by Craig Heydon
Australian sailors are preparing to take part in largest ever Finn European Championships, with 116 sailors from 29
Finn European Championship
countries making their way to Warnemunde, Germany, for the 2013 event.
Racing begins in Germany on Monday with three Australian sailors, Jake Lilley, Oliver Tweddell and Rob McMillan set to take part.
Lilley finished second at the 2013 Finn Silver Cup, the class’ Junior World Championship, in Italy last week, providing the Queensland teenager with a confidence boost ahead of the biggest Finn event he’s contested.
'The Junior Worlds was the perfect training for this regatta,' said Lilley. 'I learnt a lot from my mistakes and from the things I did well, and gained some increased confidence so I can’t wait to go racing.
'I’m feeling pretty excited for the Europeans, it’s my first European Championship and I can’t wait to see how I fare against the big boys,' he said. 'I’m fairly well trained and rested and coming off the back of a confidence boosting silver medal so I’m happy with where I’m right now.
'I had a few days off after the Junior Worlds and then got back into training,' said Lilley. 'Going from the flat waters of Brisbane and Lake Garda to the bigger waves of Warnemunde has been something to adjust to, training with Oliver and coach John Bertrand has been perfect for fast acclimatisation at the venue.'
Australia’s London 2012 Finn representative Brendan Casey won’t be competing in Germany but was impressed with Lilley’s recent performance at the Junior World Championship.
'Jake is rapidly gaining knowledge and experience and hopefully in a short time he’ll be recording podium finishes in the open Finn fleet,' said Casey. 'Jake’s a determined and talented young athlete and shows all the signs of becoming a great sailor.'
Oliver Tweddell returns to racing after taking some time off to recover from an arm injury and is looking forward to getting back into action.
'I’m quite excited to be racing here at the European Championships, with a record entry of 116 boats it certainly promises to be an interesting regatta,' said Tweddell. 'The fleet here will give a good indication as to where everyone is at and I look forward to racing in the big fleet.
'My preparations for this event have been going well, I’ve been in Warnemunde for 10 days now and have settled in quite nicely,' he said. 'The conditions seem to be very similar to back at home on Port Phillip Bay so hopefully that will help out.
'I spent some time back home resting and recovering after the EUROSAF regatta in Holland and also spending some time catching up with family and friends,' said Tweddell. 'That little break has left me mentally refreshed and physically ready for the challenges ahead at the Europeans and then the World Championships
Racing begins at the 2013 Finn European Championships on Monday 22 July and continues until Saturday 27 July.
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