2008 European Championship

19 September, 2008

The race has just begun in Tópark J24 EC

The race started on 19 September 2008. at 2 p.m. and the J24 European Championship has officially begun in Balatonfüred. The weather was friendly, since the sun finally showed up for the afternoon. For today, almost half of the participants appeared in the Balatonfüred Yacht Club and the official measurement of the boats and the sails has begun. The foreign teams are faster than the home ones, since 9 foreign teams ( 1 British,, 1 Italian, 1 Swedish, 6 German) has already accomplished the measurement process. Among the Hungarians, the olympic sportsman of Atlanta, Botond Litkey, the 2008 „sudar” champion joined the others in the last minute.

The measurement proceeded according to the serious international regulations including not only the boats, but the crew as well, since to meet the requirements of One Design class the people sailing on the boats cannot be over 400 KGs altogether. Probably the competitors worried about this the most, they had measured themselves before the official procedure just to be sure their weight is fine. The German team, according to their own report, did this for the sake of Hungarian cuisine and beer that they would like to enjoy in the first evening. Interesting fact is that there is a 5 members team where the weigh of only two members gives the half of the whole permitted limit, while on the Hungarian and German female boats 6 members can sail. The first arrived Swedish team had already one training. The weather is absolutely suitable, since the competitors could discover Lake Balaton in 7-9 m/s N-NW wind. Tomorrow the measurement and registration continues, on Sunday some training races wait for the teams.

20 September 2008.

Winter weather, but enthusiastic sailors in TÓPARK J24 EC

In the morning of the second day of J24 European Championship, really cold, almost winter-like conditions received the competitors. The bad weather made the racers so worried that no new teams registered until noon. According to gossips, this was not thanks to the bad weather but the good Hungarian cuisine of last evening. A thought of the Swedish team reflects the atmosphere quite well: „You know, in Sweden the weather is much better at the start than it is here.” The situation turned better and for the end of the day officially 26 teams were registered for the race and 7 more teams have already finished with the measuring of their boats and sails.

In the 8 m/s sometimes changing N-NE wind, three teams have started the training on the water. One of them is the UFS-TÓPARK Hat’tyúk team (talking name: it means Six Chicks in Hungarian) with helmsman Márti Weöres. The other is – one of the 8 German teams – Jahn-Hendrik-Bröhan with boat Just for fun, who takes the competition very seriously. Jahn and his team, in harmony with their name, are the most party-fan participants, since they prepared their boat accompanied by lively music on the day of their arrival. Thanks to this, their car, playing music all day, could not be started, which had to be solved by the helpful and prepared crew of BYC. There were racers who did not care about the conditions and faced the 8 Celsius degree water wearing only shorts. On the contrary, the smile literally froze to the faces of team GEFCO after their training. For the end of the day, all 5 members of the international jury have arrived at the venue of the Championship.

Tomorrow the registration is over and the teams can compete in a Practice Race on the Lake followed by the Opening Ceremony in the afternoon. And, naturally, a Hungarian Evening will close the day.

21 September, 2008.

Fighting the bad weather, cheer mood on water and land

On Sunday, 21 September, the third day of J24 European Championship sad and moody weather

welcomed the 200 competitors of 7 nations in the morning. The German female team with helmsman Ragna Thönnes, not caring about the horrible weather ran off to the water joking with a funny orange puppet for the big surprise of the passers-by of Balatonfüred promenade walking with an umbrella. The teams started off in 2-4 m/s N wind. The only team that has made a second start was the Sagem boat led by Farkas Litkey. Naturally, as usual, some of the boats could not arrive for the start, but except for one team everybody joined the field for the first tail-wind sector.

The venue of the Opening Ceremony was also changed by the weather. Instead of the stage constructed in the city, the ceremony was held in the hangar of Balatonfüred Yacht Club in good atmosphere. Among others Elek Straub, President of Hungarian Sailing Association, Dr István Bóka, mayor of Balatonfüred and Remko Van den Berg from the international J24 Federation held speeches. One of the most memorable moments of the ceremony was when Károly Simon, member of BYC presidency spoke about the old times, a championship more than 50 years ago where he participated with Stuart Jardine, prominent sailor of the J24 Championships.
The German female team GER-5313 said after the Opening Ceremony: „It was a fantastic idea to host everyone in the welcome party with Hungarian meals and drinks and on the water we could join the wonderful panorama of Lake Balaton. We have met really nice people both in the town and here in the competition as well. The organization is perfect and the only thing we can complain about is the weather.”
The German girls’ team sails next to their home mainly in Sweden and Holland races, so here on Lake Balaton they have faced quite different conditions.

