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His Majesty don Juan Carlos is King of The Classics at 2018 International 6 Metre European Championship

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His Majesty don Juan Carlos is King of The Classics at 2018 International 6 Metre European Championship_2
His Majesty don Juan Carlos is King of The Classics at 2018 International 6 Metre European Championship

Day three of the International 6 Metre European Championship 2018 brought three, three lap windward leeward races, races four to six of the eight race series, grey skies and a north easterly breeze which ranged from just under ten to almost twenty knots in strength. Whilst the sun might not have been shining the conditions were a welcome change after the preceding two days of light airs and the 6s revelled in a chance to stretch their legs. The Race Committee did an excellent job of keeping the programme rolling and their mark layers were kept busy as the wind shifted with a series of mini squalls which rolled down across Quiberon Bay.

In the Open Division there were three different race winners. First blood went to Switzerland's Reinhard Suhner's Nivola by nineteen seconds. The fight for second place went right to the line with Patrick Monteiro de Barros' Seljm from Portugal beating American Matt Brooks Scoundrel into third by four seconds, with Philippe Durr's Junior, also from Switzerland, another five seconds behind in fourth.

Andy Beadsworth, at the helm of Peter Harrison's St Francis IX, and Seljm went at it tooth and nail in Open Division race five. Seljm initially had the upper hand, but Beadsworth dug deep on the second lap to gain a narrow lead which he then extended to the finish. Behind the leading pair, third place went to Junior with Beat Furrer's Temptation 3 fourth.

The start of Open Division race six required a general recall and the use of the black flag to get them underway. Four boats were disqualified for being over the line including Seljm. Junior and Nivola managed to break away from the pack and enjoyed a great two boat race at the front of the fleet with Junior taking victory on the line from Scoundrel third and Paul Smith's Valhalla, helmed by Rob Smith, fourth.

In the Classic Division race four was won by Germany's Robert Geirth's Lillevi with Finland's Ossi Paija' Astree second. But the man of the day was His Majesty don Juan Carlos of Spain sailing Briband Gallant, who finished third in race four and then went on to win races five and six in impressive style. Second in race five was local boy Louis Heckly's Dix Aout with Astree third, while in race six second place went to Christof Rek's Marianne and Astree was third again. Overnight leader Rainer Muller's Llanoria with Eric Jespersen at the helm was called over the line in race four and failed to go back, but then added a fourth and fifth to her score card. Also over the line in race four was Erica who then went on to finish fifth and fourth places in the subsequent races.

With the first of two possible discards now in play (the second will apply after the eighth and final race has been sailed) the Open Division leaderboard is still wide open and is now led by six points by Reinhard Suhner's Nivola, who moves up from second place. Jumping up five places into second overall is Philippe Durr's Junior who goes into the final day with a single point advantage over Patrick Monterio de Barros' Seljm in third. Four further points back is Jali Makila's Jane Anne, whose somewhat lacklustre 6, 10, 5 score for the day drops her from the overall lead into fourth place. Despite their race win Peter Harrison's St Francis IX struggled to maintain traction and drops down into fifth, three points adrift of Jane Ann.

In the Classic Division His Majesty don Juan Carlos's two wins in Briband Gallant have secured him the International 6 Metre Classics European Championship Trophy with a day to spare. No doubt the trophy will sit nicely alongside the 6 Metre World Championship Trophy which he won in Vancouver last year. His Majesty only took up serious 6 Metre sailing for the 2017 season, so his achievement is impressive in this notoriously hard to master class.

His Majesty may be new to 6 Metre success, but Briband Gallant is no stranger to victory. She was originally a Swedish boat, S 58 Gallant, designed by Arvid Laurin and built by Stockholm's Batbyggeri Neglinge in 1947. In the early Fifties she was sold to Canada, re-numbered KC 10, and re-named Talizman. Around 2005 she was acquired by the Jespersen family of Sydney, British Columbia and was stripped out and totally restored by Eric Jespersen, (the 1992 Star Class Olympic Bronze Medalist who is helming Llanoria this week), bringing her up to her original flotation marks. In her Eric won the 2008 North American Classic Six Meter Championship off Port Townsend, Washington, and then, crewed by his father, won the 2009 Classic World Championship at Newport, RI.

Whilst the winner of the Classic Division may have been established, the battle for the remaining podium places will go down to the wire. Overnight leader Llanoria discards her OCS disqualification to claim second place by seven points from Astree with Cream just one point further back in fourth. Now lying in fifth is Mauricio Sanchez-Vella's Titia, who was involved in a nasty incident on the start line of race five with Abu, which left both boats disqualified for being over the line and Titia with a hole in her topsides in the vicinity of the starboard shroud plates. After racing the Jury found in Titia's favour and awarded her average points for race six which she was unable to start. Every effort is being made to achieve at least a temporary repair to the boat overnight, but it is not yet certain that she will be able to race tomorrow.

Two races remain to sail. Thursday's forecast is for a gradually decreasing nine to twelve knot northerly whilst Friday is looking very light and shifty. All fingers are crossed that it will be possible to complete the final two races on Thursday so that the Friday reserve day does not have to be used.

Information from 2018 International 6 Metre European Championship

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