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2023 Finn European Masters in Campione del Garda, Lake Garda, Italy - Day 1

by Robert Deaves 5 Sep 22:16 BST 5-8 September 2023

The 2023 Finn European Masters in Campione del Garda opened Tuesday with two races on Lake Garda in a patchy and shifty southerly that provided tough challenges through the 92-boat fleet from 25 nations. Udo Murek, from Germany leads the event with Britain's Martin Hughes in second after a 3,5 and Bas de Waal from The Netherlands in third with a 4,4.

Allen Burrell, from Britain, won the opening race after making a big comeback from a poor start. Then Murek made the best of the second race for a comfortable win. The conditions started grey and 12-13 knots, but by race time had dropped to 6-9 knots, sunny skies, and high temperatures. Many of the favourites struggled in both races to get near the front.

The day dawned with a colder southerly already in place and cloudy skies. The fleet set out in 12-13 knots of breeze but after one general recall, the skies had cleared and the wind had dropped to 6-9 knots. It was all about the cliffs on the east side today, with significantly less wind on the left side of the course. In the first race, Simon Bovay, from Switzerland, led round the top from Hughes, and Britain's Jonathon Pyke. After a very mediocre start, Burrell headed right as well, but stayed out of trouble as the wind briefly died near the cliffs and then rounded the top mark in the chasing pack. He chose the best downwind route as well to round the gate behind Bovay, Hungary's Tibor Pallay and Hughes, but then took the lead on the second upwind and extended on the right to take a comfortable lead down to the finish.

Race two was much the same with now most of the fleet heading to the cliffs. Murek rounded first from Peter Peet, from The Netherland's and Britain's Richard Sharp. Murek and Peet were neck and neck at the gate, but the German extended on the second upwind to round the top with a nice lead but no change in the top three. They finished in that order.

Murek was seventh, leaving him on equal points with Hughes who was elated after perhaps his day of sailing in a Finn.

Hughes said, "Today was a really interesting day. I started at the committee boat both races and was very lucky, managed to find a nice little hole to squeeze out, got all the way to the cliffs, and it was very lucky. Downwind, I lost a couple of places in both races, but hung on to fifth in the second race. But what a great sail, and what a great bit of water to be on. It was challenging today, definitely, the waves the wind, but it was just a great sail."

Burrell commented, "I had a very lucky race, I had an awful start and went straight into the cliffs and there was a bit more pressure over that side, but I didn't go in too close and kept in the pressure and that seemed to pay really nicely. Down the first run I also went towards the cliffs a little bit and there was more pressure again." He finished 21st in the second race and is in ninth overall.

Racing continues Wednesday at 13.00 and concludes on Friday. Up to six more races are scheduled

Results after Day 1: (two races)

1 GER 909 Udo Murek 8pts
2 GBR 567 Martin Hughes 8pts
3 NED 29 Bas De waal 8pts
4 HUN 5 Tibor Pallay 16pts
5 SUI 59 Simon Bovay 17pts
6 GBR 90 Richard Sharp 19pts
7 GBR 5 John Greenwood 19pts
8 NED 148 Peter Peet 21pts
9 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 22pts
10 POR 21 Filipe Silva 25pts

Full Results available here.

Gallery from Tuesday available here.

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