Good start for Paine at Finn Europeans
Published on March 12th, 2018
Cádiz, Spain (March 12, 2018) – Nicholas Heiner (NED) takes the lead on the opening day of the 2018 Finn European Championships with Caleb Paine (USA) and Facundo Olezza (ARG) sharing second overall.
A three metre swell, left over from the storm that caused yesterday’s practice race to be abandoned, made for an interesting day in the Bay of Cádiz, but the light and patchy winds meant that only one race was completed, with the second race abandoned near the end of the first upwind.
Defending European Champion, Jonathan Lobert, from France, thought he should have been leading at the top mark, but Heiner emerged ahead to round just ahead with Andy Maloney, of New Zealand, overlapped with Lobert in third. Heiner maintained his lead downwind in the huge swells, while Paine moved up to second.
The right side paid on the second upwind with Olezza heading further right to move into a narrow lead at the top. However Heiner soon passed him downwind to lead into the finish with Paine crossing third. After racing, Olezza then picked up a one-point penalty for failing to sign out, so ended the day tied with the Rio 2016 bronze medalist.
“Quite tricky conditions today,” said Heiner. “Yesterday we had a massive storm and we had still a three metres swell so with the light wind there was lots happening with the sail and in the boat, with rocking going on with the wind changes, and it was really hard to see the pressure differences on the water. So I was just trying to play the fleet. But quite hard conditions out there.
“The left side was favoured for the first beat and after that it was the right side, but it was really just about keeping the eyes out of the boat and checking the extreme boats on either side to see how they were going.”
This is the Dutchman’s first event since the Finn Gold Cup on Lake Balaton in September 2017. He spent the last three months training in New Zealand.
“It’s been really good and I think the speed today showed we are quite fast, especially on the downwind. I was actually quite happy to have some decent starts and still have the racing skills.”
Josh Junior, from New Zealand, hasn’t sailed a major Finn event since the Rio Olympics, and has teamed up with Maloney for the 2020 campaign, both of them being coached by his former adversary, Andrew Murdoch.
“We are working really closely and Andy has learnt a bit from me and for me it’s great to have someone so close and competitive to train with,” shred Junior. “We are looking forward to having a good European season.”
On having Murdoch has coach, “It’s great. Obviously Doc was racing against me for the Olympics, but he is an extremely experienced racer and when it comes to big fleet sailing he’s one of the best in the world, so we are really lucky to have him here and he’s going to do the rest of the season.”
Maloney was pretty happy with his first day, “It was great to get back into a big fleet. Over the summer, Josh has fast tracked my development in the class, so I’ve got a lot to thank him for getting me in those positions on my first day of racing in the Finn fleet. So I think we are both going quick out there so it’s about starting well and getting back into big fleets.
“I am looking forward to sailing in a bit of everything and seeing how I go with the free pumping and that side of the boat. I think we are both just looking forward to getting out here. It’s been a pretty long build up with new boats and getting them ready, so we are just looking forward to racing.”
Defending champion Lobert, “It was a tricky day with big waves and light winds. The waves were much bigger then the wind. I had a wonderful start and was leading by miles on the left side of the course and I don’t know what happened but fifty metres before the top mark I suddenly lost all my lead, but then I managed to survive to finish fourth, so not too bad for a day like today.”
He said he made of a mess of the second start so was happy when the race was cancelled. “So tomorrow I will focus a little more on the start to escape from the big fleet.”
On the conditions ahead, “We love to race in big wind and big waves, so will be good fun on the water, so I am really looking forward to have some windy races.”
Three races are scheduled for tomorrow, with the forecast showing stronger winds and rain.
With 30 U23 sailors, it is the largest youth fleet at the Europeans for some time. 2015 Junior World Champion, Ondrej Teply, from Czech Republic leads from Joan Cardona Mendez, of Spain and Guillaume Boissard, of France.
Day One Results
1 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 1
2 USA 6 Caleb Paine 3
2 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 3
4 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 4
5 AUS 261 Oliver Tweddell 5
6 NZL 24 Josh Junior 6
7 TUR 21 Alican Kaynar 7
8 POL 17 Piotr Kula 8
9 GBR 11 Edward Wright 9
10 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 10
The Finn European Championship is being held March 12 to 17 in Cádiz, Spain. Competing from North American are Luke Muller (USA), Caleb Paine (USA), and Tom Ramshaw (CAN) amid the 97-boat fleet.