The 2013 RS:X European Windsurfing Championships, the RS:X Open Youth European Windsurfing Championships and the RS:One European Championships will be organised in Brest, France by Les Crocodiles de L'Elorn in co-operation with the French Sailing Federation (Federation Française de Voile, FFV) and NeilPryde Bikes from the 30th June to 7th July.
Brest, homeport to many sailing record events will host the three European Championships bringing together the future and present champions of both the RS:X and RS:One windsurfing classes. 270 athletes from 38 different countries will gather in the Port du Moulin, with 240 competing in the RS:X Olympic Class (half of which are participating in the Youth European Championships) and 30 in the RS:One Class.
Ladies first and the Womens RS:X competition that will see an impressive line-up. Bryony Shaw from the UK, who finished 2nd in this year's World Championships and won Bronze medal in Qingdao in 2008, will make sure to give rival Maayan Davidovich from Israel, 3rd in this year's Worlds and 2nd in last year's Europeans, a run for her money. 2012 French Champion Charline Picon knows the Brest waters very well as she won her French title here as well as her European Vice-Champion title in 2008. She will be one to watch as are Blanca Manchon from Spain, Flavia Tartaglini from Italy, winner of the last Eurosaf Cup and the winner of last year's Youth European Championships, Italy's Veronica Fanciulli.
In the Mens RS:X competition, Przemyslaw Miarczynski from Poland, bronze medal in the last Olympics will defend his 2012 title but competition will be fierce as British World Champion Nick Dempsey, also second in the 2012 Olympics will be in Brest with a firm intention to add the 2013 European title to his list of achievements. The level of the fleet is high with last year's podium reunited; both Byron Kokkalanis from Greece and Piotr Myszka from Poland aiming to improve their performances. Last year's winner of the U21 European Championship, Thomas Guyard from France will tackle the big guys this year as will Pawel Tarnowski from Poland who won the Youth European Championship last year.
Sign of good health, the RS:X Class can pride itself in a record number of participants in its Youth European Championships. The champions of tomorrow will get the chance to get acquainted with large scale events and despite both men and women title holders now moved on to the European Championships, Saskia Sills from GB, 2nd in the Youth Worlds 2012 and 3rd in the Youth Europeans 2012 will have to fight off her fellow countrywomen Imogen Sills and Noelle Finch as well as Shahar Tibi and Noga Geller from Israel. In the Men's Youth European Championship, Kieran Martin from GB, 2nd in the Youth Worlds 2012 and 3rd in the Youth Europeans 2012 will enter as favourite.
30 competitors are expected in the RS:One Class. A cosmopolitan fleet will be on the start lines with athletes from European countries such as Italy, Poland and Turkey as well as from further afield with sailors from Tunisia, Singapore or New Zealand. The Tunisian Team will find the event great preparation for the Raceboard African Championships, the first significant windsurfing championships to be hosted in Tunisia later this year.
For the Singapore Team, these championships are another stepping stone in their preparation for the 27th South East Asian Games, hosted by Myanmar in December 2013, which will include windsurfing in the RS:One Class as an event within the sailing regatta.
Inaugural World Championships were held last year in Boracay, Philippines and the European Championships took place in Sopot, Poland. This competition in Brest is the next opportunity to promote this fast developing class.
Athletes are expected in Brest on Sunday 30th June. Monday 1st July will be dedicated to registration, equipment checks, practice races, coach meetings and the opening ceremony. Racing starts on Tuesday 2nd July through to Sunday 7th included, Thursday 4th being a reserve day.
The prize-giving ceremony will take place on Sunday 7th July at 8pm. Bring it on!
by Coralie Rassinoux