|Torbole, Italy - From July 5 to 10, the Trentino area of Lake Garda will host the last test for the most acrobatic and spectacular category before the upcoming Athens Olympics in August: the 49er European Championship.
The finals for the 49er skiff, which first became an Olympic class during Sydney 2000 follow the trials held in Torbole in Summer 1996 return to their roots next week.
This two-man crew racer was inspired by the fast Australian 18-footers and designed by Julian BETHWAITE, who specializes in this type of hull. Italy's top 49er crew at the Sydney Olympics was composed of the Bruni brothers from Palermo, while brothers Pietro and Gianfranco SIBELLO from Ligury will participate in the Athens Olympics.
This spectacular, athletically-challenging class is also a great stepping stone to other categories within the sport. In fact, many skippers for this particular class have gone on to great success in other fields, such as Australian Chris NICHOLSON, who was the star of the last Volvo Ocean Race with the Italian-Finnish `Amer Sports 1`
One hundred boats (25 nations) will compete in the European Championships organised by the Circlo Vela Torbole.
Current title holder is Marcus BAUR and Max GROY from Germany, who came in first in Laredo (Spain) last year ahead of Cris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR), followed by Iker MARTINEZ and Xavier FERNANDEZ from Spain who won the World Championship last April in Athens. Needless to say, they are the top three contenders for the Lake Garda race.