Finnwelle

ESP

04.03.16 - 12.03.16

Finn Europameisterschaft Barcelona

2,80

Barcelona International Sailing Center
Moll de la vela Parc del Forum, 08930 Sant Adria de Besas, Barcelona
Telefon 0034 93 356 38 58
E-Mail: bisc[at]ufec.cat

http://2016.finneuropeans.org

 

 

IFA-Reports - Europameisterschaft 2016

Postma finally clinches major Finn title with European Championship win
12.03.2016

Something different happened today in Barcelona. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) managed to maintain his overnight lead and win the 2016 Finn European Championship. Probably the most popular person in the fleet, if not in the sport of sailing, this is an extremely popular win in the class and one that is long overdue. He held it together in the stressful medal race to take home the gold. There were great performances and results also for Zsombor Berecz (HUN) who took the silver, and Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) who won the bronze. The final day's racing was a fitting end to a testing week in Barcelona.

First up was the final race to not only decide the top 10 for the medal race but also the very tight US Olympic selection. The race was brought forward to 9.30 to try and use the early morning breeze, which was timed to perfection as the breeze died as the fleet crossed the finish line.

As usual it took one general recall before the fleet got away, but the start under the black flag got away cleanly. The right side was favoured with Vujasinovic tacking right at the boat end of the line and leading round the top, never to be headed, for his second race win the of the week. Caleb Paine (USA) rounded second with Piotr Kula (POL) in third. A number of the top sailors were deep, including second overall Josh Junior (NZL). Paine's main adversary Zach Railey (USA) was also deep and it looked like it was game over for the US selection.

The fleet closed on Vujasinovic on the final downwind as the breeze almost vanished, but there was just enough to push them across the finish and for the whole fleet to finish. Kula had moved up to second while Tom Ramshaw (CAN) ended an excellent week with a third. Paine crossed in seventh to secure the US berth in Rio, while Railey, who had chosen the wrong side of the first upwind was still mid fleet.

Finishing in 16th overall, Ondrej Teply (CZE) adds the Junior European title to the Junior World title he won last year. Philip Kasueke (GER) took the silver medal in 30th place overall, while the bronze went to Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) in 34th overall.

Regatta leader Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) placed seventh to keep his first title hopes alive, though Vujasinovic was now up to second with Berecz in third. Any one of them could win the gold.

They all kept everyone guessing right to the end of the medal race. Postma held the early advantage and then ducked two boats at the top to round in third. Then on the downwind he let Vujasinovic split gybes to chase a puff which never arrived. When they came back at the gate the Croatian was up to second and Postma was down to seventh. It was a long way from over. Berecz then moved up to second on the final upwind, so the final downwind to the finish would be decisive. Though there was a nice sea breeze in place it was under 10 knots so they all had to be careful.

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) had rounded the last mark in the lead and went on to win the race. A second from Berecz was enough to pass Vujasinovic and take the silver. Vujasinovic crossed in fifth to take the bronze and with Postma recovering to sixth, the gold was his, finally.

Vujasinovic described his week, “It turned out well for me. It's my first medal in an Olympic class. I believe I had a pretty consistent week, except for one bad race, but everyone had one bad race apart from the Hungarian. I did a really good regatta. I stayed calm, I looked out for the small things around the course. It could have been even better than this but I am really happy with the bronze.”

“We've had a very good competition this week. It was just a training regatta for me but as it turned out, it was a very good training regatta.” Vujasinovic and Berecz train at the Dinghy Academy in Valencia. “Having two Dinghy Academy sailors on the podium is very good for us and I think our head coach Luca Devoti will be very happy with that.”

Berecz said, “We have a great week of sailing here and I am really happy I was one of the more consistent sailors during the week. It means that we are on the good way to Rio and we will keep working in the same way. There were 90 boats here and a really great thing about the Finn class is that everyone starts together which is very intense, and you have to make all the right decisions. It was close racing, every race was close, no one won by a huge margin. So it was really nice sailing.”

“When I started Finn sailing I asked Gyorgy Finaczy, who was the only other Hungarian to win a medal at the Europeans, a bronze in 1971, if I could use his sail number, HUN 40. He was really happy to give it to me, so I am very proud to win a silver medal with his number.”

Postma has never managed to convert a strong position into a major championship win. He has now overcome that at just the right time as he heads into Rio with the European title around his neck. “It was awesome. A very sold week, but a very light and shifty week. They were not really my conditions but we trained a lot for it. This is the bottom range for Rio and I had really good series. Great starts, good tactics, great strategy.”

“In the medal race I had a good start. I had Milan on the back of me and I had an awesome upwind and was second at the top and then downwind I let him go too far and he gained a lot and came in ahead of me. That was not the plan. So I had to catch him him up on the second beat.”

“It was very stressful after I lost control. Milan is an amazing sailor, as is Zsombor. The level is super high and I made one mistake and they directly went for it. To win in Rio you need more experience like that. With this win every step gets closer. So it will be a fight in Rio. I definitely want to do better in Rio. We still have a lot of work to do but it's going well. Also thanks to my training partner Josh Junior (NZL) we keep improving and we'll be ready.”