22 September, 2008

The organisation did perfectly according to foreigner competitors

The J24 European Championship began promisingly on 22 September 2008, Monday morning. The first racing day began with the skippers meeting. The first planned start of the 12 run EC was at 11 am, but the wind unfortunately was not very kind to the field, so the jury decided for the delay. The rest of the day was quite calm, some of the teams hoping for better conditions ran off to the water and waited for the further decision of the jury there. For long it seemed to be a day without races, but then reassuring wind started to wave the flags of the harbour, so the jury at 4 pm deflated the delay-flag and the field ran out to the direction of Tihany. The spinakker sails heaved beautifully in the 3-4 m/s N wind. For the 5 pm start, the whole field gathered together, but the wind totally stopped, so the jury at 16.55 accompanied by two signal shots hoisted „ the non started runs delayed. No more signal shots for today” flags. The competitors then headed towards the shore, hoping for a windy tomorrow.

Monica Persson from the Swedish team said that she was happy to experience the same friendly atmosphere and hospitality in Hungary that she had in other international J24 championships world-wide and emphasised the cohesive nature of this sport. She also added that despite they came to win, the field is very strong and she expects an exciting competition. Per Hakan Persson helmsman is more that satisfied with the professional Hungarian organisation and suggested that the organisers of the June World Championship should learn a bit from their Hungarian fellows.

23 September, 2008

Germans dominated but Hungarians did also well after the first day of TÓPARK J24 EC

The second day of the J24 European Championship 23 September also started with a delay. After the optimist spontaneous rowing cup held among the nations of the competitions, the field could compete and face each other in the J24 boats in two races in the afternoon. After the first two rounds, the GER 9230 leads with helmsman Perr Kock. After them comes the also German GER 5420 team with Greg Wilcox. For the sake of the organisers, a Hungarian team finished in the third place, the 2008 Hungarian Champion HUN 7 led by Antal Székely.

In the morning the field, thanks to the slight wind, had fun in a championship for all seven nations that was held with small boats suitable for children. These new teams with 3 members in three runs did their best and fought just like in the real competition. The winner was the German team who came in before the Italians and Swedish racers.

In the afternoon the real championship began. The start procedure was launched at 13.15 and after two runs GER 9230 leads with 6 points with Peer Kock with a first and a fourth position. The third and thus the best Hungarian team is with Antal Székely and we should not forget that the forth place is also occupied by a Hungarian boat, Kirowski with helmsman Zoltan Kovacs.

24 September 2008.

Double Italian victory on the third day

The third day of the Tópark J24 EC began with the now usual doldrums, so the sailors, for a change, passed the time with an international drawing competition. Until late afternoon, it seemed that no run can be organised, but finally the wind strengthened and pardoned the field that was so eager to sail. On the third day of the EC in the third run the ITA 460 team came in first followed by the also Italian ITA 212. The best Hungarian of the day, Botond Litkey,

was the third in this round. In the first two places of total happened no change, still the GER 9230 team leads with helmsman Peer Kock, in the second position stayed GER 5420 and the third is the best Hungarian boat HUN 7 with Antal Székely.

The third day of the championship started just as usual: without wind and with delay. Thus, the organisers decided to have an art competition in the program, and gathered the nations together for a drawing contest, where sailors could display their feelings, impressions they gained in the EC. Thanks to the sunshine and nice music, wonderful creations were made. Right after they finished, at 11 am the jury decided to put the field on water, but by the time the boats sailed out to the Lake, the wind stopped and compelled everyone to wait there for a change. After hopeless one and a half hours, the whole field headed back to the shore.

But when everyone started thinking that the third day of the championship was over, the jury suspected some chances in the approaching storm-clouds and ordered everyone on the water again.

The third run of the European Championship started at 5 pm in 4-5 m/s N-NE wind. Naturally and not surprisingly, the „kreutz” section began with a very noisy start. The first buoy was reached first by the ITA 460 boat with Marios Pasquale Di Fraira who stands in the sixth place in total. After them came the GER 5269 at present 25th boat accompanied by another German and a British team. The  best Hungarian, Botond Litkey at this point started the first tail-wind section in the sixth place.  For the end of the first circle the leading Italian boat kept its first position, with the German GER 5269 team in his back. In the second circle the wind weakened and it changed the order pretty much. The winner was the ITA 460 boat, the second, for a surprise, became the other Italian ITA 212 team. The third position was occupied by the HUN 15 with Botond Litkey.

