It was one of those perfect days on Lake Garda. A nice and constant breeze from Sirmione in the Southern end of the Lake allowed for the first two races of the Championship to be competed.
The Racing committee didn't get overawed with the 90 boats competing and laid a perfect starting line. Despite a rather short course (45 minutes in the first race and 55 in the second) and a crowded bottom mark, the 2001 Finn European Championship started with 2 highly competitive races. At the end of the day, 3 of the favourites share the first place.
Emilios Papathanasiou, winner of the Riva Cup in March, took the lead in the first race after an impressive start at the pin end of the line. Tacking to the left and getting first to the top mark, the Greek increased his lead to win the first race quite easily in front of Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Pascal Rambeau (FRA). In 4th position was Swiss sailor and sailmaker, Christoph Burger, followed by Soren Holm. The young Dane, 3rd in Kiel is a newcomer in the class after only 3 months in the Finn, very popular boat in his home country.
After a similar start on an even and impressive line of 90 Finns across the Lake, Spanish sailor, Rafael Trujillo took the lead of the second race before being caught up by Sebastien Godefroid on the run. The 1996 Silver Medallist and Belgacom Trimaran crew conserved his lead to win the race in front of "Rafa". Third was Michael Fellmann (GER) followed by Andrew Simpson (GBR) and Mateusz Kusznierewicz.
"It will be a very difficult regatta to win. Speed being the most important factor, and tactics very predictable" declared Sebastien Godefroid.
After two races, Emilios Papathanasiou, Sebastien Godefroid and Mateusz Kusznierewicz are sharing the lead of the championship. Pascal Rambeau (FRA), Andrew Simpson (GBR) and Christoph Burger (SUI) and Michael Fellmann (GER) only a few points behind. The first Junior is Chris Brittle in 10th places.
A very special mention goes to "ex-Dutch coach" and ex-new Finn sailor Jaap Zielhuis who celebrated today his 35th birthday with a 19 and a 8.
More blue sky, sun and wind are expected for tomorrow.
Results after Two Races.
1.Sebastien Godefroid. BEL. 7 points
2.Emilios Papathanasioo. GRE. 7 points
3. Mateusz Kusznierewicz. POL. 7 points.
4. Pascal Rambeau. FRA. 10 points.
5. Andrew Simpson. GBR. 12 points.