On his success and failures, “There have been some upsets. In the last Olympics I had a medal in my hands and I let it go. But it's a process of experience and more and more experience counts. But this is big one for me I am really happy with this.”

Final results (medal race in brackets)

1 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 38 (6)
2 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 46 (2)
3 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 47 (5)
4 NZL 24 Josh Junior 66 (4)
5 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 73 (9)
6 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 76 (1)
7 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 88 (3)
8 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 95 (8)
9 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 97 (10)
10 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 99 (7)

Full results: http://2016.finneuropeans.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall

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Mixed fortunes and high drama as Pieter-Jan Postma leads into deciding day at Finn Europeans in Barcelona

11.03.2016

Day five at the Finn Europeans had it all. Anticipation, excitement, disappointment and high drama. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) takes the overall lead for the first time and goes into the final day with a ten point lead over his training partner Josh Junior (NZL). Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) is back up to third.

Though the forecast was for a weak wind again, most of the sailors expected a nice sea breeze to come in later in the day and after a brief postponement the fleet was sent out for two races in a 6-9 knot wind that provided tricky racing and lot of mixed fortunes.

Egor Terpigorev (RUS) showed up at the the front of the fleet for the first time, leading round the top mark in Race 5 from Ben Cornish (GBR) and Postma. Cornish had a narrow lead at the gate but Postma led at the end of the next upwind to set up an exciting final leg.

Cornish explained, “I got off the start quite well and got in phase with the shifts. Then the top five or six managed to break away from the fleet and we had some really close battles. It was just a case of getting it right on the last downwind. We managed to push out to the left and the wave direction was making it easy for me to gain. I felt as if I had control out there and the last reach to the finish was really exciting. As it happened PJ and I ended up neck and neck on the line and I just managed to get the last wave across the line.” Terpigorev sailed a great race to cross in third.

With the breeze still looking good, Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) led round the top in Race 6 from Postma and Ondrej Teply (CZE). The Greek sailor held the lead until the final downwind when with the leaders well split and the wind starting to turn patchy, it was anyone's race. Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) came in with the best pressure to slip round the final mark ahead of Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and Mitakis. A sixth place for Postma was enough to retain the championship lead he had gained after the first race of the day.

Høgh-Christensen said, “The first race was super tricky. I had a bad start and the wind went left and I thought it was going to go right so I rounded in about 70 something and caught back up to 29th. The second race was much better for me. I had a good start and worked the left side of the course and came up to the first mark in fourth and I think I rounded the bottom in third. I was second at the top and ended up winning the race, so that was super.”

“They were really tricky conditions. I think there were two seas breezes fighting each other and it could go hard right or it could go left, so it was really hard to call which way it would go. I didn't get it right in the first but I did in the second.”

“The fleet here is very strong here are only a few guys missing, and people are fighting hard. It's a high scoring regatta but I'll keep on fighting.”

Cornish drops from third to fifth after a bad second race. “It was a day of two halves. To sum the week up in one word it's been difficult. The breeze has been far from simple. The gains have come in from the sides, so you really have to make sure you are 100 per cent aware of what is going to happen next. And I definitely wasn't aware in the last race, but you can't get it right all the time I guess.”

Of his expectations he said, “A top 10 would be a realistic finish for me. I finished just outside that in New Zealand at the Gold Cup and I was bit disappointed with that as I threw a bit away on the last day. I just want to put together a series that will leave me in touch with the front of the fleet.”

Also added to the mix today was the penultimate day of the US Olympic selection trials. Zach Railey (USA) and Caleb Paine (USA) were neck and neck and locked together all through Race 5, but after the discard came into effect, Paine had a ten points lead. Then in Race 6, Railey got the perfect start at the pin and looked to have the advantage.

However a poor second beat from him and a great one from Paine left them only a few boats apart at the final top mark. Then Railey got a yellow flag and on the last run they started jousting and it looked like something was going to happen. Railey then introduced a mark trap on Paine and prevented him from rounding letting about 50 boats sail past. By dragging Paine back through the fleet, Railey had forced them to both count their discards. This moved Railey back into a 10 point lead over Paine.

They ended up in the protest room so results are still provisional.

Overall leader Postma was happy to be in the lead but also mulling over the missed opportunities to be even further ahead. “It was super tricky, and very hard racing but it's going well. I am winning and my training partner Josh Junior is second, so I am very happy with that.”

On the final day he said, “In a 100 boat fleet you have a put in a good race again. You cannot play it safe. Of course I will keep an eye on which corner JJ [Junior] goes but there are other guys also in the hunt. I'll just try for a great start and play the beat and I'm looking forward to it.”

The championships will draw to close on Saturday with the final fleet race for everyone, with the warning signal time brought forward to 09.30 to make the best of the morning wind. When that has been sailed, the medal race for the top ten will be sailed as soon as possible.

