Ben Ainslie on the hunt wins the Finn European Championship and rules in Maremma. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is second and
Guillaume Florent (FRA) third. Junior title won by Jan Kurfeld (GER).
British genius outclasses French Guillaume Florent and all other competitors in the decisive Medal Race. Winds from 240° at 10-12 knots ensure a superb show on the water. Anslie on the hunt in the prestart makes it seem a match race. The Silver medal goes to Croatian Ivan Gaspic and the Bronze to Guillaume Florent. The Junior title goes to Jan Kurfeld (GER).
An unforgettable race took place today in Maremma’s crystal blue waters: the decisive Medal Race for the European Finn Championship. Ben Ainslie dominated from start to finish, winning by over a minute on his opponents on a 30 minute course. The prestart was a nailbiter with Ben Ainslie hunting down Guillaume Florent from the get go. Ainslie managed to corner the frenchman into the left hand corner during the prestart and in the last minute was able to have a penalty inflicted on his opponent collecting one though himself at the same time. Having offloaded the penalty, Ainslie started at the centre of the line with good speed. It all happened in under a minute.
The remainder of the race was history. At 14.15 after the wind had finally settled from the southwest, the Race Committee presided by Carlo Tosi fired the start gun. Ainslie sprinted away, keeping in check the fleet and his direct opponent Florent who finished the race in 8th place. Croatian Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic secured the 2nd spot on the European Finn Championship podium and French Guillaume Florent finished 3rd. Throughout the Championship Ainslie outclassed his fellow competitors and is now the prime candidate for the Olympic Gold.
Ben Ainslie talked about the start of the race: “The wind came in very quickly and so did the start. From the get go my plan was to give Guillaume (Florent) a hard time in the pre-start as I needed to get a few points on him. We had a few incidents where I was on starboard and he on port, but the Jury decided to give me a penalty anyhow. At the end it worked out fine because it distracted him and I was able to start in the middle of the line with good speed.” Ainslie then spoke about the week in Maremma stating: “On the whole it was a great week, but with very shifty and changing conditions. It was good training for what the situation in Qingdao will be like.”
After the Medal race, reserved to the top ten, the rest of the fleet competed in Race 9 and Norwegian Peer Moberg was the winner.
In the Junior Championship, German Jan Kurfeld won the Gold, followed by Piotr Kula from Poland (Silver) and by Tomas Vika (Czech Republic) Bronze.
Sailing lovers watch all races on www.sailrev.tv.
Ben Ainslie won the European Finn Championship in Scarlino,
Maremma today, dominating in the medal race. He made up the 8 points that
separated him from French Guillaume Florent who finished the race in 8th
position, due to the aggressive hunting of the British champion in the
1 Ben Ainslie (GBR)
2 Ivan Gaspic (CRO)
3 Guillaume Florent (FRA)
Spaniard Trujillo wins race 8. Ainslie has a bad start but closes in on French Florent. Tomorrow's race promises to be a nailbiter.
At la Marina di Scarlino tension is building for tomorrow’s Medal Race. Ace Ben Ainslie will have to make up 8 points to beat French Guillaume Florent. The international sailors are enthusiastic about Maremma’s race course and weather conditions.
Tomorrow’s Medal Race will be crucial to determine the European Finn Champion. The eighth race took place today under sunny skies and a 8 to 11 knot southwesterly breeze. Olympic silver medallist (Athens 2004) and main trimmer on +39 Spaniard Rafael Trujillo won, followed by Irish Timothy Goodbody in second position and Swede Daniel Birgmark in third.
A large spectator fleet was a witness to yet another example of Ben Ainslie’s extraordinary sailing: after rounding mark 1 somewhere after 40th, he wrapped up the race in 8th place capturing 4 points from French Guillaume Florent, the provisional leader of the scoreboard. Yesterday Ainslie had been disqualified after having won race 7.
Tomorrow’s Medal Race will be a make or break one. The top ten will face off in the crystal blue waters of Maremma’s sea beginning at 12 p.m. The course will be a short one, the race will last about 30 minutes, and there will be a double point system. The rest of the fleet will compete in race 9 after the Medal Race. The prize giving ceremony will be held immediately thereafter, closing this fantastic European Finn Championship which saw the best athletes of this Olympic class race in Maremma just a few weeks before Qingdao.
