The 470 Europeans are just a few days away. From 6 to 14 May the race area just off Marina degli Aregai,in Santo Stefano al Mare on Italy’s Ligurian Riviera, will gather the very best of the world’s 470 sailors.
Organised by Yacht Club Sanremo in co-operation with Yacht Club degli Aregai, the Italian and International 470 class, the championship can boast a truly world class line-up. Several teams are in fact coming from countries outside of Europe, some as far away as China, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Argentina or Brazil for as many as 29 countries, and some true newcomers like the team from Malesia and India
The championship is open to non-Europeans crews, who can use it as a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but cannot compete for the title. Fleets will be split in two groups: one for women and one for men or the newly introduced mixed crews. In total more than 115 teams have confirmed their presence.
The 470 Europeans consist of a series of fleet races and a final medal race, if more than five qualifying races have been completed, for the top 10 teams in each fleet. The racing will be on windward/leeward or trapezoid courses. The Championship will open on Monday May 6, with teams finalising entries and measurements through to Tuesday 7, when the official opening ceremony will take place in the late afternoon in the Marina degli Aregai. Racing is planned from Wednesday 8 to Tuesday 14, with the medal races and the closing ceremony.
Among the top guns of the class participating two times world champion and Olympic silver medalist Mathew Belcher from Australia teaming with Will Ryan; New Zelanders Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox fresh from winning the Genoa World Series event; Stuart Mcnay and David Hughes from the USA and the Europeans Luke Patience and Chris Grube from the UK, Spain’s Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez, Italy’s Matteo Capurro and Matteo Puppo, Giacomo Ferrari and Giulio Calabrò, all in all the first 15 teams of the world ranking will be racing in Aregai.
Dutch team Afrodite Zegers and Lobke Berkhout, China’s Manxi Wei and Haiyan Gao, third in the world ranking and runners-up in Genoa right one spot in front of young Italians Benedetta Di Salle and Alessandra Dubbini, will be the teams to look out for among the girls.
The star-studded fleets will be matched by the international Race Commitee, led by Italian judges Dodi Villani and Mario Lupinelli, and the International Jury with President Stanislav Kasparov from Bulgaria and Israel’s Nino Shmueli, who acted as PRO at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Another big name in Santo Stefano al Mare will be Victor Kovalenko, considered as one of the best coaches of the 470 class, so much to be called “The Medal Maker”, as under his guidance nine teams have won an Olympic medal, six of which gold. Kovalenko is currently working with the Australian team.
The 470 European Championship is supported by Marina degli Aregai and Marina degli Aregai hotel & resort from the Cozzi Parodi Group, together with the Liguria Region and by the long-established partners of Yacht Club Sanremo.
The boat is named after its overall length, 4,70 metres, and is one of the Olympic classes recognised by World Sailing. The 470 was conceived by French naval architect André Cornu for male, female and mixed crews, back in 1963 but that still maintains its popularity because it enables his performances despite being easy to handle and manoeuvre. Thanks to its high weight to sail area ration, the 470 planes effortlessly.
The 470 is Olympic class since the 1976 Montreal Games when only one fleet was allowed, a male and female fleet were introduced later in 1988, and the boat is currently sailed in more than 60 countries worldwide. In the nine editions of the Games the boot has been used 18 nations have won a medal, vouching for its diffusion and success.
The 470 is equipped with mainsail, jib, spinnaker and a trapeze, calling for a good teamwork, and has proved safe and fast in a wide range of wind and sea conditions. Despite not being a difficult boat to race, small details are key to better speed. Tactically, the 470 is a pretty tricky boat because differences in performance are minimal and fleets are often huge.