Another mixed up day at the 2012 Finn Europeans in Scarlino, Italy brought wins for Slovenia and Croatia, but Italy ended the day in pole position.
A second race win for Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and a first win for Ivan Kljkovic Gaspic (CRO) significantly improved their championship chances, but it is Filippo Baldassari (ITA) who holds a narrow overnight lead into Friday's final opening series races. Zbogar is in second, while Giorgio Poggi (ITA) is in third.
The fleet had another long wait on the water before Race 4 could get under way. Eventually the committee boat moved further offshore where a nice 7-8 knot wind was waiting. After a general recall it got away under black flag. The left side seemed to be favoured with reigning Junior European Champion Josip Olujic (CRO) rounding ahead of Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Alican Kaynar (TUR) and Giorgio Poggi (ITA).
Le Breton took the lead on the first downwind and looked to have the race win in the bag, still leading with just 100 metres to the finish. But Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) had gone wide to the right on the final downwind and came in with a nice shift to win by less than a boat length. Olujic crossed in third.
Race 5 got under way after the mandatory general recall and black flag with lots of different faces leading at the top mark. First round was Eduard Skornyakov (RUS) from Johal Nachhatar (IND), Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) and Florian Raudaschl (AUT). Mitakis took a narrow lead downwind to round the opposite gate almost level with Nachhatar.
Everything changed on the second beat, with much more pressure on the right. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) rounded about tenth and took a long port tack before crossing back in front of the entire fleet. Mitakis on the left just recovered enough to round in second. Kljakovic Gaspic extended downwind in the lightening breeze to pick up the race win, while Mitakis just held off the fast approaching Flippo Baldassari (ITA).
A third race was attempted but was abandoned half way up the first beat as the wind started to finally fade away.
The results after five races look like a different regatta to yesterday. The top three this morning are now 8, 9 and 10 after some shocking results; overnight leader Rafael Trujillo (ESP) picked up a 21 and 20 to drop to eighth. But a string of consistent results has moved Baldassari from tenth to first, Zbogar rises from eighth to second and Poggi climbs from ninth to third.
In the juniors, Michal Jodlowski (POL) has extended his lead to 19 points after an excellent seventh in race five, while Dimitar Vangelov (BUL) has consolidated with two more great results to stay in second. Meanwhile, Junior World Champion, Arkadiy Kistanov (RUS) had a better day to climb to third, some 32 point further back.
Kljakovic Gaspic summed up his day, "It's been a crazy week so far. Really bad for me. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong, so I hope that's my bad luck for the whole year.
"There are still a few races to go and everything is possible. The points are very close, and everyone is high on points. So I'll never give up and will sail my best until the end."
After winning his second race Zbogar commented, "I feel a little bit better than yesterday as I made a few big mistakes yesterday. But today the boat was going a bit better especially when the wind picked up a little bit. The sail and the setting was incredible and the boat was very fast."
And the new regatta leader Baldassari said, "It was another day of very shifty and gusty conditions. I am really happy with my results and hope to continue like this."
Friday is the final day of the opening series, with three more races possible. With five races, the sailors now have a discard and the medal race will be sailed on Saturday for the top ten, while the rest of the fleet will sail a final race.
Fleet racing continues until Friday, with the medal race for the top 10 and the final race for the reest on Saturday 24th March.
Follow the racing on the liver blog each day at http://www.finneuropeans.org/ec2012/index.php/news-blog with Twitter feed from the media team and the sailors, photos, videos and much more. All you need to know in one place.