The athletes are happy with the organization at la Marina di Scarlino and the race courses set in the Gulf of Follonica, considered by many among the best in the world.
Today’s winner Rafael Trujillo speaks for everyone when he says: “I am truly happy to have raced here in Scarlino, Maremma. This is a perfect spot to hold races at the highest level and I hope that other events of this importance will soon be organized here. The surroundings are breathtaking and I really loved the food and the wine! Today I performed well and qualified for tomorrow’s Medal Race, an important step that allows me to develop the consistency I need for the Olympic Games.”
Medal Race participants:
Florent (France, 32 points),
Ainslie (Great Britain, 40),
Gaspic (Croatia, 43),
Cook (Canada, 50),
Vincec (Slovenia, 51),
Hogh-Christensen (Denmark, 54),
Postma (Nederlands, 61),
Railey (Usa, 63),
Birgmark (Sweden, 68)
Trujillo (Spain, 82).
All racing can be followed live on www.sailrev.tv thanks to the support of Maremma Tuscany and Consorzio Etruria.
The tables turn at the European Finn Championship.
The result of the protest between the leader of the provisional scoreboard Ben Ainslie and Canadian Christopher Cook saw both sailors disqualified. The protest concerned two incidents in the pre-start phase of race 7. Ben Ainslie was disqualified when he established an overlap too close to allow Cook to respond. In a second incident the Canadian failed to keep clear of Ainslie who was to leeward.
In a separate protest between SLO Gasper Vincec and USA Zach Railey, the Slovenian was disqualified for an incident at the first mark.
After 7 races French Guillaume Florent leads with 20 points followed by Ainslie at 32 and Cook at 34.
Race 8 will get underway tomorrow and the Medal Race is scheduled for Saturday (double points).
It was all change in Scarlino this morning. The strong offshore wind that has been a feature of the past two days had given way to a light onshore wind. By 11.00 this had started to kick in so the fleet was sent out for a first start at 12.45 in 10-12 knots from the west and gloriously brilliant blue skies.
After one general recall, race seven started under the black flag. Ed Greig (GBR) started two boats up from the pin end, sailed to the left hand corner, tacked and then rounded the windward mark with a 10 boat length lead ahead of the rest of the British Team. Ben Ainslie (GBR) rounded second followed by Andew Mills (GBR), Ed Wright (GBR) and Mark Andrews (GBR).
On the downwind Ainslie gybed immediately to port and was soon in the lead which he extended all the way to the leeward gate. On the next upwind he played the shifts up the middle with Greig maintaining second place. However the largest gain was made by Anthony Nossiter (AUS) who moved from outside the top 15 to third place at the top mark.
On the downwind to the finish Ainslie stretched out a significant lead to win the race by just under a minute. Behind him, second placed Greig received a yellow flag and dropped to fifth doing his penalty turns. Wright recovered from fourth at the top mark to cross the finish line in second with Nossiter third and Daniel Birgmark (SWE) in fourth.
As yesterday the race was recorded on film by Sailing Revolution and this race along with a series of interview, as well as the rest of the action this week, is available free online at www.sailrev.tv.
Race eight was very much the same with those favouring the left hand side looking rosy while those sailing to the right suffered severely. Starting 10-15 boats back from the pin end, Wright sailed to the left hand corner to build a useful lead round the first mark. Ainslie started beneath him but got buried and had to tack off and duck transoms. He managed to find a clear lane and worked up the middle to round the top mark just behind Wright. Third round the mark was Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN), who started right on the pin and also went to the left.
The leaders split gybes on the first downwind with a separation of up to 250 metres at one point. Wright and Ainslie took the right while Høgh-Christensen and Gasper Vincec (SLO) took the left. At the gate, Høgh-Christensen had moved in front and rounded the port mark and sailed on a few hundred metre before tacking back to the left. Ainslie rounded the starboard mark right in front of Wright and both sailed onto the left. When the three crossed again near the top of the beat, Ainslie was clear ahead and had a useful gap on Wright in second. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) rounded just ahead of Høgh-Christensen.
On the final downwind, the wind started to drop significantly but Ainslie managed to extend his lead to finish some 50 seconds ahead of Wright. However Wright was scored OCS, so Kljakovic Gaspic moved up to second and Høgh-Christensen in third.
