Please select your home edition

Allen Europe class UK National Championships 2023 in Plymouth - Overall

by UK Europe Class Association 8 Jun 2023 13:10 UTC 1-4 June 2023
Mandy Horton - Allen UK Europe Nationals in Plymouth © Paul Gibbins Photography

The 2023 Allen UK Europe National Championships was hosted by Mount Batten Watersports Centre and Plymouth Youth Sailing, with four action packed days of racing!

As a new venue for the Europe fleet, many sailors headed to Plymouth mid-week to get some practice in - interrupted for some by the appearance of a submarine in Plymouth Sound! Sailors were welcomed to Plymouth by 8-14kts from the NE, with two races scheduled in Plymouth Sound.

Sue Ogg lead race one comprehensively, a display of light wind boat speed and an early identification of the left-hand gain upwind - a feature of many of the races to come! Steve Cockerill and Ben Harris battled throughout the race for second and third place, finishing in that order respectively.

A similar display of boat speed was seen by Hector Cisneros in Race 2, leading from the start to take the win; Steve Cockerill taking consecutive second places to lead the event overall at the end of Day 1. The word of the day was consistency with Steve and Ben rewarded with the top two spots as the only sailors with two top five results.

After a great day on the water, many of the sailors ventured into the Barbican for a Captain Jaspers burger and beers by the water, before catching the last ferry back to Mount Batten in anticipation of a big few days ahead!

Day 2 promised more of the same, with similar course area and conditions to the previous day. As Race 3 started, the temperatures were now well above 20 degreesC and the wind oscillated throughout the race. A race of snakes and ladders, it was Belgian representative Graham Hutchings who mastered the tricky race course to take the win, Steve again following with a second place and HISC's John Rees who wrapped up the podium.

The race saw several Rule 42 infringements as the O-Flag was raised and lowered several times due to varying wind strength; umpire Carol's yellow flag was a useful learning experience for the fleet!

The wind dropped significantly after Race 3 and was flicking between the NE gradient wind and a SE thermally driven breeze. The committee boat re-located to Cawsand Bay and the fleet were greeted by 15-20kts and big waves for the start of Race 4! Graham's experience in the choppy North Sea conditions off Belgium paid off with a second consecutive race win, followed by Alex Scoles racing his prototype Idol Composites boat.

The big conditions continued into Race 5, and this time it was Steve who stretched a lead and took his first win of the event. Alex continued his run of form in the big waves downwind to take second, with Hector and Ben battling hard for third and fourth, finishing bow-to-stern. A mega reach back across Plymouth Sound in 20kts and bright sunshine left no sailor without a smile as they returned ashore.

On Saturday morning, sailors launched into a light NE breeze and headed to the race area beyond the breakwater. With a big left-hand shift as the first start got off the line, the fleet quickly tacked onto port. With the left generally paying, it was Steve who got ahead and protected his lead to take the win.

A dominant display ensued; Steve mastering the shifty breeze to take a day of straight bullets. Hector and Jason traded the remaining podium places to extend their grip on the overall podium. Behind the leading trio, Sue Ogg and Mandy Horton were the only sailors to remain in the top 10 all day, the majority sailing at least one race where they found more snakes than ladders!

After racing, and a new addition for the 2023 event, the inaugural 'Pip Eagleton Endurance Trophy' race was held in memory of Pip Eagleton, a devoted supporter not only of her husband Richard's Europe adventures, but of the UK class as a whole. A hardy group of sailors raced from the start line outside the breakwater, upwind to the top of the breakwater, rewarded by a downwind in building breeze into Cawsand Bay before the long upwind to finish off the Mount Batten breakwater.

Jon Tweedle took the win, Luke Lazell racing his stunning wooden Europe to second ahead of Gareth Tweedle in third.

The fleet enjoyed dinner and drinks in the sunshine - "two-pudding-Jon" earning himself a new nickname - whilst some of the younger sailors ventured into Plymouth to enjoy the last night of the event.

The sun shone yet again on Sunday morning for the final two races of the event. With strong current flowing up and over the line, a general recall was almost inevitable and the fleet got away at the second attempt (minus several victims of the U-Flag). Ben Harris must have found an extra gear on the dance floors of Plymouth, taking an early lead from Jason Belben with some tacking duels out towards the left.

With a strong group of sailors closing in quickly behind, the race came down to the final downwind which saw five different leaders and ended with Hector sneaking the win from Ben, who held off Jon for second, followed by Sue in fourth and Jason in fifth.

The final race was held nearer to the shore with big gusts and shifts coming over Jennyclff. Jason taking the win ahead of Hector but the standout performance was from Jon, powered by his 'monster' sail to take consecutive third place finishes.

