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2022 Open Finn European Masters at Club Nàutic Hospitalet-Vandellòs - Day 3

by Robert Deaves 16 Sep 20:51 BST 13-17 September 2022

Italy's Giacomo Giovanelli did the seemingly impossible and won both races on the third day of the 2022 Open Finn European Masters at Club Nàutic Hospitalet-Vandellòs, at Hospitalet de l'Infant, Spain. However, Spain's Miguel Fernandez Vasco again extended his lead at the top to three points, from Laurent Hay of France while Giovanelli moves up to third.

After an early morning thunderstorm offshore, the offshore wind was not as strong as expected and died as soon as the fleet arrived on the course. An hour later a sea breeze had built and two more races were sailed.

The day belonged to Giovanelli leading at virtually every mark and taking two decisive race wins to move him up to third overall. In the first race he had the course to himself, sailing away from the fleet and enjoying a big win from Portugal's Filipe Silva and Christoph Burger from Switzerland. Some of the leading boats were buried on the first beat, but Fernandez managed to extract himself from the 30s to cross ninth, while Hay couldn't quite find the lanes and crossed 18th.

Then in the second race a crowded pin end start left a few boats floundering while Hay started well. However, Giovanelli emerged from the right in better shape to lead downwind. He was challenged on the final downwind by fellow Italian Matteo Iovenitti, who took the lead half way down the leg but then picked up a jury penalty to allow Giovanelli to take the second gun of the day and his third of the week. Iovenitti crossed second with France's Florian Faucheux in third.

Burger is up to sixth overall. He said, "The forecast predicted a pretty strong northerly, also called 'Tramontana' or 'Mistral' but that didn't really happen. We were called out on the water in a dying northerly breeze and then the sea breeze took it's time to get going.

"The first race we started in a marginal 5 knots I would say. I had a great start, I got the first right shift and I managed to take third from there so that one was really good.

"During the second race the wind built up a little bit but not quite quickly enough to be fully hiking. Again, one of these rather difficult starts and first beats. The left was paying, so I really wanted to go there and I managed to stay in the top 10 all the way through. Then I had a few little hiccups, but I think no one really gets around these days without a few hiccups, it's only about having a few less."

On the event, "I think the Spanish club and the Finn class did a great job putting the event together. We are still in finding our way after the Olympics, so I think that will be the future of the events, Juniors and Masters together, which is not really a problem. We are having a great time here, we are getting taken care of, the weather is great and it's a good time of the year for most of us to join these events, so hopefully we can do a few more in the future."

Sinan Sumer, from Turkey, is sailing his first Finn event since 1997. He was also here in 1996 at the Junior Europeans and remembers it well.

"I sailed the Finn Class until 1997, then I stopped sailing it for a while. In 1996 I came to Hospitalet de L'Infant for the Junior European Championship and now, after 26 years this is my first event, after a very long time. The Finn Class is always on my mind, in my blood and now I am finding the opportunity some times to come back to these events, and I am very happy to be here again after such a long time.

"I had the chance to train two months before coming here, so it's like riding a bicycle, you know, but the muscles are crying a little bit. It is such a good feeling, though, to sail alone, feel the boat and the conditions here are very nice, and the wind is not so strong. So, for beginning sailing again it's such a good place for me and it's going better than I expected.

"It's really nice to sail with these guys after such a long time, I was racing against Paul Mckenzie a long time ago. I've known him for a long time. To be honest the rest of the guys I didn't meet before but Finn sailors are always nice. Everybody is sailing hard, training hard but on the water everyone is so fair and we are all helping each other. It's so nice to be here."

With one day and two races left in this championship, it is still wide open at the top. Both Fernandez and Hay had difficult days, with the Spaniard showing great form to recover from bad first beats. Though only three points separate them, Fernandez has the upper hand, though in the challenging winds of Hospitalet de l'Infant it's not over until it's over, with a few boats close enough behind to catch them if they have enough hiccups.

The championship concludes on Saturday with a possible two races left to sail. The time of the first warming signal has been brought forward two hours to 10.00 to stand the best change of getting both races sailed.

Event website:

Results after 6 races: (See full results)

1 ESP 161 Miguel FERNANDEZ VASCO 12pts
2 FRA 75 Laurent HAY 15pts
3 ITA 202 Giacomo GIOVANELLI 24pts
4 FRA 96 Florian FAUCHEUX 37pts
5 NED 29 Bas DE WAAL 37pts
6 SUI 7 Christoph BURGER 38pts
7 POR 21 Filipe SILVA 41pts
8 FRA 61 David HUET 41pts
9 ITA 1071 Matteo IOVENITTI 53pts

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