Orion Martin and Charlotte Hilliard are the 2013 European champions for the Hobie Cat 16 Class. With two solid victories on the last day in Cagliari, the French team opened up a deep margin on second seeded Jens Goritz and Kerstin Wichardt of Germany. Australian Cam Owen and Susan Ghent finished three more points behind.
The Championship was decided on the second half of race number 9, sailed with 8-9 knots of wind. At the first two marks Martin-Hilliard were never in the top five. Goritz-Wichardt were leading at the end of the first upwind leg, followed by Mohr-Wichardt and by Guareschi-Guareschi. The father-son team from Venezuela was then the first one to round the downwind mark, followed by a block of German boats.
But in the next leg Martin chose a different side of the course and his gamble paid: he sneaked from behind to pass Guareschi and the rest of the fleet, with Goritz finishing fifth. It was probably the ko punch. In the last race the French team led from start to end, sailing undisturbed to the grab the Open title. With Martin and Hilliard jumping into the water to celebrate after the finish, their boat decided to share the fun - and sailed away by itself, chased by a media boat with skipper and crew on board.
The fleet completed the race with just a few minutes left before the 15:30 time limit for the last signal. Race Committee decided that it was enough: not much wind left and no real reason to have one more race. Everybody back to shore, then, to start packing and to prepare for the prize giving ceremony.
It was already dark when Windsurfing Club Cagliari president Efisio Pintor congratulated all competitors for “a Championship that deserves to be remembered”. A warm thank-you also to the Race Committee (Giovanni Porcu president, with Margherita Frau, Massimo Cortese and Paolo Schirru) and to the International Jury (president Bernardo Camboni, with Franco Sartori, Willii Gohl, Ricardo Garcia Soriano and Nena Marelich Lussich).
Several people, from the organizing group to the support team on the water, contributed to the success of the event, Mr Pintor recalled. But it would have not possible to bring this Championship to Cagliari without the support of public and private sponsors, starting with Regione Sardegna (Assessorato al Turismo e Assessorato allo Sport).
On behalf of the European Hobie Cat Association, president Andy Dinsdale congratulated the organizers and all the Hobie sailors for a great Championship and listed the teams that qualified for the 2014 Hobie Cat Worlds in Australia with their placement at the European Championships in Cagliari.
The three best teams of the Open event received an artistic trophy created by Raku (Salvatore Farci and Maria Cristina Di Martino). The same trophy to Valentina Gessa e Katia Pessola, best women team in the Open event.
Prizes offered by Bolsena Yachting were also awarded to Jr. Luis Guareschi as the youngest competitor (he's 13), to last seeded Paolo Succu and Carlo Piras (for not giving up after a difficult start) and to Stefan Vogel and Kathrin Szasz (for best somersault in front of a video camera during the Mistral days).