Meanwhile, the battle for the Junior title is hotting up with Jan Kurfeld (GER) reducing the points gap to the current leader Piotr Kula (POL) to just 11 points. Third placed Tomas Vika (CZE) is some 77 points off the lead so will be looking to maintain his 31 points lead over fourth placed Junior Andriy Gusenko (UKR).
Ainslie commented, “The breeze is very consistent around here, although today it was further from the south, and the waves were a little different. Yesterday I made life hard for myself but today I chose the right side of the course and managed to take advantage of the left hand shift. I've never been here before but it really is a beautiful place. I got to see some of it while we were training but of course when we are racing we are 100 per cent focussed on the competition. I haven't cruised in a while, but this would be a great place to come and do some.” The Gulf of Follonica is in the heart of the Tuscan archipelago with the island of Montecristo, Elba and Giglio a quick sail away.
Tomorrow will be a crucial day as the final qualification race will be sailed to decide who will sail in the medal race on Saturday. There will also a 9th race for the rest of the fleet.
Guillaume Florent (FRA) has yet to make a mistake at the 2008 Finn European Championship. A first and third today moves him into the overall lead. Chris Cook (CAN) won the second race to move up to second overall, just one point behind the Frenchman.
After yesterday's long, hard day on the Gulf of Follonica, the Finn sailors arrived at the La Marina di Scarlino hoping for a less wearing day on the body and mind. Conditions were the same as the previous day, so rather than wait on the water, the race committee postponed onshore until 13.30 while the wind gradually died and then shifted to a seabreeze of 6-8 knots.
Race four was started at 14.40 with the pin end favoured and the fleet got cleanly away first time. Several favourites including yesterday's race winner Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) and Ben Ainslie (GBR) all started next to the pin and tacked across to the right after 200 metres. However the right was paying well and Guillaume Florent (FRA) built up a useful lead into the first mark over Tapio Nirkko (FIN) and 2005 World Junior Champion, Jan Kurfeld (GER). Hogh-Christensen rounded in 7th and Ainslie in 14th.
On the first downwind the left side paid, Guillaume extended his lead on the right, while Ainslie moved up to 5th by the bottom mark, just behind Nirkko, Kurfeld and Chris Cook (CAN). Most of the fleet went right up the second beat and Florent controlled his lead from this side. Nirko split tacks to play the middle and lost some ground on Cook, while Ainslie moved up to 4th. On the final downwind, Florent looked under pressure as Ainslie overtook Cook and then Nirkko and started closing in on Florent. However Florent just had a large enough gap to take the win, followed about 10 boatlengths behind by Ainslie, Cook and Nirkko.
Last year's European Champion, Eduard Skornyakov (RUS) finally had a better race, placing 10th, after a poor start to the regatta. The overnight leader Gasper Vincec (SLO) recovered from a poor first upwind to finish 13th.
All this week, Sailing Revolution will be on the water filming the action. Today they recorded the entirety of race four including Ainslie's comeback from 14th to second place. This is available as a free download at www.sailrev.tv. After only one day of racing the site had already received more than 3,000 download requests.
Race five started almost immediately at 16.05 with the wind now slightly increased to 10-12 knots. The right side paid again, with Cook sailing clear of the pack to lead round the first mark followed by Florent, Ismael Bruno (FRA) and Nirkko. Meanwhile Ainslie had set himself another comeback challenge rounding the top mark in the early 30s.
At the top mark, the 'O' flag was raised for unlimited pumping allowing Cook to stretch out his lead. Also enjoying the downwind was Postma who moved up to 4th and Ainslie who made the largest gain to about 16th. On the final upwind of the day, most of the fleet again favoured the right. Cook controlled from the front, playing the shits on the final approach to the layline and keeping the clever Florent in his sights. However the danger was now coming from Postma who had moved to second.
Round the top mark it was Cook, Postma, Florent, Zach Railey (USA) and Nirkko. Ainslie had moved up to 11th and was closing in on the bunch behind the leaders. The wind had dropped slightly by now so flag 'R' went up to restrict the unlimited pumping.
