A spectacular photo finish eighth race brought the 2022 International Six Metre European Championship to a conclusion after five glorious days of racing off Cascais. Going into the day overnight leader Patrick Montiero de Baross’s Seljm, John Harald Ornerberg’s Scoundrel One, which had been helmed until the final day by Vasco Pereira, and Dieter Schoen’s Momo were separated by just two points leaving the regatta wide open.
Momo got a great start and led the fleet at the first mark, but she still needed to have at least one boat between her and Seljm to win. Things looked good though as Scoundrel One rounded fifth and Seljm sixth, so all Momo could do was sail fast and hope for the best. She confidently extended her lead, but Seljm was on a charge and with each leg made up places. As the boats turned onto the final run the spectators were on the edge of their seats as Seljm produced impressive downwind speed, closing on the leaders all the way to the finish line. Momo won the race by a minute and a half but immediately checked back up the track. Seljm had sailed a blinder of a last run to pull right up, but it was Stephan Lindberg’s Jane Ann that snatched second place. Jeremy Thorpe’s Battlecry, Jan Eckert’s Ginkgo Too and Seljm surfed into the line absolutely bow to bow and only a last minute surge right on the line put Seljm millimetres ahead of her rivals and onto equal points with Momo. Seljm’s crew had sailed their socks off, but Momo had one more race win to her name and so was declared the 2022 International Six Metre Open Division European Champion. Seljm claimed the silver medal and Scoundrel One crossed the line in seventh place to take the final step on the Open Division podium.
Momo is the newest Six Metre in the fleet, having been launched earlier this year, and her team of owner/helm Dieter Schoen, Markus Wieser, Dirk De Ridder, Ross Halcrow and Victor Marino Prieto have already made their mark on the class. The team has been sailing together for several years in 5.5s and Maxi 72s, twice winning the Maxi 72 World Championship, and they came to the class keen to succeed. A Judel/Vrolijk designed boat built by Wilke in Switzerland, Momo hit the ground running earlier this year with a win at the 2022 World Championship in Cascais. Their victory here in Cascais was hard won, but it’s clear they are no one hit wonder and are here to stay.
After receiving the Coppa Giovanelli perpetual trophy at the Prize Giving owner Dieter Schoen paid tribute to his fellow competitors and thanked the organisers and his crew saying, “I would like to say thank you to Patrick de Barros and Scoundrel One for a great fight this week. I would like to say thank you to the club for a great job and great sailing. And I would like to thank my crew, we’re a good team I think and we made it again.”
In the Classic Division Bribon 500, helmed by Ross Macdonald with crew Alejandro Abascal, Alberto Viejo, Eduardo Marin and Roi Alvarez, had already been declared the 2022 Champion with a race to spare, and Catalin Trandafir’s Essentia had been confirmed as Vice Champion. Both boats nonetheless elected to come out to take advantage of the wonderful sailing for one last race, and to witness the fight between Mauricio Sanchez Bella’s Titia and Andy and Lisa Postle’s Nirvana for the bronze medal. From the off Titia had the upper hand over Nirvana, who has not been on her usual good form this week, and she enjoyed a terrific battle with Bribon 500 and Essentia, with the three boats trading places all the way round the course. On the final run Titia just snuck in to take the line from Essential then Bribon and confirm her bronze medal place overall
This is the second time that Ross Macdonald has won the Classic Six Metre European Championship at the helm of Bribon 500, the first being in 2012 in Nynasham. The boat was designed in 1947 by Arvid Laurin and built by Plym in Neglinge, Sweden for Harry Nystrom who named her Gallant. Laurin was considered a radical designer in his time and created only 3 sixes; Sinkadus (1939), Gallant (1947) and Trickson VI (1948). After just a few seasons sailing in Sweden she was shipped to Canada where she sailed on Lake Ontario for many years. In 2004 she was purchased and rebuilt by Eric Jespersen, who has been sailing aboard Essentia this week. In her, Eric Jespersen, with his father and son as crew, won the 2009 Classic World Championships in Newport, Rhode Island. His Majesty King Juan Carlos de Borbon sailed her to victory under the Bribon name at the 2017 and 2018 Classic World Championships. With Pedro Campos at the helm she also won the 2021 Classic Europeans and 2022 Classic Worlds, making her without doubt one of the most successful Classic Sixes ever.