Live coverage

The 2016 Finn European Championship last race (fleet race or medal race) will be broadcast live on Saturday 12th of March on:

youtu.be/RDTnjvcib8w

Tomorrow (Saturday, 12th of March) the final race is scheduled at 09.30 to make the most of the morning wind. After completion of the final race, the fleet will come back to shore. After protest time limit, the top 10 will race the Medal Race. No races will be started after 17.00.

It is the intention to have a Medal Race after the final fleet race. In this case the Medal Race will be broadcast live. If the final race can only be scheduled in the afternoon after 14.00, this would prevent the Medal Race from occurring. In this case the final race will be broadcast live. In both cases, it is expected that the live racing will not happen before 13.00.

Keep updated with announcements throughout the day with Twitter and Facebook.
 

Results after six races (1 discard)

1 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 18
2 NZL 24 Josh Junior 28
3 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 36
4 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 38
5 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 50
6 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 54
7 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 54
8 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 64
9 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 66
10 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 66

Full results: http://2016.finneuropeans.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall

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Zach Railey talks on his third Olympic Finn campaign

11.03.2016

There are many stories coming out of the Open Finn Europeans in Barcelona this week, but one of the more absorbing is that of the US Finn trials, which will reach a conclusion by the end of the event. The two favourites are Zach Railey and Caleb Paine, currently in 12th and 21st overall, with just two days to sail.

Railey has been to the Olympics twice before, picking up a silver medal on his debut in 2008, followed by a 12th in 2012. After pursuing a career in the family business, he returned to the campaign trail late in 2015 and has been catching up ever since.

The US Olympic selection is based on the results from the Sailing World Cup Miami and this week's Europeans. They finished one place apart in Miami, so whoever comes out on top in Barcelona will likely win the American berth in Rio. The younger and less experienced Paine has been campaigning the Finn since 2010 and has put in a huge effort to be here challenging for the US spot.

For Railey, success this week means he will carry on until the Olympic Games in August. Failure means this would very likely be his last Finn regatta. Not knowing which way the week would go he bought a one-way ticket to Europe. “If I don't qualify this week there is no more sailing. The plan is if I qualify we're going to drive to the ferry in Barcelona on the 13th and we go to Palma. And if I don't qualify then the boys are going to drive me to the airport on the way to the ferry, throw me off at the curb and then they are going to Palma and say 'see you later, good luck, have fun in the real world Zach.'”

Railey has put together a late campaign for Rio and knew it was going to be tough. He has also lost 26 kg of corporate hospitality bodyweight in the process. “I have been sailing for a little over six months now and we've put together a really good training group. I feel really good about what we have done. I knew it was going to be incredibly hard, but we had a really good group of people, and we've all been working really, really hard. And the results showed in Miami and I'm hoping that the results will show here.”

After London he decided his life needed a change in direction. “I am almost 32 years old and I have to have a life after the Olympics and that was important to me and important to my family. We have a family business at home and my dad is almost 70 and he's looking to not work as much, as he deserves. My sister Paige and I have been sailing our entire lives. Paige's twin sister Brooke has been at home helping run the business and has dedicated the best part of 15 years to making sure she keeps everything at home together for Paige and I and that's a huge commitment from her.”

“When I was 28 years old I had to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of my life so I took a few years off to figure that out, and now I love the business world. I love the competitive side of the business world. I am a very competitive person. I don't like to lose. It doesn't matter what it is. We can play a board game, I don't want to lose the board game. I hate losing. And I hate not reaching my goals.”

“So when I got into the business world, I found there's goals there too, there's things you can obtain, and obviously there's money to be made. There's employees and business growth, there's competition against other people who are selling the same products as you. And you are trying to beat that competition, so it's just like sailing or athletics, but you are not on race course racing in your boat. And of course I miss that side of it and I really missed sailing.”

“That was the draw to come back. I miss being in the boat and I enjoy being out on the water. There was the right group of guys that were coming back sailing and that was very important to me.”

That group included London 2012 Silver medalist Jonas Høgh-Christensen from Denmark and Ed Wright from Great Britain. “My history with Jonas is very well known. We have known each other since Optimists and we've been friends since we were 11 years old. We have gone to two Olympics together and have each been very successful in individual Olympics, so when I got that phone call that he was going to give it another go, then there was a bit of peer pressure to get out of the office a bit more. And it's been really good and a lot of fun.”

He says his result in London was disappointing and there is a desire to try again. "Obviously I want to qualify to go to the Games, but part of high level athletics, high level business, and high level anything is that success is not guaranteed.”

“A lot of people don't like to embrace the fact that failure is something that happens, especially when you are trying to achieve really high goals. I think as I have gotten older I am been able to embrace that a little bit more and just accept that's it's part of the process and just worry about what you can control. And in the end you're going to win or you're going to lose and you'll see what happens at the end of the presentation, or the end of the competition.”

“And all you can do it put your best foot forward and see what happens."

