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Finn European Championship - Slovenian claims early lead

by Robert Deaves on 24 Jul 2013
Vasilij Zbogar - 2013 Finn European Championship Robert Deaves/Finn Class http://www.finnclass.org
At the 2013 Finn European Championship in Warnemünde, Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) is the early leader after three races were sailed on Tuesday. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is second after winning the first race while Andrew Murdoch (NZL) is third. Other races wins went to Deniss Karpak (EST) and Josh Junior (NZL).

The sailors patience from waiting onshore all day Monday paid off with three great races sailed on Tuesday. The first race was sailed in a reducing easterly, while the two afternoon races were sailed in a fantastic sea breeze that produced the great sailing conditions that has made Warnemünde famous with sailors worldwide.

Race one got under way at the fourth attempt after two postponements and one general recall. Five boats got pulled out on the final start, under black flag. Some thought the the left would pay with the building thermal, some gambled on the far right, and the spread of the fleet with 103 boats was quite incredible. Even a small shift at that distance provided some incredible leverage on the other side. However, it was from the middle left that the leaders emerged.

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) rounded ahead from Filippo Baldasaari (ITA) and Max Salminen (SWE). The wind was starting to go lighter and dropped to from 10 to 6-7 knots by the finish. Zbogar kept the lead downwind and even extended slightly but on the second beat Zsombor Berecz (HUN) moved ahead and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) closed the gap.

By the final top mark Berecz had pulled through to lead but it all changed again on the final downwind with Kljakovic Gaspic finding a way past both to win the race from Zbogar, Berecz and Thomas le Breton (FRA).


Race two took a long while to get going as the first attempt was abandoned as the fleet rounded the top mark following a series of major wind shifts. After a 30 minute wait the sea breeze stabilised and the fleet got away first time.

PRO, Rob Lamb (GBR) said, 'We had three really good fair races, the first was quite light compared to the second and third, and we abandoned the second race because of one shift on the beat and a bigger one on the first run making the race unfair. I am pleased I made that decision.'

The race two restart belonged to Denis Karpak (EST). Starting just down from the committee boat and tacking out to the right he controlled the race from start to finish. The wind was up to 12-14 knots making for perfect racing confirms. Second at the top mark was Peter McCoy (GBR) from Ed Wright (GBR).

While Karpak led throughout Wright moved up to second on the first downwind only to lose it to Pieter-Jan Postma on the second upwind. Karpak had a nice lead at the finish while Postma led Wright, Andrew Murdoch (NZL) and Josh Junior (NZL) across the finish.

Karpak again led round the top mark in race three but lost out downwind on the right and rounded the gate in fifth. Junior, Murdoch and Zbogar were to the left and gained places to round the gate ahead. Junior maintained his lead round the final top mark with Andrew Mills (GBR) working his way into third. Not much changed on the downwind to the finish except Jonathan Lobert (FRA) moved up to third, while Junior took an emphatic victory.

Lobert said of his day, 'Finally we have some racing. The first race was a little bit difficult because the wind was a bit up and down. So I was not sailing so well and I didn't managed to get the good pressure on the water so not so good race and then sea breeze came in and we had two good race sin about 15 knots which was good fun and slowly slowly I was improving so not too bad at the end of the day.

Kljakovic Gaspic, 'Not too bad today. The first race was a bullet which was a tricky race and light winds but I managed to pull it off quite good in the end. Second race we started again in super light wind and again I was in the front pack in the first few boats and then they decided to cancel the racing and we started all over again. In the end I am happy the race and the day and ready for tomorrow and let's see what going to happen.'


Karpak, 'It was a good three races today, great day. The second race was good for me, but was difficult. I was also fast ion the last one but no luck on the downwind, always on the wrong side. I was also good in the first one, but the left corner was not so good for me. The wind was changing so much, from the land breeze to the sea breeze. In the first race I went left, and everyone won from the right, but I am happy with today. Seventh after three races with 100 boats is not too bad.'

Zbogar, 'The day was quite hard, especially the beginning as the first race was so light. And very shift and I managed to play very good shifts up the first upwind and I finished second which is those conditions is extremely good. Then we had a pretty nice breeze, very strong. I had a problem in the second race. I was ahead of the fleet and the halyard block came off and the sail came down. I lost about 25 places, and I really struggled to come back. I managed to finish seventh so I got a countable results when I thought I wouldn't finish the race. And the last race as great. My downwinds are extremely good, and I was playing the waves very well. It was hard but it was a good day.

The championship is still one race behind but has three great races on the card. But for his halyard problem, Zbogar could have an even bigger lead. In this size fleet consistency will pay highly and he is finding his way through the shifts and sailing very well downwind. The double European Champion Kljakovic Gaspic is in second while class newcomer Murdoch is third.

It was a long day on the water but it was also a fantastic day's sailing. What the rest of the week will bring only time will tell as the forecasts do not make good reading. However the race team hope to catch up the schedule with three races planned for Wednesday.


Results after three races:

1 SLO 572 Vasilij Zbogar 11
2 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 16
3 NZL 16 Andrew Murdoch 23
4 GBR 11 Ed Wright 24
5 FRA 29 Thomas Le Breton 33
6 NZL 24 Josh Junior 34
7 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 34
8 TUR 21 Alicam Kaynar 34
9 GBR 88 Mark Andrews 36
10 SWE 33 Max Salminen Click here for full Finn Europeans website

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