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International 6 Metre European Championship 2018 closes with Prize Giving and informal brunch

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International 6 Metre European Championship 2018 closes with Prize Giving and informal brunch_2
The Astor Cup is presented to the top performing boat with a crew member under 25 and the Lucie Trophy is presented to the first boat with a woman in the crew.

A delightful informal brunch, hosted by the Mayor of La Trinite Sur Mer at the Societe Nautique La Trinite Sur Mer's (SNT) harbour-side race village, brought the 2018 International 6 Metre European Championship to a close. This was preceded by what proved to be a very moving awards ceremony in which International Six Metre Association Chairman Sir Robert Owen paid special tribute to the organising and race committees and to the town of La Trinite, which always welcomes the 6 Metre sailors so warmly. He closed by hoping very much that the fleet would soon back back racing on Quiberon Bay for another major championship.

The first presentations to be made were a number of special trophies. The Astor Cup is presented to the top performing boat with a crew member under 25 and the Lucie Trophy is presented to the first boat with a woman in the crew. It's been terrific to see so many young people and women racing this week, and it was particularly exciting that the winners of both these trophies were racing on the Open Division winning team of Nivola. The Astor Cup was presented to Jesper Scheme and the Lucie Trophy went to Kerstin Schulze, who both only joined Nivola's crew this year.

Next to be presented were the August Ringvold Memorial Trophy which goes to the leading Classic built to the first or second iteration of the International Rule and the Baum and Koenig Trophy which goes to the first boat using a wooden mast and white sails. Both trophies this year were won by Matt Brook's Lucie.

The last of the special trophies presented was the Nelson Trophy placed boat among those Moderns first constructed and certificated as a Six Metre between 1966 and 6 September 1979 (the date of the first race of the 1979 World Championships - the last to be sailed before the introduction of wings) inclusive, which have had no alteration to their underwater shape other than permitted modifications to the rudder. This year the Nelson Trophy was won by Nicolas Jaton's Irene which was designed in 1977 by Pelle Patterson.

Following the special trophies each of the teams was asked to come forward in reverse finishing order to receive a delightful selection of gifts and prizes from the organisers. Finally came the presentations to the overall winners.

His Majesty the King Don Juan Carlos of Spain and the crew of Bribon Gallant, Pedro Campos, Roi Alvarez, Alberto Vieso and Ross Macdonald, plus alternates Ib Andersen and Alejandro Abascal were presented with the President Woodrow Wilson Trophy. In his acceptance speech His Majesty thanked his fellow competitors, and in particular the crew of second placed Llanoria, for the terrific competition. He also noted that this was his first ever visit to La Trinite and the Bay of Quiberon and commented on how very much he had enjoyed racing here.

Final the 2018 International 6 Metre European Champions Reinhard Suhner, Jesper Schiewe, Fredrich Dahlmann, Kerstin Schulze and Gianpiero Armiento were presented with the Coppa Giovanelli to rousing applause and cheers. In accepting the trophy Reinhard thanked everyone involved in organising the event, the sponsors and the people of La Trinite for their wonderful hospitality. He also surprised his fellow competitors by revealing that they had only used three sails this week, one main, one jib and one spinnaker. He went on to say that prior to the regatta he had decided to sell one of his old spinnakers and had managed to raise Euro 500 in doing so. He concluded by announcing, to loud applause, that he was donating that Euro 500 to the Sailing School of the SNT as a gesture of thanks for the wonderful regatta that the class had all enjoyed so much. Finally he hoped that he would see everyone again next year for the International 6 Metre World Championship in Hanko, Finland from 2 to 9 August.

This week has seen some truly exceptional racing on Quiberon Bay and the quality of the sailors in the fleet is outstanding with multiple Olympians, World and Continental Champions crewing the boats. There have been many comments about the high standard of the racing and the fact that this year that standard has taken another significant leap forward. But it's the boats themselves that are the stars of the show. Their elegant good looks are obvious to all, but they also provide an extraordinary window onto the history of yacht design. The International Rule, to which the 6 Metre is built, was introduced in 1906 and is a development rule specifically intended to encourage designers to push their limitations and think outside the box. The result is that each yacht is a little slice of history, incorporating the very latest design thinking and technology of her era. But don't be fooled into thinking that this means the boats are museum pieces which are never to be improved or modified. Even within the Classic Division for boats constructed on or before December 1965 the boats are constantly updated and improved to keep them performing at the top of their game.

