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Report for the 2008 International Contender European Championships

The 2008 International Contender European Championships took place at Punta Alta , Tuscany in Italy from the 31st May through to the 7th June.

The regatta was held at the PuntAla Camping Resort who catered for the 92 competitors from all over the euro1.jpgworld including Australia , Austria , Canada , Denmark , Germany , Holland , Italy , Spain , Switzerland and the UK .

With measurement over, the practise race was held on the Monday to acclimatize the sailors and the race team to the championship ahead.

Because of the size of the fleet, the competitors were split into 4 groups who all sailed against each other in the initial qualifying rounds of the regatta.

Monday and Tuesday saw perfect sailing conditions but as the week progressed the wind eased making it harder for both the competitors and the race officer!

euro2.jpgIn the early qualifying races Simon Mussell was going well in the breeze, along with Andrea Bonezzi, Marcus Hamilton, Christoph Homeier, Ben Holden and Soren Andreasen.

The breeze then dropped for the remaining qualifying races and saw some different sailors move to the front. Sailors of note included Matt Aston, Peter Dives, Keith Paul, Gernot Goetz, Jan Kuhlman, Giovanni Bonzio and Luca Polenta.

At the end of this series a Gold and Silver fleet were generated with Andrea Bonezzi leading the regatta with the final 2 days racing left to crown the 2008 European Champion!euro3.jpg

The final series racing kicked off on Thursday in light conditions with eventually only one race being sailed. This was won by Martin Muerner followed by Marcus Hamilton with Stuart Jones in third.

The final days sailing saw Gernot Goetz win what turned out to be the final race of the series, followed by Versari with Bonzio in third being enough for Bonzio to lift the title.

With only 3 points separating the top 3 overall, it proves just how close this championship was. In the end Giovanni Bonzio from Italy was crowned 2008 International Contender European Champion with current World Champion Marcus Hamilton finishing in Silver and ex World Champion Andrea Bonezzi in bronze.

Gear wise, Bonezzi hulls took up the majority of the top 10 places with a couple of Bob Hoare fibreglass Hulls (now built by Chris Somner) in the mix. Various masts were used within the fleet with Avant Garde appearing the most popular at the top. Wavelength sails took 70% of the top ten places with Elvstrom/Sobstad as the next most popular.

The International Contender Association would like to thank PuntAla Camping Resort for running the event so smoothly, Opel auto-motive (F.lli Vivarelli - Grosseto official dealer) and Latte Maremma for sponsoring the championship.

We would also like to thank the Comitato Circoli Velici Costa Etrusca, who gathered all the sailing clubs belonging to the Etruscan Coast and finally the Comune di Castiglione della Pescaia who are the local municipality for supporting the regatta.

The International Contender fleet now heads onto the 2008 World Championships in Canada in August.

The International Contender circuit will take sailors to Denmark in 2009 for the World Championships followed by Brisbane Australia in 2010 and Weymouth in the UK in 2011 at the 2012 Olympic venue.  The next European Championships will be held in La Rochelle, France in 2010.

There has never been a better time to jump into a Contender!

Overall results

 Position  Sail No.  Pts.  Helm  Hull  Mast  Sail
 ITA 47  Giovanni Bonzio  21   Bonezzi  Avant Garde   Elvstrom/ Sobstad
 2  AUS 2323  Marcus Hamilton  22  Bonezzi  CST  Wavelength
 3  ITA 11  Andrea Bonezzi  24  Bonezzi  Avant Garde  Wavelength
 4  GBR 2421  Gary Langdown  31  Bonezzi  Avant Garde  Wavelength
 5  DEN 44  Sören Andreasen  34  Bonezzi  Avant Garde  Elvstrom/ Sobstad
 6  GBR 701  Stuart Jones  39  Bob Hoare  Wavelength  Evolution
 7  GBR 702  Matt Aston  41  Bob Hoare  Avant Garde  Wavelength
 8  ITA 99  Marco Versari  42  Bonezzi  Avant Garde  Wavelength
 9  GBR 720  Graham Scott  43  Bonezzi  Wavelength  Wavelegth
 10  GER 551 Christoph Homeier   62  Bonezzi  CST  Wavelenth