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28 August 2009, 09:00 am
Croatia Dominating Finn Europeans As Gaspic Sails Away
Action from the startling line during Thursday's racing
Action from the startling line during Thursday's racing in Varna

AGB Finance Finn European Championship 2009
Varna, Bulgaria

Two victories collected by Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic on the fourth day of the 2009 Finn European Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, give the Croat a safe 21 points lead on his opponents.
The next racing day promises to be intense for Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic's (CRO) closest rivals, as only five points separate second to sixth. Team Skandia GBR sailors Giles Scott and ISAF Sailing World Cup leader Ed Wright are on equal points and only one point from Tapio Nirkko (FIN), four from Marin Misura (CRO) and five from Pieter-Jan Postma (NED).

The wind was light to medium and shifty, but provided good racing. "The wind oscillated no more than 10 degrees and averaged 8 to 10 knots" explained PRO Peter Reggio. "Under these conditions it was important to give the sailors a fair start. We postponed the start twice during the procedure to have a fair line. After a general recall the fleet went under black flag but everybody was clear."

"I had a good start on the left of the line and went to the middle" explains Gaspic. "Marin Misura was in first, just in front of me. I was very fast on the run and passed Misura. I sailed conservatively most of the time controlling the fleet." Scott sailed up into second, in front of Misura and Andrew Mills (GBR).

Gaspic didn't stop there, taking the second race of the day by an impressive margin. "It was very tactical, I sailed up the middle again and could see half of the fleet on the left with more pressure, but I had clear wind and great speed. I decided to control the sailors on the right and keep an eye on the left. I was very patient, until I could see I was clearly in front. When I got fresh wind from the right, I increased my lead to 70 meters by the top mark.

"I gained even more ground on the run. Pieter-Jan Postma was impressive on the second beat, and got me worried for some time. He rounded the bottom mark in 7th place and was second at the top. At one time, it looked like he could pass me, but again I waited patiently in the middle of the course. Finally I kept a good lead on him, but he also had a good lead on the others by the top mark."

Gaspic goes into the last day of racing, before the Medal Race, with a 21 points lead. He is number #1 on the ISAF World Rankings, took the bronze at the 2009 Finn Gold Cup and won the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères.

Tomas Vika (CZE) remains at the top of the Junior classification, closely followed by Filippo Baldassari (ITA). Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) is now third Junior. They are placed in 24th, 25th and 26th positions. Jakub Pasik (POL) and Josip Olujic (CRO) are their main threat in 27th and 28th places!!

The last two races in the fleet racing are scheduled for Friday. That will be the last chance for sailors to break into the top ten, before the Medal Race.

Results - click here

Corinne Rolland-McKenzie
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