The 2020 Eurocup series was set, 9 events scheduled with the traditional starting regatta of El Balis in Spain. Sailors turned out in good numbers for this event as it provides some respite from the chillier northern European climate. GBR reigned supreme with the winning combination of Freya Black and Ewan Wilson.
Next up was the first time French Eurocup venue of Hyeres slated for April but by the middle of February the pandemic news was seriously percolating and it became clear this was no longer a pandemic confined to Asia. The Hyeres event was hanging in the balance so it was rescheduled for September. The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and GBR all realising that they could not operate within their regional and central government safety guidelines cancelled their events.
The Czech Repulic event fell between the spikes in the pandemic and was able to go ahead. Attracting 27 entries from 6 nations it was here that the Eurocup series was reignited and home Under 17 team of Tibor and Adam Nevelos triumphed taking the gold spot on the podium.
Germany had rescheduled Kiel week and the sailors showed a real desire and willingness to travel in order to race as long they were permitted. Kiel really was the showcase of how to operate in our new Covid-19 world. They ran 7 qualifying races and 5 finals. The Maltese just dominated this regatta with Richard Schultheis at the helm paired with Max Korner coming in 1st place with Richard being hotly persued by his sister Antonia Schultheis paired with Ole Ulrich. Finishing 1 & 2, this was a good day for the Schultheis family! First girls was taken by Katrina Schwachhofer and Elena Stoltze of Germany.
The Hungarian event took place despite having some challenging Covid protocols placed on them by the authorities, they attracted another boat from Austria which made this a viable Eurocup. Again, the organisers pulled out all the stops to provide some lovely racing on the picturesque Lake Balaton. The visiting Austrians, Roman Eggars & Paul Kropfitsch snatched the top step of the podium from the home teams and provided some good competition for the Hungarians.
As the pandemic started to increase so did the fear that we would not have a final. The Notice of Series had been amended so that 3 regattas would now count (not 5) with Garda still non-discardable. Again, with exceptional regatta planning and a very cooperative race team in Riva del Garda this event went full steam ahead. This really was a fantastic way to end the season. The event encapsulated the spirit of the 29er: determination by the sailors, coaches and parents to not allow 2020 to take us hostage from doing what we all love. The event itself was won by the Kiel-dominant Richard Schultheis/Max Korner combination followed in 2nd by the French Tangi Le Goff/Youenn Bertin. In 3rd, back from a brief spell in the 49er, was our Slovenian friend Rok Verderber paired with Daniel Cante. Good to see you Rok! Thanks to Nautivela for sponsoring this event.
The overall Series was taken by FRA 2509, Raphael Thoisy/Malo Kennish and first girls were the Under 17 pair from Hungary, Luca Kis Szolgyemi/Hanga Ugron. Thanks to our overall series sponsors Ovington boats.
With 5 events in 2020, we feel incredibly lucky to have had any racing at all and we are very grateful to all our event hosts, those that manged to run events and those who tried in vain! Bring on 2021!