Jonas Hoegh-Christensen leads after opening day of Finn Europeans in Palamos 26/9/06

The 2006 Finn European Championship was declared open last Sunday in Palamos. This is the first major Finn championship staged in Palamos after the Finn Gold Cup in 1977. Twenty nine years ago, the event was dominated by two of the best Spanish sailors, Joaquin Blanco who took the title and Jose-Luis Doreste in second place.

Sixty nine sailors from 22 countries have come to Palamos to contest for the European Championship titles in the Senior and Junior divisions.
Ben Ainslie, busy with America’s Cup commitments, and Ivan Klakovitch Gaspic (CRO) now 22 years old, will not be defending their title.

Sunshine and steady breeze welcomed the sailors on the first day of racing yesterday. The first race was started in a 14-16 knots northerly wind after a clear start. Australian and French sailors dominated the front of the fleet on the triangular course. The Oscar flag was raised allowing free kinetics until the last upwind to the finish when the wind dropped under 10 knots. Some of the leaders dropped back a few places. Guillaume Florent (FRA) maintained his lead to win the first race of the championship, in front of Ed Wright (GBR) and Anthony Nossiter (AUS).

The first race finished just on time, allowing the wind to operate a radical rotation. The racing committee had to reset the course to the new direction and the second race started on a triangular course and under Oscar flag. Rafael Trujillo was obviously more familiar with the new wind configuration, leading the fleet from start to finish: “I have never performed well in a European Championship”, declared the Athens Silver medallist before the regatta,”I won medals at world and Olympic regattas, but never at Europeans!” This victory on the first day is probably the first step to better results at Europeans. Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN) took the second place in front of Gasper Vincec (SLO).

Strong from winning the 2006 World Championship, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen is leading the overall scoreboard with 7 points. Ed Wright is second on equal points (8) with Gasper Vincec. Regatta favourite Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) had to withdraw soon after the start of the first race. “My knee is hurting and after such a long season it might be better to rest and recover.”

Mark Andrews, scored the best results in the 10 boats Junior division with a 25th and a 22nd. He is in 26th position overall. Piotr Kula (POL) is the second Junior in front of Andrew Mills (GBR).

Two races are scheduled for today.