RS21 European Championship Report
By RS21 Class Association
The inaugural RS21 European Championships in Lake Garda Italy was a closely fought battle with a spectacular fighting finish. Hosted by Fraglia Vela Malcesine, 23 teams, from six countries took part in four days of epic racing. Lake Garda didn’t disappoint; champagne sailing at the start of the regatta, followed by the fresh and breezy mornings that lake Garda is famously known for. Teams were put through their paces to crown the true RS21 European Champion.
Conditions were perfect for the first day of racing with a consistent 10-15knts. Starts became busier and bolder as teams got a feel for this competitive fleet, and small mistakes cost some teams dearly around the racecourse, but tidy boat handling and determination saw teams fight their way back in. With fickle conditions looking likely for day two, the Race Officer and his team decided to run a 4th race to make the most of the great conditions.
Race 4 had the RS21s sending it downwind on the plane, with the Italian teams showcasing superior boat speed after a busy season of racing in the RS21 Cup. The young wolves from Poland showed themselves to be a big force in the game; there was potential for them to be fighting for the top spots by the end of the week as they got into the groove of racing on Lake Garda.
The first two races of the day were won by Dario Levi team ITA241 but, Martin Reintjes’ team ITA239 took the lead in the overall rankings after four races. Filip Ciskiwiecz team POL216 and David Chapman team GER219 were able to stay close in the top ten!
At the end of the day, after four fantastic races, the teams gathered to enjoy post sailing drinks kindly provided by Biova; a sustainable beer made from unused bread. In true RS style, there was a great atmosphere as teams celebrated their wins from a cracking day on the water with a cold beer in hand.
Day two started serenely. The wind was almost non-existent after rain overnight and the clouds hung low amongst the surrounding mountains of Lake Garda – there was not much promise of a breeze.
Fortunately for the sailors, the wind did come through, with a consistent 15 knots and a short chop forming. Martin Reintjes’ team ITA239 proved to be stronger than anyone else with two 2nds, and two bullets. The racing was fiercely close, resulting in a constantly changing leaderboard. Team Beyond Freedom ITA225 knew they had to push hard to get some good results and put themselves back in the running for a podium position; it was clear to competitors that they were doing just that.
Another great day on the water was followed by a delicious seafood dinner at Restaurant Da Umberto. Teams were made to feel incredibly welcome, and international crews got to immerse themselves in the local Italian culture.
There were high hopes for the third day of racing and in true Garda fashion, the sailors were not let down. The first race started bright and early, making the most of the morning breeze, although it was considered a little early for some! The breeze coming from the north threw in a new dynamic with teams having to reconsider their tactical plans. The breeze was less stable and more shifty. This shook up the leader board with team Beyond Freedom ITA225 showing themselves to be the best on day three with three bullets, while other front runners on days one and two started to drop down the leaderboard.
In the evening, a spectacular gala dinner was organised. Guests arrived to a live saxophonist, followed by a DJ playing and drinks provided by Gin Vento, Impala and Biova. In true RS Sailing style, teams then indulged in a delicious three-course meal served by Fraglia Vela Malcesine and by the end of the night there was a buzzing atmosphere.
Once again, our international teams had to get up early to catch the morning wind. With only two races left and gusts of up to 28 knots, the pressure was on and there was no room for error. The teams smashed out two epic races, sailing clean and consistency being the winning formula for the day.
Back on shore, the podium was set and the champagne patiently waiting for the winners to come up and take the glory! Congratulations to Martin Reintjies team ITA239 (Overall) and Frederica Archibugi team ITA240 (Corinthian) the first ever to be crowned RS21 European Champions.
The RS21 Italian Class hosted a world-class event, and it was great to see so many partners and sponsors supporting the event. Thank you to; Alfonsino Delivery, Musto, Guglielmi Rubinetterie, Gottfredi Maffioli, Persico Marine, One Ocean, Biova, Hotel Serena Cortina, RS Sailing Poland and RS Sailing. Huge thanks to Negrinautica and Pietro for hosting the event.
Fraglia Vela Malcesine and the race committee reinforced why classes around the world continually return to Lake Garda; impeccable race management paired with champagne sailing and incredible hosting on shore.
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Check out the results – https://www.rs21sailing.org/results/
Photo Credit: Code Zero Digital | AB Sailing Media | RS21 Italian Class