Cook was now the one under pressure as both Postma and Florent started to close in. However by the finish the positions hadn't changed and Cook took a well deserved win followed by Postma, Florent, Nirkko and Railey. Ainslie continued his comeback tradition and finished 8th to keep his title chances alive, although he has been making hard work of it so far.
Slovenian Gasper Vincec and Dutch Pieter-Jan Postma win race 3 and race 4 on the second day of racing
The second day of racing at La Marina di Scarlino today. The first race of the day went to Gasper Vincec (SLO 5), followed by French Guillame Florent (FRA 73) and by Canadian Christopher Cook (CAN 41) in third position. The second race was won by Dutch Pieter-Jan Postma,(NED 842), followed by Christopher Cook (CAN 41) and by Slovenian Gasper Vincec (SLO 5).
The first race kicked off around 4 p.m. after three general recalls, one abandoned race and a long postponement due to the strong rotation and instability of the wind. The Race Committee presided by Carlo Tosi therefore decided to wait for the thermal breeze to kick in and stabilize before firing the gun. Over 80 athletes from 30 nations cut the starting line under sunny skies, calm seas and a 6 to 8 knot westerly wind. The Island of Elba, Montecristo and Corsica served as a spectacular backdrop. first upwind leg with many shifts and pressure changes on the race course . Brazilian Eduardo Couto rounded the first windward mark in the lead, followed by Slovenian Vincec and Croatian Ivan Gaspic. Couto extended his lead on the downwind leg as the breeze increased but lost his advantage on the second beat to Chris Cook (CAN) and Gasper Vincec (SLO). On the final run the most favoured part of the course was the middle: Canadian Cook and Brazilian Couto went to the left while Vincec (SLO) and Guillaume Florent (FRA) went to the right. The right paid and Vincec took the win followed by Florent and Cook. Couto was yellow flagged on the final approach but only lost a place to Cook.
The second race began at 5.23 p.m. The breeze had built up to 11-12 knots gusting to 17, remaining steady in direction. The fleet evenly split on first beat and at mark 1 Dutch Pieter-Jan Postma was in the lead, followed by Zach Railey (USA) and Timothy Goodbody (IRL). Ben Ainslie (GBR) chose the left side of the course on the first downwind leg, picking up four positions and finishing the first downwind leg in fourth place. The Oscar flag was raised for unlimited pumping on the second downwind leg and, the positions remained almost unchanged. Postma extended his lead, winning by 50 seconds, followed by Christopher Cook (CAN 41) and by Slovenian Gasper Vincec (SLO 5) who overtook Ben Ainslie by five boatlengths.
At 6.30 p.m. sailors were heading back into port where warm pasta, cold beer and red wine were waiting for them.
Two races are scheduled for tomorrow.
Follow racing on www.sailrev.tv
After a three hour delay to wait for the wind to arrive, the 2008 Finn Open and Junior Championship got underway
in Scarlino, Italy with a single race in 6-8 knots of patchy breeze.
Ben Ainslie (GBR) made his intentions quite clear, with a clean race win, after leading at each and every mark.
Piotr Kula (POL) was the best of the juniors finishing in 11th place.
Read the whole report
The Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Finn European Championships took place last
night in splendid fashion in the medieval castle of Scarlino. The young
sailors of the Club Nautico Scarlino Sailing School brought in the flags of
the 30 countries participating in the event. After the speeches of Filippo
Soffici, the Sport Manager of CNS, Guido Spadolini, the Commodore of CNS,
Maurizio Bizzarri, Mayor of Scarlino, Fausto Meciani on behalf of the
Italian Sailing Federation and Balasz Hajdu, President of the IFA, Mr.
Leonardo Ferragamo declared the Championship officially opened. A buffet
followed with all the sailors enjoying the food and drinks offered by the
Club Nautico Scarlino.
Today the first warning signal is scheduled for 12:00, but rain and light
wind may delay the start until this afternoon.
Flag parade opens Finn Europeans
For countless years, Scarlino Castle in the Grosseto region of Tuscany acted as a stronghold against enemies and pirates landing at nearby cities. On Sunday night, the ancient fortress played host to the magnificent opening ceremony of the 2008 Finn Open and Junior European Championships.