As is traditional for the Europe Nationals, the prize-draw ensures no-one walks away empty handed, with an array of prizes from title sponsor Allen, a headline prize of a brand new UK Sails mainsail and a variety of historic trophies all up for grabs.

After a solid series, Steve Cockerill wrapped up his tenth Europe National title - having won his first in 1986. A truly deserving winner, Steve's enthusiasm for Europe sailing is felt throughout the fleet. "That was proper sailing! When it's like that, the results aren't important!" was Steve's summary of the glamour conditions on Friday afternoon, a perfect fit with the class's ethos of delivering fun racing for all sailors throughout the fleet.

Hector Cisneros took second overall from Jason Belben in third - both counting only top five results after two discards. Ben Harris took fourth place ahead of Sue Ogg who finished fifth and claimed the prestigious UK Ladies National Champion title, separated by only two points after some close battles on the final day.

With age categories ranging from Youth (U19) to Legend (70+) it was great to see such competitive racing throughout the fleet - Enya Gibbs taking the youth victory whilst Daniel Devos from France finished just ahead of Richard Eagleton in the legend category! As the longest standing member of the UK Class Committee, Richard was awarded lifetime honourary membership at the prize-giving in gratitude for his dedication and service to the class.

The 'Tin Rig Trophy', awarded to the top placed boat without a carbon fibre mast, was won by Mark Swallow.

As always, the Europe proved itself as the most versatile single handed class, with sailors ranging from 50kg to 90+kg and from 'youth' to 'legend' all racing equally on the water and enjoying a great four day event! Huge thanks to Plymouth Youth Sailing and Mount Batten Watersports & Activity Centre for hosting.

If you have a Europe, or are looking to get involved in the class, be sure to join the UK Europe Sailors Facebook group, where you can join our friendly community of sailors and ask any questions you might have!

If you finished in the top ten at the Europe nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

Related Articles

Europe class set for RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show
Launching their action-packed 2024 racing calendar The UK Europe Class Association is excited to be exhibiting at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports show this weekend - showing off a stunning new boat from Synergy Marine and launching their action-packed 2024 racing calendar. Posted on 22 Feb
Biotechnology boosts high-performance sailing
UK-based Sustainable Sailing has been building 75% biobased composite rudders and stocks The Europe, a high-performance dinghy originally designed over 80 years ago, is now at the forefront of a revolution in biomaterials which will reduce the carbon footprint in sailing. Posted on 11 Jan
Europe, Finn & OK Open at Hayling Island Preview
Celebrating the unstayed single handers at the end of the season With 12 Finn arriving in the dinghy park en-masse at HISC at the beginning of the year, Europe activity a plenty, and OKs with Paul, Charlie, Alex, Matt and Simon, an event to celebrate the unstayed single handers has been hatched. Posted on 22 Sep 2023
Something so right
Dougal Henshall looks at what makes for a good championships attendance Jack Knights coldly set out that the golden age of dinghy racing had already had its day, and by the mid-1970s he felt that that all the signs were that activity levels had peaked. He claimed to see the first signs of a downward trend. Posted on 13 Sep 2023
Europes at Stokes Bay
Sharing with OK and RS300 classes The forecast looked good the entries arrived later than hoped, the Europe class mustered seventeen boats, the OKs eleven and RS300s nine, so 37 boats on the Solent. Posted on 23 Aug 2023
Allen Europe class Nationals at Plymouth day 3
Racing in a lovely breeze and much smaller swell outside the breakwater Another glorious day greeted the sailors on Saturday morning with sunshine and wind. The race committee opted to race outside the breakwater. What felt like a long sail out was worth the effort when we arrived with a lovely breeze. Posted on 4 Jun 2023
Allen Europe class Nationals at Plymouth day 2
Rankings close after a day with more wind Day 2 dawned overcast and a bit chillier, but definitely with more wind, and the added bonus of class legend Richard Eagleton joining the fleet (more of legends later on). Posted on 2 Jun 2023
Allen Europe class Nationals at Plymouth day 1
A relaxed 1pm start on the first day A break from the last few years, the venue for the 2023 nationals was selected as Plymouth, with the longer distance for most to travel a 4 day event was planned and a chance for some of us reminisce about our university days in the city. Posted on 1 Jun 2023
Europe class Allen Nationals preview
Nearly 40 sailors booked for Plymouth event, and still time to enter! This year's event is hosted by Plymouth Youth Sailing at Mount Batten Watersports & Activities Centre, with racing to take place on the iconic Plymouth Sound and beyond the breakwater. Posted on 31 May 2023
Europe class Inlands at Grafham
One of the joys of Europe racing is how close it all is On 13th/14th May the Europe class assembled at an unseasonably chilly Grafham Water SC for our Inland Championships, sponsored by Gill. PRO Peter Curtis made the wise call to pull an additional race forward to the Saturday, so four races back-to-back. Posted on 17 May 2023