In total the first two positions has not changed. The GER 9230 team leads with Peer Kock, second is the also German GER 5420 and the best Hungarian is still Antal Székely and HUN 7.

25 September, 2008

Italian fillip for German professionals

On the forth day of the TÓPARK J24 European Championship at last all three ruonds could be held. Thanks to the changing wind and sometimes to fortune, the order of the teams showed also a changing nature. In the first round of today the results were just as they were predicted, since the German Peer Koch, leading in total, came in first. In the second round GBR 4215, team of Stuart Jardin finished in first position, followed by the eight-fold Blue Ribbon winner Farkas Litkey with HUN 13. In the third round the Italian Pietro Diamanti in ITA 212 was the winner. With this won round he and his team became the first after six rounds in the total.

After six rounds – thanks to his great performance of today (3,3,1) – Pietro Diamanti ITA 212 leads in total before the Germans with 10 points. GER 9230 with Peer Kock is the second with 18. Third is Greg Wilcox and GER 5420 with 24 points. Forth position is occupied by the 75-year-old J24 guru Stuart Jardin and GBR 4215. The best Hungarian team with helmsman Zoltan Kovacs boat HUN 11 has 38 points, stands in the fifth position. The sixth is the 2008. J24 Hungarian champion Antal Székely with HUN 7. Litkey brothers fight within the family for the 7. And 8. Position. At present Farkas is waiting tomorrow in the 7. Botond in the 8. position hoping for at least two but hopefully three more rounds.

26 September, 2008

The J24 Europeans has ended

The J24 TÓPARK European Championship ended on 26 September 2008. Italians did not manage to keep their 8 point advantage and finally in a huge fight and fantastic racing the 2008 European Championship was won by the German Peer Kock GER 5230. The second became the also German Greg Wilcox GER 5420 and for the end the Italian ITA 212 boat with Pietro Diamanti slid down to the third position. The most successful Hungarian boat, HUN 13 with helmsman Farkas Litkey, eight-fold Blue Ribbon champion, occupied the sixth place in total.

The last day of the Championship was absolutely perfect for racing thanks to the 7-8 m/s N-NE wind and three runs could have been held. The first run was won by the GER 5230, boat of Peer Kock overtaking the considerably improving SWE 4898 Swiss Per Hakan Persson team. The third of this run was the GER 5420 with Greg Wilcox. The “Italian fillip” this time did not work that well. ITA 212, which lead the championship in total finished only in the 11th place, exposing their first position into danger. The everyday better Farkas Litkey and HUN 13 became the forth.
In the second run was German KO again. GER 5420 triumphed over the field followed by the winner of previous run GER 5230. Third became ITA 212 chasing them through the run. The only serious accident of the Championship occured at this time of the race. Unfortunately, two Hungarian boats HUN 2 ‘GEFCO’ and HUN 19 ‘Break’ could not even start the second run of the day, due to the unluky crash happened during their severe fight for the better position. HUN 2, boat of Erik Hercsel was damaged to such extent that it was not able to continue the competition. The boat had to be craned out of the water and repaired on the land.

In the third run the wind turned 20-25 degrees, but kept its 7-8 m/s speed. This again was an advantage for the German teams accustomed to stronger winds. Peer Kock with GER 5230 with excellent technique came in first and won the European Championship. Second became the GER 5420 Greg Wilcox team and gained the silver medal of the EC. In the third position finished the ITA 460 boat. The other Italian ITA 212, leading the total for days, accomplished the run only in the 22nd place, thus could receive only the bronze medal in the total of the European Championship. Farkas Litkey, just as in the previous run, became the 10th and finished the EC in the sixth position in total, as the best Hungarian team. The second best Hungarian became the other Litkey, Botond, occupying the 8th place. The third was the Hungarian Champion Antal Székely with their 9th position in total.

Hungary hosted J24 European Championship for the first time with the special curiosity that for the first time this contest was held on a lake. In the Award Ceremony after the Championship representatives of international associations and members of foreign teams expressed their appreciation for the great organisation. But the real success is that many foreign teams said to come back for the Hungarian Championship in 2009.

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