in the u15 fleet, or perhaps Marta Tanas (ITA-49). However, it is Dana Bekmuratova RUS-85 who is doing rather well as first u15 girl in the Baltic Cup.
Interest in the Techno 293 Plus is growing as we now have separate fleets for Men and Women with competitors from seven countries. It is great to see sailors aged 17 and over still enjoying competing in the world's friendliest class at the kind of level they have got used to but with a bigger fin, sail and rig.
The competition is wide open with no obvious winners so we anticipate some exciting battles on the race course. This evening everyone is looking forward to the Opening Ceremony and Parade though the town. Monday sees practice races for everyone before competition starts in earnest on Tuesday continuing until Saturday 1 August.
Follow live updates on Techno 293 Facebook, the event website and reports on the T293 class event page
Flickr Gallery by Patrik Pollak