Light Winds Open Finn Europeans
Published on March 7th, 2016
Barcelona, Spain (March 7, 2016) – Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) is the early leader at the Finn Europeans after winning the opening race in tricky light winds in Barcelona. The 2012 European Champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) is second and the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) is in third. The second race was abandoned at the top mark as the wind began to shut down for the day.
The morning weather briefing proved to be largely correct when it suggested that an onshore breeze could develop late morning and then disappear towards evening. The fleet were held on shore under AP for an while before being let out of the harbour.
After one general recall the fleet got going with one boat pulled out under the black flag. Fittingly it was defending European Champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) who led round the top mark from Mitakis and Deniss Karpak (EST). However his lead didn’t last long. Mikakis explained, “I had a good start and played the left side of the fleet and passed the first mark in second. I made a good move on the downwind so I was first at the gate.”
It all changed on the second upwind with Vujasinovic taking the lead. Mitakis continued “The wind went light and it was tricky for me, and for everyone else, on the second upwind. On the last downwind I had a really good fight with Jonas and Zombi [Zsombor Berecz (HUN)] but I managed to finished second so it was a really good start to the Europeans.”
The second race also started after one general recall under black flag but it didn’t get further than the top mark. Caleb Paine (USA) led into the mark from Karpak and Zach Raley (USA) but before they could get there the race was abandoned as the wind had fallen consistently under five knots. With time and light running out the fleet was sent home.
Second placed Høgh-Christensen said, “It’s a good start to the regatta and I am very happy to come away with third. It was very close race between the top four guys and we were battling it out right to the finish line and it’s always good when you can do that after 75 minutes of racing.”
Race winner and leader after the first day, Vujasinovic said, “It was a very shifty and light wind. I had a good start and was consistently in the top and focussed on sailing and I think in the end consistency and patience paid. I just focussed on the small things, technique, keeping calm and adjusting to the conditions on the water.”
In a change to the Croatian Olympic selection he said, “Our selection will now just be on the Worlds between me and Kljakovic Gaspic so this is just a training regatta for us. At the Worlds I will do the best I can and then we will see.”
The Junior World Champion Ondrej Teply (CZE) is leading the Junior Europeans from Facundo Olezza (ARG) and defending Junior European Champion Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS).
Racing continues Tuesday with forecasts of more light winds to come
Results after Day 1
1 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 1
2 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 2
3 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 3
4 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 4
5 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 5
6 CRO 52 Nenad Bugarin 6
7 ESP 17 Pablo Guitian Sarria 7
8 NZL 24 Josh Junior 8
9 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 9
10 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 1
Schedule: The Finn Europeans plans for a 10-race series on March 7-12 that culminates in the medal race for the top 10 after the 10th race on March 12.
USA Olympic Selection: This is the final event for USA which has a points-based system that uses the final finishing position in Sailing World Cup Miami and the Finn Europeans. After Miami, Zach Railey is one point ahead of Caleb Paine and nine points ahead of Luke Muller. Full details.
Report by Robert Deaves.