The class of ambitious single-handed youngsters defies all problems - whether licence disputes about the construction of their own class or Corona requirements. 380 players for the European Championships for girls and boys in the ILCA 4 (formerly Laser 4.7) are on the entry lists. This means that the class has reached the European Championship level of the years before Corona.
"The number of participants to all international ILCA events is very good," reports Ferdinand Ziegelmayer, German importer of the class. "And Travemünder Woche is very well positioned with the entry numbers." In recent years, the class made unwanted headlines when the class association fell out with the previous manufacturer Laser and issued new licences for the construction of the Olympic boat. However, this had hardly any influence on the sailors. They can compete with boats from the Laser yard as well as from Ovington, Devoti or Element 6 Evolution.
Ziegelmayer sees the attraction for the class not only in the Olympics factor, which some top sailors are aiming for, but also in the fact that it can grow with the youngsters by changing the rig to three different sail sizes. "That's cool for the youngsters. They can convert their dinghy to more horsepower in a few easy steps. That also makes it attractive for clubs that can offer different boat classes with little effort."
The European Championship in the Bay of Lübeck, which is sailed on two courses off the coast of Mecklenburg and has a wide area to launch from Priwall, brings together participants from 33 nations with the necessary distance.
The Italians are strongly represented. In both the girls' and boys' races, they make up the largest field in terms of numbers and are also expected to be far ahead in the results lists. In the boys' competition, however, a German should also be among the front runners. Batbold Gruner from Zwischenahn has been sailing in the class for years, has steadily worked his way up and last year put an exclamation mark on it by winning Kiel Week, which he could now follow up with another one. In the girls' race, one of the favourites comes from Denmark. Annelie Friis Jensen is also capable of sailing at the top in a mixed field with the boys and will want to stand up to the great Italian superiority.
With the practice race on Saturday after the two-day survey, the ILCA 4 were able to prepare for the packed racing programme over the next six days.