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Poor conditions halt racing on fourth day at Finn Europeans

10.03.2016

The Open Finn European Championships stalled on the fourth day with no more races on the board despite spending four hours on the water trying. With two days to go and a maximum of four fleet races and the medal race to go Josh Junior (NZL) leads from Zsombor Berecz (HUN) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) in the 90 boat fleet.

The fleet was held onshore for two hours before being sent out in what looked like a promising breeze. Three attempts at a start were made, with five boats receiving a black flag penalty before the wind flipped 90 degrees and new breeze tried to fill in. At moments it looked quite nice but it never stabilised for long enough to keep the PRO happy enough to send the fleet away. After two hours of waiting, in what was now a huge swell going up the course, he sent the fleet ashore.

With the championship now three races behind schedule, a maximum of three can be sailed Friday, followed by the final fleet race and the medal race on Saturday. The forecast is for more light winds, but each day here has been different so the sailors are keeping fingers, toes and everything else crossed in the hope the wind will finally show up. Those who like the adage, 'It is never normally like this here' can take comfort from the fact that some locals are saying this is the worst week of wind that Barcelona has experienced since September last year.

The championship is safe after four races. One more race is required to bring in the discard, which a lot of sailors are really hoping for. The scheduled first warning signal on Friday is 12.00.

Results after four races

1 NZL 24 Josh Junior 20
2 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 29
3 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 43
4 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 49
5 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 51
6 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 55
7 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 60
8 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 65
9 GBR 11 Ed Wright 66
10 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 73

Full results: http://2016.finneuropeans.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall
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British youngster Callum Dixon mixing with big names at first international Finn event

10.03.2016

Sixteen year old Callum Dixon from Great Britain is sailing his first overseas event in the Finn at the Open Finn Europeans in Barcelona this week, and is revelling in the experience of big fleets, big names and big races.

It's just over a year since he first got into the Finn, moving out of Lasers as, even at aged sixteen he was just too big. He towers over most of the seniors here and weighing in at well over 100kg the Laser was no longer a viable option. He says he is trying to lose weight to become more competitive in the Finn.

One of the biggest attractions to the Finn for him is the physicality of the boat. “It's definitely one of the toughest boats I have ever been in, physically speaking. The hiking position is very different, you have to use your legs and your core, and downwind as soon as the free pumping flag is up it's about who is the strongest to go as fast as you can. So it's really, really tough racing.”

In Tuesday's second race he came up against one of the true legends of the class. He described how the race evolved. “I had a good start and an all right first beat and then coming down on the last run it was free pumping so we were were allowed to do whatever we like and Henry Sprague [from the USA] and I went round the windward mark together.”

Sprague was world champion in 1974 and, at age 70, is currently competing in the US Olympic trials in Barcelona, where he is lying third overall. He is well aware of the fact that if, for some reason, he wins the trials, he would be the oldest sailing Olympian ever. He is proof that Finn sailing really is a sport for life and credits his enthusiasm for the class in keeping him fit and strong. He has had a personal trainer for 15 years helping him condition his body for Finn sailing.

Dixon continued, “Then Henry went to the right and I went to the left and I was really pumping quite hard to get in front of him, but we got the leeward mark at the same time, which is quite impressive if you go in opposite directions. As we rounded the leeward mark together he got round the back of me, and on top and then we had an incredibly tough fight all the way to the finish and it was really close.”

The breeze was up to 15-16 knots at this stage at the end of a gruelling 75 minute race. It was so exhausting he just collapsed in his boat after the finish to recover and catch his breath. “I was trying so hard downwind and was just flat out, so I was just dead.” Dixon pipped Sprague on the line by a boatlength.

“I was out in Valencia training at the Dinghy Academy with Luca recently and Henry was also out there training for this event, so I knew who he was. He's a really nice guy. It's quite funny, but he's really impressive as he can still hike as hard as the rest of us, which is slightly insane at the age of 70.” How many sports, or classes, can a 16 year old and a 70 year old compete on equal terms?

Dixon has dreams of sailing and campaigning the Finn long term but admits he has a lot of learning to do first. “This week the goal is to get experience and get used to the boat more in big fleets because it is quite hard to get really big fleet experience at home, so to come here and race against 90 other Finns is just great.”

“I came up through Toppers and all the British Topper squads and then the Laser and I got into a few of the squads but not all of them because I was still quite young. I won a few of the age categories, under 14s, at the Laser nationals which was quite cool, but nothing major.”

“I'd like to be in the Finn long term. Perhaps go down to Weymouth and try to get in the squad and train with all the top guys, but that may be three or four years away as they are all a lot older than me.”

What has he learned so far this week? “It's back to the basics. Clean air off the start line, clean air up the beat, so you can round windward mark in a good position, and then you just have to hold it. So clean air is the biggest lesson.”

Dixon is currently 59th in the event after picking up a credit worthy 21st in the only race on Wednesday. “The Finn is great. I absolutely love it and it's an amazing boat to sail.”

