Between August 20th and 27th, 2023, the J24 European Championship is being held in Balatonfüred, Hungary, in collaboration between the Balatonfüredi Yacht Club, the Hungarian J24 Class Association, the Hungarian Sailing Federation, and the International J24 Class Association. Eight nations, 42 boats, and 210 competitors took to the water. Hungary is hosting the continental competition for the third time after 2008 and 2017.
The 5-day, 10-race competition began on Wednesday, August 23, following a two-and-a-half-day registration process and a light-wind practice race. The first day of racing concluded with two valid races and one abandoned race under the November flag. After the two races, the German team „Schwere Jungs,” led by Stefan Karsunke, is in the lead, followed by a Hungarian crew on „iJroncat” skippered by Gábor Sallai in second place, and the Irish team „Headcase” helmed by Cillian Dickinson in third place.
The opening ceremony of the European Championship began with a welcome from Chris Howell, the President of the International J24 Class Association, who emphasized the importance of personal presence to support the local organizing teams and the local classes.
Next, András Holczhauser, General Secretary of the Hungarian Sailing Federation, greeted the participants. He was followed by István Bóka, the Mayor of Balatonfüred, who emphasized the city’s commitment to sports. After welcoming words from István Böröcz, CEO of the host Balatonfüredi Yacht Club, Erik Hercsel, representing the Hungarian J24 Class Association, wished the sailors successful racing and enjoyable time both on the water and land.
On the first racing day, Wednesday, the race committee, led by Peter Lübeck from Denmark and supported by the experienced organizing team of BYC, completed two successful races amidst tricky wind conditions on Lake Balaton.
The first race, originally scheduled for 10:00 AM but delayed to 11:00 AM due to variable and unstable wind conditions, started in excellent 8-10 knot south-southwesternly winds under the U flag after a General Recall. The first race was won by the American team „USA5352 Amuse Bouche” skippered by Kurt Dammeier, followed by the German „GER5316 Hungriger Wolf” helmed by Fritz Meyer in second place, and the German „GER5381 Schwere Jungs” in third place. The second race, initially scheduled for 1:00 PM, faced a long delay as the promising 12-14 knot NW winds at the start of the race decreased significantly and shifted, forcing the race committee to abandon it after 50 minutes of sailing. After an onshore postponement, teams returned to the water in the afternoon at 4:30 PM and successfully completed the race in 6-10 knot northern winds. The first place went to the German youth team „GER3634 Fast Forward” skippered by Hannes Hess, followed by the German „GER5381 Schwere Jungs” in second place, and a Hungarian crew „HUN4796 iJroncat” skippered by Gábor Sallai in third place. After the two races, the German team „Schwere Jungs” led by Stefan Karsunke is in the lead, followed by the Hungarian „iJroncat” skippered by Gábor Sallai in second place, and the Irish team „Headcase” under the leadership of Cillian Dickinson in third place.
The long and tiring day concluded with the Aprés Sailing beer party, sponsored by Quantum Sails, a prominent supporter of the European Championship. The second racing day is scheduled to begin the first race at 10:00 AM, with the possibility of up to 4 races if wind conditions allow.