Eighty-six teams line up for Finn European starting this weekend. Robert Deaves reports 20/9/06

The 2006 Finn European Championship opens in Palamós in Spain this weekend with a line-up of 86 Finn sailors from 28 countries. The pre-entries include former European Champions Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) and Luca Devoti (ITA) as well as current World Champion Jonas Hoegh-Christensen (DEN).

The recent Qingdao International Regatta highlighted the fact that most Finn sailors are still some way behind current Olympic champion, quadruple world champion and last year’s European Champion, Ben Ainslie. His 10 wins in 12 races in China stunned his fellow Finn sailors as well as the rest of the sailing world, but with a return to his America’s Cup team, the Finn fleet in Spain can breathe easy for a while, and try again to up their game.

As well as the Senior European Championship, the regatta also includes the Finn Junior European Championship. Between 19th and 21st, the junior sailors have access to a junior regatta and clinic to prepare them for the following week. This is a new initiative for the International Finn Class, setting the groundwork for next year?s Junior World Championship in Moscow.

The top contenders this year would have to include Hoegh-Christensen, Papathansiou and Rafael Trujillo (ESP), who will be sailing on home waters. The Athens Silver medallist was clearly the fastest in the breeze at this year?s Finn Gold Cup in Split, but a few bad results in light winds cost him dearly. If the breeze holds in Palamós he could prove hard to beat.

Other sailors who could pose a threat are Edward Wright (GBR) after an impressive bronze at the Gold Cup, Daniel Birgmark (SWE) who seems to improve every regatta and Ivan Kljakvic-Gaspic (CRO) who won a race at the Gold Cup and finished in 8th overall.

This year also sees some old faces back in the Finn. Luca Devoti won the Europeans back in 1997, the year they were held in Split. He hasn’t competitively raced a Finn since 2004, but after watching most of his 39 team mates compete in this year’s Gold Cup, has presumably decided he can do better!

The sole competitor from South America, Jorge Zarif (BRA), surprised everyone by winning a race in the 2004 Gold Cup. Now 22 years after representing Brazil in the Olympics (Long Beach in 1984) he is back again. Some people just can?t get enough of this class. There are also some new faces, among them former Laser sailor Brendan Casey (AUS), who jumped in at the deep end for the Qingdao International Regatta, and although only finishing in 12th, produced some good results in the mix.

Any one of 10 or so other sailors is capable of winning races, so the championship should be open and competitive. Other names to key an eye on are Gasper Vincec (SLO), Anthony Nossiter (AUS), Matt Howard (GBR), Chris Cook (CAN), Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Waclav Szukiel (POL), Guillaume Florent (FRA) and Johan Tillander (SWE).

The championship officially opens on Friday 22 September with measurement and registration. Nine races will be sailed between Monday 25 and Saturday 30 September to decide the 2006 Senior and Junior Finn Europeans Champions.


AUS Anthony Nossiter
AUS 228 Josh Beaver
AUS Brendan Casey
AUT 271 Florian Raudaschl
BAR 2 David Mcgregor
BRA 109 Jorge Zarif
CAN 115 Derek Mess
CAN 41 Chris Cook
CRO 16 Emil Tomasevic
CRO 25 Marin Misura
CRO 524 Ivan Kljakvic-Gaspic
CZE 1 Michael Maier
CZE 3 Rudolf Lidarik
CZE 52 Tomas Vika
CZE 9 Michal Hruby
DEN 2 Jonas Hoegh-Christensen
DEN 7 Soren Holm
ESP 1 Diego Fructuoso
ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo Villar
ESP 106 Ruben Serra Merckens
ESP 161 Miguel Fernandez Vasco
ESP 195 Mauricio Luque Diaz
ESP 196 Pablo Lopez Balden
ESP 260 Victor Serrano Conesa
ESP 295 Javier Moreno Pons
ESP 31 Francisco Javier Garcia Miura
ESP 310 Pablo Arrarte
ESP 696 Alvaro Florza Herra
ESP 836 Alberto Vadell Sabater
EST 7 Harles Liiv
FIN 216 Tapio Nirkko
FRA 73 Guillaume Florent
FRA 9 Ponsot Pierre-Alexis
FRA 972 Bruno Ismael
GBR 5 Henry Ayres
GBR 550 Matt Howard
GBR 589 Peter Davidson
GBR 625 Ed Greig
GBR 628 Nick Craig
GBR 634 Andrew Mills
GBR 8 Tim Carver
GBR 88 Mark Andrews
GBR 99 Henry Bagnall
GBR 111 Edward Wright
GER 174 Matthias Bohn
GRE 2 Gnafakis Irinaios
GRE 22 Gnafakis Kostantinos
GRE 7 Emilios Papathanasiou
GRE 8 Dragoutsis Alexandros
HUN 6 Gaszton Pal
HUN 8 Marton Beliczay
IRL 10 Aaron O?Grady
IRL 2 Guy O?Leary
ITA 1 Luca Devoti
ITA 101 Riccardo Cordovani
ITA 117 Giorgio Poggi
ITA 38 Claudio Bosetti
ITA 40 Marko Kolic
ITA 660 Davide Bortoletto
ITA 68 Piero Romeo
ITA 70 Francesco Lubrano
ITA 929 Marco Buglielli
NED 41 Karel Van Hellemond
NED 6 Stefan De Vries
NED 64 Wietze Zetzema
NED 80 Sander Willems
NED 804 Cees Scheurwater
NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma
NOR 1 Peer Moberg
POL 0 Piotr Kula
POL 1 Krzysztof Dabkowski
POL 12 Waclaw Szukiel
POL 45 Piotr Mazur
POL 7 Rafal Szukiel
POR 55 Jorge Pinheiro De Melo
POR 82 Rodrigo Quina
POR 83 Nuno Esprito Santo
RUS 5 Alex
SLO 5 Gasper Vincec
SWE 11 Daniel Birgmark
SWE 6 Bjorn Allansson
SWE 736 Johan Tillander
TUR 7 Akif Muslubas
UKR 21 Olexiy Borysov
USA 4 Zach Railey