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Ben Cornish wins only race in Barcelona but Josh Junior takes lead

09.03.2016

Ben Cornish (GBR) won the only race possible on the third day at the Open Finn Europeans in Barcelona, steeling the win from the race leader from the first mark, Jorge Zarif (BRA). With many of the leaders having a bad day, Zsombor Berecz (HUN) is up to second overall and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) is up to third.

The forecasts for today were as varied as the flip of a coin, with a range of strengths and directions on the cards. It was also a bitterly cold day with a light rain soon after the fleet launched at 12.00. The strength and direction of the wind caused problems starting a race and the one that did get away suffered from many shifts, the first one being pretty damaging to those at the boat end of the line.

Zarif led at the top from Cornish and Postma and looked to have the race sealed up, building a nice lead. There was no change at the gate or the second top mark, but on the final downwind, Zarif and Cornish split gybes and when they came back together the Brazilian's lead had vanished.

Cornish said, “We had a really close battle. We split at the top and half way down we came back together and it was neck and neck all the way to the bottom. I just managed to push for the left hand side to get the overlap coming into the mark, which seemed to put me in the right place to get ahead.”

“It was a really hard day, with massive shifts coming off the shore and quite a lot of pin bias. The key was working out what would be best. As it turned out the pin bias put the people on the left ahead when the shift came back in and then it was a case of sailing the shifts up the middle of the course and trying to get in front of the people behind you.”

Cornish moves up to fourth overall. “It's still pretty early in the event. I'll just play it day by day and see how it ends. It looks like it is going to be tricky for the rest of the week, that's for sure. Today was supposed to be one of the more hopeful days for the breeze. We just have to hope it gets warm and we get a sea breeze.”

Second overall Berecz is one of the few consistent sailors so far this week. “I think it's just self-discipline. I did not go after the others to win the race, holding on to fourth place across the line was enough for me.”

“I had a bad start, so I had to get myself out of there, but I then found a very good line, and I just kept my position from there sailed with the others.”

Junior reflected on his race, “It was a really tough race. Just after the start the breeze shifted left, probably about 20 degrees. Luckily I was down near the pin and managed to tack over get away. So I am pretty happy to get a fifth out of that because it was a day you could easily come away with a 40th or 50th, as some of the guys did. I may be in the lead for now, but we are only four races in, and another six to go before the medal race. We'll see how it all stands then.”

Ondrej Teply (CZE) consolidated his lead in the Junior championship, though he said he was not happy how he was sailing so far. “So far this regatta is not going so well for me. OK, I am winning the Juniors but my results are nothing special and the conditions here are not so easy, especially for juniors because it is quite shifty and tricky and the more experienced sailors are getting an advantage from this.”

“Today's racing was super shifty and very cold. It was not a very nice day for sailing. Usually I try and stay in the middle but it's not a good strategy here because always the sides are paying. Today after the start I was on the right side and it came from the left and I couldn't cross and I got to the first mark about 60th, so then it's difficult to catch up.”

Behind Teply, the defending champion Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) has moved up to second with Phillip Kasueske (GER) in third.

Racing continues Thursday, but now the championship is two races behind schedule. One more race is needed to be able to get a discard and to sail the medal race. After many sailors have discarded today's race result, the landscape could change significantly.

Results after four races

1 NZL 24 Josh Junior 20
2 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 29
3 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 43
4 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 49
5 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 51
6 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 55
7 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 60
8 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 65
9 GBR 11 Ed Wright 66
10 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 73
 
Full results: http://2016.finneuropeans.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall

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Canadian hopeful Tom Ramshaw loving the physical side of Finn sailing

09.03.2016

One of the nations qualified for Rio but which has not yet selected a sailor is Canada. There are two hopeful Canadians competing at the Finn European Championship in Barcelona this week, looking to impress the selectors and win a ticket to Rio.

While Martin Robitaille has been in the class for many years, including winning the 2012 Junior World Championship, this event is Tom Ramshaw's first season after just stepping into the boat in August last year.

He explains, “I was taking a break from the Laser and some of the Finn guys that are not here this week suggested I try the Finn at CORK which was the North Americans. So I tried that, had a good time, and ended up wining. So it was like, I have to continue as it was so much fun.”

He says in the Laser class he was consistently in the gold fleet, some top 20 finishes in Miami and a few podiums at CORK, but nothing very spectacular.

He always had problems staying down to weight for the Laser. “I am almost the right size for the Finn, maybe a little short, but putting on the weight was pretty easy. In the Laser I really struggled to stay down. I was on the heavy end of the spectrum and so it is a pleasure to be able to eat properly again. Also I like going to the gym, so it was good to be in the gym again instead of cycling and running all the time.”

But now the Rio dream is a real possibility. “Our trials are on a selection basis but there are certain criteria that they'd like us to meet. Because Canada has qualified in a lot of classes through the regional qualifiers, they are not going to be able to send all of them because in a lot of classes they are not competitive in the internationals fleets."