Following a welcome by local dignitaries and event organisers, a parade of flags ensued with local and visiting children - each one waving the flag of a competing nation - being announced onto the stage accompanied by Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy'. After all 30 flags representing the 30 countries competing had arrived on stage, the championship was officially declared open and guests and competitors were treated to a lavish buffet dinner in the castle's hilltop grounds, offering stunning sunset views over the surrounding Tuscany hillside, the coast and the shadowy shape of Elba sitting on the horizon...
Read the whole report by Robert Deaves - IFA
The practice race was sailed today at the 2008 European Finn Championship in La Marina di Scarlino, Maremma, Tuscany. A sunny day with 6-8 knots of wind from the South South West produced a nice race with 50 boats sailing in the blue water of Tyrrenian Sea. The other 33 competitors stayed ashore to finalise their boat preparations for the championship that starts tomorrow at 12:00. The race committee (Chairman Carlo Tosi) laid an upwind-downwind course with a 1.2 mile leg. After a general recall the fleet started with a pin end bias. British sailor Ben Ainslie, reigning Olympic and World Champion and favourite for the event, took an early lead on the centre-left of the course playing the breeze very well with American Zack Railey staying very close to the Brit in second. The two arrived at the top mark together, with Ainslie leading by one boat length on the American. In third place was the Dane Jonas Hoegh-Christensen and in fifth the leading Italian, Marco Buglielli.
The run was very tactical with Ainslie increasing his lead. However, the top sailors retired from the race during the second beat and Italian secretary Marco Buglielli went on to win the race.
This evening, at 19:30, the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 European Champinship will take place in the Medieval Castle of Scarlino, with a dinner offered by La Marina di Scarlino and Club Nautico to all the 83 competitors from 30 countries.
La Marina di Scarlino was bustling with activity this morning as athletes lined up to enrol in the European Finn Championship and got their boats measured. The majority of the 94 participants from 30 nations arrived in Maremma Tuscany over the past days and has been making the most of the 10 to 15 knot daily sea breeze and sunny skies training in Maremma’s azure waters.
Chief measurers Jury Saraskin e August Atz had a busy day checking the hulls, masts and sails in the brand new boatyard La Marina di Scarlino Yacht Service. In the meanwhile by 2 p.m. close to fifty athletes had completed their enrolment procedures at the Club House.
Many of the helmsman have been training over the past days taking full advantage of Maremma’s typical weather conditions: 10 to 15 knots sea breeze, sunny skies and flat seas. Brit Ben Ainslie and Spaniard Rafael Trujillo, respectively Gold and Silver medal winners in Athens 2004, were also out on the water testing the waters.
Measurement will continue until Sunday May 4th. At 2 p.m. a practice race will take place and in the evening the Opening Ceremony will be held at Scarlino’s Medieval Castle.
Sailing lovers will be able to follow all racing by logging onto www.sailrev.tv and at the end of every day results and photos are posted in the photogallery.
In the Accommodation page you can find the services
offered by Cruise Support for the Finn European Championship,
including booking, boat assistance and day cruises on motor-yacht "Laura" to follow
It is with extreme pleasure that the Club Nautico and La Marina di Scarlino
welcome you to Maremma's crystal clear sea, one of the world's most
beautiful sailing venues for top level competitions.
We hope that you will spend a memorable week of sports and sailing in our
ideal racing breeze.
We will do everything we can to make your stay unforgettable.
On the water and on land the skill of our team will be at your disposal,
backed by an efficient and modern Marina structure.
This website will give you all the informations you need to prepare the
event and will be uploaded daily during the regatta week with lot of news,
photos, results and interviews from the top level fleet of the international Finn Class.
Ben Ainslie is 2008 Finn European Champion
photo James Taylor
Guillaume Florent leads after 8 races
photo James Taylor
Windward mark action in race 6
photo Emilio Bianchi
Guillaume Florent leader after 5 races
photo Emilio Bianchi
Gasper Vincec winner of race 2
photo James Taylor (CNS)
Ben Ainslie winner of race 1
photo James Taylor (CNS)
Opening Ceremony at the Castle of Scarlino
photo Emilio Bianchi
La Marina di Scarlino
Scarlino, May 2007 - Coppa Italia Finn
photo James Robinson Taylor
Finn racing in Scarlino, May 2007
photo James Robinson Taylor