Fredrich Dahlman’s Nivola Wins International 6 Metre European Championship 2018

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Fredrich Dahlman’s Nivola Wins International 6 Metre European Championship 2018_2
The International 6 Metre European Championship 2018 came to a spectacular and closely fought conclusion in La Trinite Sur Mer, Brittany

The International 6 Metre European Championship 2018 came to a spectacular and closely fought conclusion in La Trinite Sur Mer, Brittany, with two final races in near perfect sailing conditions to complete the eight race series. The sun shone, the wind blew from the north west, ranging from 14-16 knots at the start to 8-10 by the finish of racing, and the boats looked utterly glorious on the sparkling waters of Quiberon Bay. Race Officer Gilles Bricout and his team from the Societe Nautique de la Trinite sur Mer knew that the wind was likely to drop off during the second half of the day and wisely elected to set a pair of two lap windward leeward races to give the best chance of completing both proposed races in good breeze.

The Open Division started race seven cleanly at the first attempt and romped off up the beat fully pressed. At the first mark it was Philippe Durr's Junior (built 1981, designer Pelle Petterson) who led Peter Harrison's St Francis IX (1985 Pelle Petterson), helmed by Andy Beadsworth, from Paul Smith's Valhalla (1981 Peter Norlin), helmed by Rob Smith, with Hendrick Andersin's Evelina (1995 Peter Norlin) fourth and Rainer Muller's Thisbee (1986 Pelle Petterson) fifth. With regular puffy shifts and the fleet closely packed there were constant place changes. By the second weather mark Evelina had taken the lead with Junior second, St Francis IX third, Patrick Monteiro de Barros' Seljm (1988 Pelle Petterson) fourth and Valhalla fifth, positions they held down the second run to finish in that order. Overnight leader Fredrich Dahlman's Nivola (1984 Pelle Petterson) found herself down in tenth place.

Going into the Open Division's final race Junior was now overall leader by two points from Nivola second and Seljm one more point back in third. Although the second discard would come into play after the final race all three boats had similar discard profiles so the championship would be decided on the last race.

That last Open Division race took two attempts to get underway but once started Nivola sailed a terrific first beat to head the fleet confidently at the first mark with Jamie Hilton at the helm of Matt Brooks' Scoundrel (1986 Ian Howlett) second, Andy Postle and Brian Pope's Cream (1978 Pelle Petterson) third, Jali Makila's Jane Ann (1985 Pelle Petterson) fourth, Thisbee fifth, Junior sixth and Seljm buried down in the pack. A significant left hander on the first run saw the race committee hustling to get new weather marks laid and shuffled the fleet somewhat. As they came round the final weather mark Nivola kept her lead but Jane Ann had moved into second with Scoundrel now third and Junior up into fourth. The final run Junior slid through into second as they approached the line, but Nivola took race victory from Junior by just eleven seconds.

By a single point Nivola and her team of owner Fredrich Dahlman, helmsman Reinhard Suhner, Kerstin Schultze, Jesper Schiewe, Ingo Schultze and Gianpiero Armiels became the 2018 International Six Meter Open European Champions. Philippe Durr's Junior took second place by nine points, but only three points separated third to sixth place with Patrick Monteiro de Barros' Seljm claiming the final step on the podium from Peter Harrison's St Francis IX with Matt Brook's Scoundrel fifth and Jali Makila's Jane Ann sixth.

His Majesty the King Don Juan Carlos of Borbon may have claimed the 2018 International 6 Metre Classic European Championship Trophy with a day to spare, but he loves to sail and in his 81st year he couldn't resist the lure of one final beautiful day of racing aboard his beloved Bribon Gallant (1947 Arvid Laurin). With his crew of Pedro Campos, Roi Alvarez, Alberto Vieso, Ross Macdonald, plus alternates Ib Andersen and Alejandro Abascal, the King clearly took great pleasure in sailing the final two races just for fun. Being the consummate competitor he is, even in relaxed mode he still can't help performing at the highest level and to confirm his right to the trophy he added a second and third place to his scorecard.

Although the winner had been decided, the remaining Classics podium places were still very much up for grabs with Reiner Muller's Llanoria (1948 Olin Stephens), helmed by Eric Jespersen, holding second place by a seven point margin from Ossi Paija's Astree (1959 Bjarne Was) in third, with the newly restored Erica (1938 Charles Nicholson) just one point further back in fourth. Astree opened the batting in style with a race win with Llanoria finishing third behind Bribon Gallant, but Erica did not have such a good race, finishing down in ninth, her worst result of the regatta so far. With Erica now out of the running it was down to Astree and Llanoria to fight it out for second and third. Jespersen is a man to have in your corner when the sailing chips are down and he calmly executed a text book first beat to head the fleet at mark one with Christof Rek's Marianne (1934 Tore Holm), Thomas Kuhmann's Hanko III, Bribon Gallant and Lucie following him round. Astree rounded just inside the top ten and the writing was on the wall. Llanoria defended her position to the finish with Marianne second, Bribon Gallant third and Hanko III (1955 Bjarn Aas) fourth. Astree succeeded in fighting her way back up into fifth but Llanoria had done more than enough to secure her second place overall and Astree had to be content with the bronze medal position.

While the podium positions in the Classic Division were all decided on the water, fourth place came down to a decision of the International Jury. During the closing moments of the start sequence of race five Mauricio Sanchez-Vela's Titia (1952 David Boyd) was hit and holed by Christian Teichman's Abu (1931 Johan Anker). Both boats retired and following a protest after racing Titia was awarded average points for race six and subsequent races, but remained listed as OCS (over the starting line) in race five. Unfortunately it was not possible to repair Titia overnight and so she was unable to take part in the final races. However, her crew submitted a further redress request on the basis that had they not been holed by Abu they would have had the opportunity to return across the line, restart the race correctly and claim a result. After much deliberation the Jury found in their favour and awarded them average points for races five as well, meaning that they finished the regatta in fourth place overall.

After racing the crews came together for a spectacular gala dinner at which the crews could finally let their hair down and relax. The Final Prize Giving for the regatta will take place tomorrow morning at a special brunch to be hosted by the Mayor of La Trinite Sur Mer, when not only will the Champions be honoured, but a number of additional special prizes will also be presented.

Information from International 6 Metre European Championship 2018

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