“So I just have to prove I am competitive in fleets like at the Europeans and Gold Cup. It's pretty much down to me and Martin now. We are staying together here and we get on well. We're competitive, but I am not so worried about beating him, but just focussing on getting good results at regattas. If he sails well that's great but I am just trying to beat as many boats as I can.”

His first major Finn event was the Sailing World Cup Miami. “I wasn't really putting together full races. I always seemed to be having comebacks and then on the last day it was shifty offshore and that's always appealed to me growing up sailing on lakes. I had a good last day moving up from maybe 20th to 13th, so it was nice way to finish the regatta on a good note. But my goal was really to make the medal race. I wasn't too far off but I wasn't going to make it on the last day even if I made two firsts.”

On his long term goals he said, “When I was in the Laser I was thinking about going until 2016. I was a little burnt out, but as soon as when I decided to switch to the Finn there was a decision for a five year commitment through to 2020. It would be a little ridiculous to just sail for a year and go to the Games, so I'd rather have a better goal of reaching the podium and a successful full campaign for 2020, but to go in 2016 would be awesome.”

He says he is loving Finn sailing more than he could have imagined, especially the physical side. “I love it. It's more physical. The more physical you are the faster you go and that really appeals to me. I wasn't sure whether I was going to like all the tuning and the different types of rig but it's a variation, but now I enjoy tweaking with it and am learning a lot.”

“I don't have much time and I don't have a big a budget as some people, so I am trying work with what I have got. I am looking to get a new boat soon as well as I am using a charter boat here. When I am going slow I try not to think about whether it's something in the rig, I try and make it go fast. But I have been pretty fast and I am have been happy with how it's been going.”

After three races, Ramshaw is lying 14th to Robitaille's 45th. But there is still a long way to go.

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Vujasinovic extends Finn European lead as wind arrives in Barcelona

08.03.2016

Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) capitalised on his first day victory at the Finn European Championship today with two great races to extend his lead to eight points after two more races. Josh Junior (NZL) is up to second with Zsombor Berecz (HUN) in third. Race wins went to Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and Junior in what turned out to be a windier day than expected.

The day started with another delay to wait for the wind, but when it started filing in it kept building to 13-15 knots during the day for some great, if shifty, racing in the waters off Barcelona, which combined with a huge swell, made for an interesting day.

Postma stole the first race after moving into the lead on the last wave before the final mark. Filippo Baldassari (ITA) had led the entire race, rounding the top mark from Henry Sprague (USA) and Tom Ramshaw (CAN). On his bottom mark move Postma said, “There's always a plan. Filippo was on the right and Caleb [Paine (USA)] was on the left so I pushed Filippo a little bit up and he was gone and then I made a move to go to the left of Caleb, so he gybed, and then I caught a wave and I passed. It was nice, very satisfying.”

“It was a good racing. I was very happy with the starts, but still you have to be really open. Everything can happen here. It is tight racing and it's shifty. Sometimes it was shifting 20-30 degrees and there's win, lose, win, lose going on all the time”

The second race was owned by Junior whose exceptional offwind speed in these conditions gave him the lead on the first downwind. “It was a really epic day and nice to win one. I just had a good start, sailed up the middle of the course, rounded the top mark in the top 10 and I was going really quick downwind so managed to get up to first and held on from there.”

“Today ended up being an awesome sailing breeze. We had 12 to 14 knots and the waves got up really big and choppy so it was fun downwind.”

Vujasinovic had led round the top mark from Paine, but got passed downwind, while Paine capsized in the increasingly challenging conditions. Zach Railey (USA) was second at the gate behind Junior, but ended up third after gioing wide down the final run and letting Vujasinovic through for second.

Paine and Railey are engrossed in their final Olympic selection trials here. Paine had the better day to claw back some advantage after a disastrous day on Monday. “I had a much better day. In the first race I had a nice little lefty but on the downwind I messed up the gybe with PJ, but second place is still good.”

“I was able to see a couple of shifts that helped me out in the first race and the second was basically just pure boat speed, but unfortunately I flipped at the top while in second, so I dropped a little bit, but all in all a better day that the day before.”

On his Olympic dream “Going to the Olympics has been a great passion of mine and this is just one step to get me to that goal. It's something I have been doing for the past six years and I have dedicated my life to winning at medal at the Games and this is one more step to what it takes to get there and do that.”

In contrast, Junior added, “This isn't one of our selection regattas, but I think every regatta counts, as if you can do well at regattas it looks good. Hyeres is our final selection and after that they make a decision. I wasn't happy with the Gold Cup, so hopefully I can improve here and get a top 10 or a little bit better. I think tomorrow it's going to go offshore so could be a completely different day.”

In the Juniors there is no change in the order but Ondrej Teply (CZE) is building a useful lead in 18th from Facundo Olezza (ARG) in 30th and Arkadiy Kistanov in 36th.

