J/24 European Championship Kicks Off with the Participation of 48 teams, 8 nationalities and 250 crew

250 competitors of 8 nations on 48 boats have registered for the 2017 J/24 European Championship which is organized by the Balatonfüredi Yacht Club in Balatonfüred, Hungary between September 24 and October 1. The Europeans has been preceded by a three-day registration session where all the boats and sails have been measured. Though the practice race had to be cancelled due to lack of wind, competitors have been compensated by a fantastic Opening Ceremony in the club followed by an awesome party with good food and plenty of drinks. The Opening Day kicked off with beautiful sunshine and pleasant easterly wind which some of the competitors took advantage of for training. Unfortunately, the wind completely died down by the afternoon, so the practice race needed to be called off by the Race Committee. The Opening Ceremony was a truly remarkable event where the Balatonfüredi Yacht Club’s young Optimist competitors sailed into the marina each carrying the flag of a competing nation while music characteristic to each nation played in the background. The Triumphal March from Verdi’s Aida played on while the flags were being raised. A spectacular RG dance performance performed on a floating pontoon followed the flag raising. The International J/24 Class was often referred to as a ‘Big Family’ in the opening speeches as most Class members know each other quite well. The iconic Stuart Jardine was the first to greet the competitors and also announced that he intends to retire soon and pass over his legacy to Michael Peters. Stuart is a member of the Technical Committee of the International J/24 Class, also a seasoned and successful sailor who finished fourth during the 2008 European Championship in Hungary. It is amazing that though being over 80 years old, he has personally managed the measurement procedure and the entire measurement team. Local measurement preparations for the J/24 Europeans were coordinated by Zsolt Baranyai. Ákos Pécsváradi, Gábor Csernussi and a handful of volunteers also supported the measurement team. Károly Simon, as a life member of the organizing Balatonfüredi Yacht Club, greeted the competitors wishing them fair winds and fair racing. Andras Holczhauser represented the Hungarian Yachting Association and also greeted the competitors. Erik Hercsel, Head of the Hungarian J/24 Class, expressed his gratitude toward the sponsors of the event: Audi being the main sponsor, plus Quantum Sails Hungary, Julius Meinl, International (Ricky Sport), Jet Travel, Bravo Boats also supporting the event. Bence Fluck’s, international Jury, was also introduced to competitors as well as Dusan Vanicky (SVK) as Chariman, Pedro Rodrigues (POR), Judit Bodnár (HUN), Gábor Oroszlán (HUN). The Opening Ceremony was followed by a leisurely dinner catering to both local and international taste. Good wines and superb atmosphere were an integral part of the evening.

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