One of the most remarkable things about the Sixes is their longevity and the ability of boats of vastly differing ages to race on a level playing field. That the 1986 Petterson designed Scoundrel One and the 1988 Howlett designed Battlecry were able to take on and regularly beat the much newer boats in the Open Division is testament to the quality of the designs and the skilful management of the class rules. It also makes it possible to be truly competitive in the class at a range of budget points.
After racing the competitors gathered on the Club Naval de Cascais (CNC) terrace for the final prize-giving. Alongside the main trophies two special awards were presented. The Lucie Trophy, for the highest placed yacht which includes a woman as helm or crew, was presented to Titia, whose crew includes Alicia Freire. The IYRS Astor Cup, for the highest placed boat which includes a crew or helm aged 25 years or under was presented to Ginkgo Too, several of whose crew qualify. The Shipshape Trophy for the winner of the Open Division Practice Race was won by Jeremy Thorp’s Battlecry and the Maharajah of Djeezupuhr Trophy for the winner of the Classic Division Practice Race went to Ted Schauman’s Lisbeth V, the oldest boat in the competition having been designed by Johan Anker in 1932.
International Six Metre Association Chairman Louis Heckly was full of praise for the event saying, “It’s been a delight to be here in Cascais. We’ve had outstanding racing and today could not have been a more exciting finale. On behalf of all the sailors I would like to express our gratitude to the Clube Naval de Cascais for their exceptional hospitality and superb organisation. My particular thanks go to CNC Honorary Commodore Patrick de Barros for inviting us to come to this beautiful venue and and being the driving force behind the event. Finally I would like to congratulate our new champions Momo and Bribon 500 who both sailed superbly!”
Huge thanks must go to the members and staff of the Clube Naval de Cascais, to the Race Committee and the International Jury, and to the sponsors of the event which included the Municipality of Cascais, Portugal Tourism, the Portuguese Sailing Federation, Cascais Marina, Vista Alegre, Sagres & Leito and Irmao.
The next international championship for the class will be the 2023 Six Metre World Championship which will be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron and the British Six Metre Association in Cowes, UK, from 31 August to 8 September 2023. Further information on this event will be available shortly from www.6mr.org.uk.
Six Metre European Championship 2022 Final Results:
1st – SUI142 – Momo – Dieter Schoen – 1, 6, 1, (DSQ(11)), 4, 2, 3, 1 = 18pts
2nd – POR4 – Seljm – Patrick Monteiro de Barros – 3, 1, (7), 1, 5, 4, 1, 3 = 18pts
3rd – GBR86 – Scoundrel One – Vasco Pereira – 4, 4, 2, (8), 1, 1, 4, 7 = 23pts
4th – SUI140 – Ginkgo Too – Jan Eckert – 5, 2, 4, 3, (8), 3, 5, 4 = 26pts
5th – ESP16 – Stella – Violeta Alvarez – 2, (9), 3, 2, 6, 6, 6, 6 = 31pts
1st – ESP16 – Bribon 500 – Ross Macdonald – 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, (3) = 10pts
2nd – ROU65 – Essentia – Catalin Trandafir – (4), 4, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 2 = 17pts
3rd – ESP72 – Titia – Mauricio Sanchez Bella – (6), 2, 5, 5, 3, 3, 1, 1 = 20pts
4th – GBR33 – Nirvana – Andy & Lisa Postle – 1, 3, 4, 2, 4, 6, (6), 6 = 26pts
5th – USA96 – Hanko III – Thomas Kuhmann – 3, (5), 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 4 = 28pts