The championship is still one race behind schedule. Racing continues Wednesday,

Results after 3 races
1 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 7
2 NZL 24 Josh Junior 15
3 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 25
4 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 36
5 NED 842 Pieter-Jan Postma 40
6 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 42
7 GBR 11 Ed Wright 42
8 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 43
9 USA 4 Zach Railey 46
10 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 48

Full results: http://2016.finneuropeans.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall

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Allan Julie setting the bar high to qualify for Rio Olympics


With four Olympic Games already under his belt, you would think Allan Julie from Seychelles would want to sit back and reflex, but that is not the case. With just two weeks to go before the final selection regatta for the Rio 2016 Olympics, he has taken up a new challenge – top level Finn sailing.

Ahead of the African qualification at the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma at the end of March he is competing at the Finn European Championships this week in Barcelona to get familiar with the boat.

“I only started sailing the Finn about two weeks ago, so maybe I have sailed about 10 times so far. My goal is to learn the boat as much as possible in this short time and hopefully qualify to go to Rio.”

He did a week of intensive training in France recently. “In the first week I was training with Finn coach Paul McKenzie. I really learned a lot because I didn't know anything about the Finn.”

“I really like the boat, so we will see if I qualify. Depending on if I qualify and then how I go at the Games and I will then think about Tokyo.” Coming from the Laser, in which he sailed the last four Olympics, “The Finn feels like a more stable boat and it feels like a real boat. I like it. I think it's probably better for people more like my weight.” Julie is 93 kg and in the lower weight range for Finn sailing.

He described his first day in the 90 boat fleet in Barcelona. “In the first race I was not really racing so much. I was more or less doing what other people were doing. I was not tacking on the shifts, but I had a good first upwind and then I lost a bit on the second upwind.”

“In the second race before they abandoned I was in a very good position. I probably would have rounded top 20, so would have been very happy with that.”

He is receiving help this week from one of the best sailors in the class. “This week I am travelling with Vasilij Zbogar from Slovenia and they also provided me with a boat and all the equipment and I would like to say a big thanks to them."

“And they are also helping me a lot during his regatta, giving me a lot of tips.”
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07.03.2015

Milan Vujasinovic wins only race on Finn Europeans opening day

Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) is the early leader at the Finn Europeans after wining the opening race in tricky light winds in Barcelona. The 2012 European Champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) is second and the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) is in third. The second race was abandoned at the top mark as the wind began to shut down for the day.

The morning weather briefing proved to be largely correct when it suggested that an onshore breeze could develop late morning and then disappear towards evening. The fleet were held on shore under AP for an while before being let out of the harbour.

After one general recall the fleet got going with one boat pulled out under the black flag. Fittingly it was defending European Champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) who led round the top mark from Mitakis and Deniss Karpak (EST). However his lead didn't last long. Mikakis explained, “I had a good start and played the left side of the fleet and passed the first mark in second. I made a good move on the downwind so I was first at the gate.”

It all changed on the second upwind with Vujasinovic taking the lead. Mitakis continued “The wind went light and it was tricky for me, and for everyone else, on the second upwind. On the last downwind I had a really good fight with Jonas and Zombi [Zsombor Berecz (HUN)] but I managed to finished second so it was a really good start to the Europeans.”

The second race also started after one general recall under black flag but it didn't get further than the top mark. Caleb Paine (USA) led into the mark from Karpak and Zach Raley (USA) but before they could get there the race was abandoned as the wind had fallen consistently under five knots. With time and light running out the fleet was sent home.

Second placed Høgh-Christensen said, “It's a good start to the regatta and I am very happy to come away with third. It was very close race between the top four guys and we were battling it out right to the finish line and it's always good when you can do that after 75 minutes of racing.”

Race winner and leader after the first day, Vujasinovic said, “It was a very shifty and light wind. I had a good start and was consistently in the top and focussed on sailing and I think in the end consistency and patience paid. I just focussed on the small things, technique, keeping calm and adjusting to the conditions on the water.”

In a change to the Croatian Olympic selection he said, “Our selection will now just be on the Worlds between me and Kljakovic Gaspic so this is just a training regatta for us. At the Worlds I will do the best I can and then we will see.”

The Junior World Champion Ondrej Teply (CZE) is leading the Junior Europeans from Facundo Olezza (ARG) and defending Junior European Champion Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS).

Racing continues Tuesday with forecasts of more light winds to come

Results after Day 1

1 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 1
2 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 2
3 DEN 2 Jonas Høgh-Christensen 3
4 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 4
5 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 5
6 CRO 52 Nenad Bugarin 6
7 ESP 17 Pablo Guitian Sarria 7
8 NZL 24 Josh Junior 8
9 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 9
10 CAN 18 Tom Ramshaw 1

Results: http://2016.finneuropeans.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall

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06.03.2015

Finn Europeans poised for launch in Barcelona


The 2016 Finn Senior and Junior Open European Championship was opened Saturday night in a cozy ceremony on the balcony of the Barcelona International Sailing Centre overlooking the blue waters of what will become this week's race course. On Sunday the sailors completed last minute preparations and measurement before the practice race in what could well be the best wind of the week.