The Sixes were an Olympic Class from 1908 to 1952 and a number of the boats racing this week took part in the Olympics including Titia who was designed by David Boyd in 1952 and built by Woodnutts at Bembridge for Sir Kenneth Preston and Robert Steele. She finished eighth at the 1952 Games and was subsequently sold to the Canada where she was numbered KC 22. She raced out of Toronto and on the Great Lakes until Sixes nearly died out in the area and was subsequently taken to Rhode Island, where considerable restoration work was done. After some years in the wilderness she was located by Matt Cockburn and brought to Penpol on the Fal Estuary, where she was beautifully restored by Brian Pope and Andy Postle. In their first outing in 2006 they won the French Classic Championships at La Trinite; winning six of the nine races. Now under the ownership of Mauricio Sanchez-Vella she continues to perform exceptionally and was on course for a podium finish this week until she was damaged in a start line incident during race five. Her crew received a particularly heart felt cheer as they came to the stage to collect their fourth place awards.

The oldest yacht competing has been Thilo Durach's Gustaf Estlander designed Carmela, which was built by Plyms Varv at Neglinge, Sweden. Little is known about her early life until she was discovered by Walter Kuhlmann and Thilo Durach at Mats Aaronson's wharf near Stockholm. Walter and Thilo took her to Germany and over the next three years she was stripped down and restored, retaining as much of the original as possible. Advised by Peter Norlin, her rig was modernised with the mast moved aft. Her first day out on trial, was in 30 knots of wind at the Europeans at Nynashamn in 2012, but they successfully finished the regatta and the boat has gone on to become a regular competitor on the international circuit.

Arguably the most successful 6 Metre ever is this week's Open Division runner up Junior. She was originally built in 1981 for Baron Edmond de Rothschild as Z77 Gitana, one of four boats built by Batbaryggarna Ab at Ronning at the same time, to the same design and in the same place. Their design by Pelle Petterson was based on and very similar to that of Irene (II), now Cream, winner of the 1979 Worlds and 1980 Europeans. The other three boats were S102 Irene (III), Arunga, and Fillippa (now GER 60 Phillippa). She was bought by Bernard Haissly, later twice ISMA President, who was immediately successful in her, bringing her to England in 1986 to win the second ever British Open Six-Metre Championships at the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes. Owned and helmed by Bernard Haissly, she subsequently won the Worlds in 1999 and 2007 and the Europeans in 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002. Again with Bernard she was runner up at the Worlds in 1991 and 1994. Sold to Yan Marilley, re-numbered FRA 177 and re-named Junior, she was runner-up in the Europeans in 2008 and again, helmed by Bernard Haissly, in 2010. She went on to win the 2015 World Championship which was also held in La Trinite.

Another yacht with an interesting history is Erica, which was designed and built by Camper & Nicholson in 1938 for Ronald Teacher (of Teacher's Whisky) for the British-America Cup Races of that year. After the war she appeared occasionally on the Clyde before being sold to the US, where she eventually ended up owned by Scott Rohrer in Seattle, who had her in a small maritime museum he ran and had kept her entirely original. She was purchased and brought back to England by Richard Bond in 2001, only just in time to be re-furbished enough by the Webb Brothers to take part in the Royal Southern Yacht Club Metre Boat Regatta that summer. Later she was restored more thoroughly by Brian Pope at Penpol after which Richard Bond finished sixth in the 2003 Worlds at St. Tropez, really her best ever international performance up to then. Established as a very fast boat, she was sold to Peter Andrea who finished seventh in the 2007 Worlds at Cowes; fifth in the Europeans at La Trinite in 2008 and with Robert Laird helming, fourth in the 2010 Europeans at Brunnen, Switzerland. She changed hands again in 2016 and went into Tom Owen's yard in Fowey for a little bit of maintenance work. As is the way with Classic yachts, that little bit of maintenance work turned into a complete restoration with the boat being completed and launched just in time for the first warm up race here in La Trinite. She went on to finish fifth and clearly has huge potential for the future.

Those are the stories of just a few 6 Metres, but the class is full of such interesting boats and the International 6 Metre Association has recently commenced a project to create an online archive to store and make accessible the records of as many 6 Metres as possible. The Association is keen to hear from anyone with interesting records or memorabilia which might be suitable for the archive. To find out more about this project please contact Archivist Jenny Wittamore on archivist@6metrearchive.org. Our thanks go to International 6 Metre Historian Tim Street for his invaluable contributions to this article.

Information from International 6 Metre European Championship 2018

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