by Event media
Australian’s Ben Austin and Nathan Outteridge
Wind of over 25 knots and the huge waves today in the bay of Palma have brought the cancellation of the first day of the 49er European Championship– Madrid 2016 de 49er, organised until next Sunday at Club Nàutic S’Arenal.
'The wind is not the problem; the waves are the main concern. They are over 2 metres high and are very dangerous for the 49ers because they can cause broken masts and other structural damages', explained today Ferran Muniesa, sports manager of Club Nàutic S’Arenal, minutes after displaying the cancellation flag.
The same storm is forecasted for tomorrow, with NW winds 25 to 30 knots. The wind could lose strength from 16:00 hours but the waves are expected to remain. In any case, three races are scheduled with the first start at 12 hours.
The debut of the 64 boats and 128 sailors representing 22 nations that participate at the European championship– Madrid 2016 will have to wait until tomorrow.
With all the equipment ready for the start of the event, some will take the opportunity to rest this afternoon, specially after their participation at the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mapfre last week, while others will practice sport. The competitors participating in the regatta are top level athletes and most of them will represent their nation at the Beijing Olympics.
'In fact for two nations, specifically France and Austria, the European championship– Madrid 2016 is the last selection event to chose the Olympic team' pointed out today Marcus Spillane, 49er class CEO, sponsored by Seiko. 'Besides –he added- it is the last official event of the class before the 2008 Beijing Games, so there is a very high level'.
Nations such as Spain, Great Britain and Australia have finished their selection. The Olympic representatives are on the list of favourites to win the European championship – Madrid 2016 title. Spanish tandem formed by Iker Martínez & Xabi Fernández (Gold in Athens 2004 and 2007 European champions), British team Stevie Morrison Y Ben Rhodes (2007 World champions) and Australian crew Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin (current World champions) are the focus of attention in Club Nàutic S’Arenal. An exciting battle will also be offered – among others- by the Italian Sibello brothers, the leaders of the class world sailing ranking list.
he 49er European Championship is sponsored by Fundación Madrid 2016, the regional ministries of Tourism, Sports and Youth of the Govern de les Illes Balears and Llucmajor city council. Firms Engel & Völkers and Cadillac are collaborators and Seiko is the class sponsor.