The weather so far has been good for the sailors with challenging, offshore moderate to strong winds and blue skies. However some forecasts for the coming week show a different kind of challenge with light winds moving in. The practice race was held in near perfect conditions with the impressive sailing centre structure as a backdrop. Max Kohlhoff (GER) led round the top mark in an onshore and cold 10-12 knots but as usual the fleet only did the first lap before heading in. Josh Junior (NZL) showed some good downwind speed to lead the fleet back to the club.

At the close of the day 90 sailors, including 21 Juniors, had registered to compete in what will be one of the most intense weeks racing of the year. Many nations are using the week as part of their Olympic trials process and many also also using it as a final warm up to the last Olympic qualifier in Palma at the end of the month.

The championship is being organised by “Federació Catalana de Vela (FCV), Unió de Federacions Esportives de Catalunya (UFEC), Reial Club Marítim de Barcelona and Reial Club Nàutic de Barcelona, supported by the City Hall of Barcelona and Generalitat de Catalunya.

At the Opening Ceremony, the dignitaries present included Mr. Xavier Torres (President of the Catalan Sailing Federation), Mr. Oriol Marcé (Subdirector of Sports Activities of the Generalitat de Catalunya), Mr. Jordi Sans (General Director of UFEC), Ms. Sònia Güell (Vice-President of the Real Club Marítimo de Barcelona) and Mr. Aleix Ballester, Race Director for the Finn Europeans. The fleet was especially pleased to see Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg, who won Olympic gold in these waters back in 1992.

Racing begins Monday with ten races scheduled until next Saturday when the final race and the medal race will be sailed. The first race Monday is scheduled to start at 12.00.

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01.03.2015

Huge fleet to challenge for 2016 Finn European titles in Barcelona
 
The field is narrowing as the Rio Olympics draws ever closer and a key event for many of those fighting for the few remaining paces is the 2016 Senior and Junior Finn European Championships which is set to begin this Friday, 4 March, in Barcelona, Spain.
 
The final Olympic qualification event will be the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma later in March, but the European Championship is being used by many nations as part of their selection series, both by those nations already qualified as well as those that are still hoping to qualify for the final European place in Palma.
 
The entry list is a huge 98 boats from 31 countries including an encouraging number of new and returning countries to the Finn class. The defending senior champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) will be looking for his fourth European title, but more importantly he is still looking to close down the selection series for Rio against Milan Vujasinovic (CRO). Their selections end in May, so this event is not being used, but will be crucial for confidence building for both of them.
 
The defending Junior Champion, Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) will have just as tough a battle to defend his title against at least 20 other juniors, as well as looking to stake his claim for a place in Rio, should Russia win the final European place in Palma. One of his main adversaries will be world junior champion Ondrej Teply (CZE). This will be the last ever international Junior Finn event, as from this summer, the age limit will be extended by one year and the titles will be called U23 in line with other international sports.
 
Of the nations already qualified for Rio, selection trials continue for New Zealand, Italy, Canada, USA, Croatia, Australia. Some of these are subjective, some are based on results. Most are too close to call.
 
Of the nations still hoping to qualify there are selections to be decided for Poland, Russia, Spain, Czech Republic and Germany. There are expected to be about 10 European nations trying for the single Rio place in Palma. So far there are also three African nations expected in Palma for a fascinating battle for the Rio place, with Allan Julie (SEY) the only one taking part in Barcelona.
 
The USA results based trials will conclude in Barcelona with 2008 Qingdao silver medalist Zach Railey (USA) going in one point ahead of Caleb Paine (USA) after the first leg at the Sailing World Cup Miami.
 
Meanwhile, the Italian trials continue through to the Gold Cup in May, with a strong team of eight athletes competing in Barcelona. While Italy has already qualified for Rio, Spain and Poland have not yet and are fielding large teams in Barcelona, but as usual the largest team is Russia with nine athletes taking part.
 
With only a handful of the top sailors missing, including world champion Giles Scott (GBR), the list of favorites is pretty long. The 2013 European Champion Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) is likely to be a top contender, as is former World and European Champion Ed Wright (GBR). Then there is Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), back from an extended training period in New Zealand, including a win at the Kiwi nationals ahead of Josh Junior (NZL) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL), who will both be in Barcelona and still fighting for their country selection for Rio.
 
Other potential top performers include 2012 London silver medalist Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN), 2012 European Champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), Deniss Karpak (EST), Ben Cornish (GBR), Zsombor Berecz (HUN), Jake Lilley (AUS), Jorge Zarif (BRA) and Björn Allansson (SWE).
 
The event opens on Friday 4 March, with the practice race on Sunday 6. A 10 race series from Monday 7 through to Saturday 12 March culminates in the medal race for the top 10 after the 10th race on Saturday morning. The class is trialing running the medal race on the same day as the final opening series race in order to do away with having the 11th race, dubbed by many as the ‘losers’ race, and to bring the series more into line with the format of the Sailing World Cup.
 
What is certain is that an exciting week of Finn racing lies ahead
 
Event website: 2016.finneuropeans.org
Class website: www.finnclass.org

 

 

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