The Europe is one of the most technically demanding yet rewarding and suitable for a wide variety of sailors. Every hull is the same "one design" but the rig characteristics can be chosen to suit the individual sailor. Stiffer mast and fuller sail for the bigger sailors and softer mast/flatter sail for the little sailors.
There are a number of tuning guides available on the internet - the buttons below will take you to the ones we've found. If you have other sites which provide more information please let us have the URL. The class rules and measurement forms are also here in case you need them and we intend to draw together some great video resource on sailing techniques.
As many of the class will tell you, finding the perfect Europe can be a tricky task. Firstly, there are not that many that come to the market in the UK as they are much loved little dinghies. Secondly the balance of the helm, sail and the mast is key so even if you find a boat it may turn out to be 'the wrong rig' for you.
Modern carbon masts have had two builders in the past (Ceilidh are now the sole producer) and Mastom used a colour coding system as a rough guide to identifying what you have:
Green band - the softest mast and suitable for weights unto 60kg
Yellow band - a bit stiffer, suitable for weights between 60kg and 70kg
Red band - heavier still, suitable for weights between 70kg and 80kg
Blue band - the stiffest mast, suitable for weights between 80kg and 90kg
Ceilidh have done away with this system and will give you an exact "kilo-edge" for the mast. It is worth nothing that if you are taller you should be able to get away with a stiffer mast (assuming you can hike properly)! Whereas a more vertically challenged sailor may need to shift down a colour bad due to not being able to generate enough leverage. If you;re not sure what you have you can do a bend test, line your mast up with another and do a "calibrated shake" so see what is similar or you can email the manufacturer - they have all the serial numbers and will be able to tell you where you stand. Sails are cut to suit the mast, so whilst it's feasible to buy a boat and swap a mast over you may well end up having to swap or source a new sail to match the replacement mast.
Alternatively why not cast the net a little wider and consider buying a boat from Europe? It can be relatively easy to source boats within a ferry hop from the UK, and there are some dealers who can put together the 'perfect combination' for you.
There are a few different builders out there but only one current manufacturer of the europe dinghy, Winner. Winner and Finessa are generally good, solid, strong boats to go for but Lange and Lenham also seem to do well. If it's your first boat and your just getting into the class it's not so critical but for a top-end racer you would probably better with a hull younger than 1992 - they should be GBR 300+ numbers but you can tell by looking at the last 2 digits of the Hull Identification Number (HIN) stamped into the back of the transom.
When looking t a boat, check the fittings are all sturdy, ask if it leaks etc etc. Also check the wood under the deck that holds and supports the mast collar - it's a pain to replace! Check the mast step is solid in the hull too and there's no sinister cracks in the gel anywhere. Some older europes have been known to go soft - this is also reconcilable but could be costly and definitely a hassle worth avoiding.
Most if not all daggerboards do have some "shark bite" along the trailing edge - it's definitely not reason to discard a good boat. You will need to check that the board does fit the boat if it's not been sed before. Unfortunately not all boards are created equal and some are thicker than others.