Giles Scott (GBR) leads the 2014 Finn Europeans in La Rochelle from defending champion Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and Tapio Nirkko (FIN) after two great races on the second day of the competition.
Three races were planned for the second day following a frustrating opening day but with sailors going afloat at 10:00 and returning at gone 18:00 only two were possible.
The wind had brought with it cloud and rain and everyone had had enough for one day.
Scott who took two bullets summed up the day, "The big thing today was the starting. It was very difficult to get the fleet off the line, so early on in the day it was about surviving the black flag. Fortunately I managed to do that, and then about 15.00 the wind came in and we ended up with two pretty good races.
"I didn't have the best of starts today but managed to dig myself out for a decent windward mark rounding. Then I managed to pull through in both to win, which was great for me."
It took 11 starts to get race 1 away, and that took the best part of two days. Three starts on Monday were followed by another eight in total including a race that was abandoned at the gate because of a major wind shift. As soon as the sailors arrived on the course area it was clear there was going to be a delay. The first few starts took their toll with another 23 sailors picking up a black flag to add to the 11 from Monday. These 34 sailors just had to sit and wait for the rest to finally get a race in before they could re-join the fleet.
Eventually a race got away and everyone thought the curse had been lifted. Gordon Lamphere (USA) led round the top mark from Zsombor Berecz (HUN) and Laurent Hay (FRA). But the wind had shifted so far to the left that the run became a reach and the race was abandoned as the leaders passed through the gate.
Three more starts later and the wind had finally swung to its forecast direction and was beginning to build. Oscar was raised at the first top mark and stayed up for the remainder of the day as the wind built to 14-15 knots before easing off in the early evening.
When race 1 got underway, Tapio Nirkko (FIN) made the best of the start at the pin end to lead round the top mark from Berecz, Giles Scott (GBR) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED).
Nirkko held on to his lead downwind and up the second beat, but on the final upwind mark, Scott was up to second and took the lead at the end of the final run to cross the line in first for the gun. With Berecz over at the start, Nirkko took second and Zbogar third.
It only took two starts to get race 2 away, with the second start under black flag clear. This time there were no disqualifications. Again those from the pin made the best of the upwind with Zbogar rounding neck and neck with Ed Wright (GBR), just ahead of Nirkko, Piotr Kula (POL) and Thomas Le Breton (FRA). Wright, Kula and Le Breton had all been black flagged in the first race.
Zbogar stole a march on the first downwind and looked to have the race sown up. rounding the gate with a sizeable lead. However, Scott was soon up to second and ground him down on the second beat to close the gap. Scott finally passed Zbogar just metres from the final downwind mark, to round ahead and lead down the short reach to the finish for a perfect score for the day. Zbogar crossed in second with a very happy Kula in third.
On starting in a big fleet Scott commented, "It's so difficult. Ultimately you need to be on that leading line to get a good start, because if you get a bad start in a 100 boat fleet it's an absolute nightmare. So you just have to be careful about managing if you can be seen, if you think you're over and being very quick to pull the plug if you think you are going to be over.
"Today I managed to get to the windward mark in good contention with the leaders and I had good downwind speed."
On the first run of race 2, "Vasilij was just gone. He went round in that leading bunch and and the likes of Ed and Thomas didn't see the gate and gybed off and Vasilij had a nice clear run down. He was launched. I clawed him back a little on the second beat and managed to get him on the run."
Having taken the lead in both races on the final downwind, was he saving his energy for the final leg? "I seemed to come good on the last run. There was no more effort, maybe less actually. So I wouldn't say I was holding back, it just managed to come good today."
The defending Junior European Champion Peter McCoy (GBR) had a great day with a 23, 22 to sit in 12th overall. He commented on remaining focussed when the conditions were difficult. "It's difficult, but the aim is just to stay focussed and keep doing all your routines. If you can do that then you're likely to perform your best. I was pleased to get two good races in."
Even though two of his main competitors were among those black flagged, "It's still early days. I am sure they'll be putting the pressure on later in the week. It's going to be about who is most consistent throughout the week. Being 12th after the first day is a good start, after a pretty difficult two days and a long time on the water."
In the Junior Championships, McCoy leads Philip Kasuke (GER) who is 15th and Anders Pedersen (NOR) in 19th.
Racing continues on Wednesday at 11.00.