2.4mR European Championships at Snekermeer, The Netherlands

Seven British boats headed to the 2.4mR Europeans on Snekermeer in Friesland, Netherlands. Home to Sneek Week where 1000 boats from 43 classes turn up on a small piece of water so 54 2.4mR's seemed easy.

The British team, which fielded 4 National Champions, weren't too sure what to expect. It turned out to be shifty waters with many gaps in the pressure and with split fleet sailing it was going to be a challenge. The first 2 days saw 6 qualification races with Megan Pascoe managing to win every race. Two times Paralympian from Norway Bjornar Erikstad put together two superb match races with Megan to come out just behind after 2 days.

The next best British boat was Bruce Hill from Frensham Pond who after a tough start to the season was putting his Stradivarius round the course very competently, which was not surprising as Sneek was described as Frensham on steroids. Martin Whittingham Jones was in the same flight as Bruce and did well to win a race and finish qualifying inside the top 15 as they seemed to be in the "group of death". Will Street, Steve Bullmore and the current National Champion Simon Hill all did enough to comfortably qualify for gold fleet.

The Wednesday saw real challenging conditions with shifts galore and big place changing. Both Megan and Bjornar managed a solid day with Megan taking one race and Bjornar the other two. Fresh from his third place at Kieler Woche Henrik Johnsson from Sweden also had a good day with two seconds. Martin and Bruce were still enjoying their time inside the top 10 with Will improving as the week went on.

Thursday saw bigger breeze but still shifty. Megan had a great day to seal the championship with 3 races to spare. Guss Bijlard current World Champion from Holland found it easier in the breeze and closed the gap on third at the end of the day. Fred Imhoff, Olympian for the Netherlands now racing for Belgium took the final race of the day after it was restarted due to a wind shift! Martin was quietly putting in consistent top 4 positions to move up to 5th and Bruce and Will were holding their positions inside the top 10.

The final day saw similar wind to Thursday but the racing seemed to get incredibly tight. Henrik did enough in the first race finishing second just behind Megan to seal a medal. Bjornar found the first race challenging as he was spun round on a port – starboard incident with Guss who attached himself to Bjornar for a couple of minutes. The Norwegian came back to 11th but was denied redress due to no damage occurring. So the positions came down to the last race. Guss managed to win the race to take third overall while Martin, Megan, Bjornar and 3 more boats battled for the lesser places. Megan took second with Martin in 5th which gave him 5th overall. Bjornar could only finish 8th after a big right hander on the last beat to finish 4th overall. Per Ahrbom from Sweden had a great day to just squeeze Will out of the top 10. Bruce managed two of his discards but still finished a very respectable 8th.

For all the British it was a very respectable performance becoming top nation, and it was the first major open 2.4mR Championship Britain has won. The racing by the Royal Sneek YC was great as was the organisation but the Dutch 2.4 Class showing that running a major championship which caters for every level of sailor is possible. As were the trophies inspired by the Moto GP.