British Finn sailors proved they are still the force to be reckoned with, even without Olympic gold medallist Ian Percy with three sailors lying in the top ten after the first two races of the Finn European Championships on Lake Garda in Italy
British Finn sailors proved they are still the force to be reckoned with, even without Olympic gold medallist Ian Percy with three sailors lying in the top ten after the first two races of the Finn European Championships on Lake Garda in Italy.
In difficult light and unsettled wind conditions, not considered typical of the brisk thermal breezes normally associated with the Lake, Percy’s former training partner Andrew ‘Bart Simpson emerged with an eighth and a fourth to lie in fifth place overall.
Defending European Junior Champion Charlie Cumbley suffered a disappointing first race when he was yellow flagged for excessive pumping and had to make a 720 degree turn which dropped him to a 39th place finish. His second race yielded a more encouraging 15th place.
Cumbley’s European Junior crown may be in safe hands for the moment as Briton Chris Brittle (Rutland) finished top Junior lying in 10th, while Ian Clingan – a relative newcomer to the class and vastly experienced Laser sailor – lies ninth after a 13th and a 10th.
Leader after the first day is Belgium’s Sebastien Godefroid who merits the top of the leaderboard slot solely by virtue of having won the second race. He is tied on points with Greece’s Emilios Papathansioo who also sailed to a sixth and a first for the day. Defending champion, Poland’s Mateusz Kuznierwic, lies second, also on seven points.
“It was not an easy day so we have to be relatively pleased with a solid start to the regatta. The races were very short and there were few opportunities to pass after the first lap, so starting was critical.” Commented Team GBR’s Olympic Finn class coach Davied Howlett. ” It is good to get three Brits up there in the top ten on Day 1.”
Meanwhile it was a long, hot and not very fulfilling day for most of the 138 girls competing at the Europe World Championships off Villamoura in Portugal. With the very modest early morning breeze fading to just a light, but reasonably consistent zephyr – 3-5 knots at most – it was day for the sharp minded light wind specialists and the opportunists.
Race winners in both fleets emerged from overnight standings in the 60’s. Holland’s Carolijn Brouwer now leads overall after taking third place in the only race which was completed today.
Britain’s brightest hope Debbie Winstanley (Largs) who lay 11th after the first day, had a nightmare as she was one of 7 girls disqualified for being OCS (on course side of the start line at the start gun). It was left to Kirsty Bonar (Rutland Water SC, Leicester) to land the best result for the British squad. She finished 11th in the yellow fleet race which was won by Nina Ramm-Schmiot, with world ranked No.1 Sari Multala taking third. ” Our girls struggled a bit today. It was very difficult. If you were not off the start line in the front rank and catch the first couple of shifts in wind direction the there was just no way of getting back into contention.” Explained Team GBR Europe Class coach Mark Barron.