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Finn European Championships wrap up in Athens

by Australian Sailing Team 18 May 17:16 PDT
2019 Finn Open European Championship © Robert Deaves

It was the day of reckoning in Athens at the 2019 Open Finn European Championship, with two European titles to decide and two places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games up for grabs.

While Australian Sailing Squad's Jake Lilley (QLD) and Jock Calvert (TAS) were out of contention for the medal race, there was still the chance for Jake Lilley to secure Australia a spot for Tokyo.

"It's a big day, because there's an Olympic nation spot on the line and we can steal a spot from the Europeans with a good race today. We still have our Oceania qualifiers later in the year but I am just going to put down a solid race and try and clutch one of those tickets early." Lilley said before the race.

But the day did not go as expected and despite the forecasts of wind in the morning, the sun beat down on a calm Saronic Gulf for most of the day making it another waiting game. The cut-off for the warning signal for the Final Race was 15.00 and at 14.30, with signs of wind further offshore, the race team moved position and set a course with a start at 14.55.

Inevitably this was a general recall, which was quickly turned around with a new warning signal at 14.57, with just three minutes left. This start got away cleanly, with a left shift soon after the start, but for Jake Lilley the race did not go to plan.

A 41stin the final race saw him drop four places into 19thoverall and out of reach of the Olympic qualification spots, which went to the USA and Greece in 11thand 13thplace. They join Brazil and Norway, who already secured their spots making the medal race, as the four nations that qualified for Tokyo 2020 this week.

"Yeah, it didn't go to plan at all. I got bounced out of the start and pushed the wrong way and lost so much it was hard to come back through," Jake Lilley explained after the race.

Six more places are available from the continental qualifiers starting with the World Cup in Enoshima in August and with the Oceania decider to be part of the 2019 Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne in December.

"Ultimately I sailed well this week and two races really let me down so we will go into detail on these points and continue to push hard. Overall it was a great event to be part of as 80+ Finn sailors on one course is always fun. I can't wait for the Worlds in Melbourne!"

Jock Calvert put in a strong final day and sailed his best race of the event finishing 24thand moving up two places to finish the regatta in overall 51st and ninth on the U23 ranking.

"I had my best race of the regatta today (Saturday), it's still a long way from where I want to be but it's good to have found a way to be moving in the right direction again. Our coach Rafa and I had a long chat this morning while we were postponed about what direction we need to go in, and how to arrive back to my best, so I have two weeks now before we race in Marseille and hopefully, I can take another step forward," Calvert reflected on the week.

"Unfortunately, we didn't qualify the country for the games here, but we still have the Oceania qualifiers, so the whole team will really keep pushing hard for the next few months as we aim to secure our spot in Tokyo at the Melbourne Gold Cup," Calvert said.

In the medal race, Olympic Champion Giles Scott (GB) secured his third European Finn title after holding off world champion Zsombor Berecz, from Hungary, on the final day of the Finn Open European Championship in Athens. America's Cup winner Andy Maloney, from New Zealand, took second overall, while Berecz took third and European Silver. Fifth placed Nicholas Heiner, from the Netherlands, took the European bronze medal while Joan Cardona, from Spain, won the U23 European title.

You can watch all the live converge again and follow the tracking through YouTube and SailRacer. All the links are on the event website.

84 sailors from 33 nations contested the 2019 Open Finn European Championship, which was hosted by the Hellenic Sailing Federation in Athens.

Australian Sailing Team results:

19th Jake Lilley 24, 29, 13, 36, 2, 9, 13, (53), 41 = 167 points
51st Jock Calvert 52, 36, 42, (BFD), 40, 55, 46, 43, 24 = 338 points

Full results available here.

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