IC Europa Cup 1997
Consistent sailing in light weather and a distinct edge in any breeze gave Ola Barthelson a much deserved and overdue win in the International Canoe Europa Cup held at Gothenburg Canoe Club between August 4-8. Competitors were treated to sunshine throughout the week and brilliant hospitality and organisation by the host club. The week also saw the national championship for the A, B, and D Canoes. The A and B canoes are trainers for youngsters which offer performance and manoeuvrability which would blow away any youth boat currently available in the UK.
The club and the Swedish Canoe Federation, represented by its chairman and race officer, Per Sjohult, were trying a new format of shorter races around a figure of four course. After a little tinkering with course lengths and time between each race, it was deemed popular by all competitors and should be the format used in the world championship to be sailed at Nynashamn, near Stockholm, in 1999.
Barthelson was pushed all the way by two former winners, Simon Allen from England and Jens Reichart from Germany. Had the first race not been over the time limit, with Allen tantalisingly close to the finish, it could have been a different story. By the final race it was clear that any of the top three could have won, although Barthelson was the favourite, and a second place in the first race of the day behind Reichart was enough to clinch the title. Just as well because he slumped to ninth in the final race, which was won by Allen, with John Ellis (Scaling Dam) second, recording his best result of the week.
Barthelson was using a home built boat and carbon mast with North sails, while Allen had a Razorback hull with an Angell mast and Morrison sails.