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21 July 2014, 01:57 pm
Ferrarese Claims Open European Match Racing Championship
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EUROSAF Open Match Racing European Championship
Swinoujscie, Poland

Simonne Ferrarese from Italy defeated Eric Monnin from Switzerland in a very closely fought Open European Match Racing Championship, held in ?winouj?cie, Poland.
Twelve European teams came to ?winouj?cie to compete for the Match Racing Open European Championship title, which was sailed using a fleet of TOM28 keelboats, provided by Polish Match Tour.

After the first day of qualifying rounds, with 21 matches sailed in a very solid breeze, two skippers remained undefeated. Ferrarese from Italy won 4 matches and Swiss sailor Monnin 3 of 3 sailed.

"Sailing here is terrific, lots of calls, plenty of action and quite a few penalties, it is a very challenging venue. Today was not the best of results for us, but we hope it will get better, eventually! ?winouj?cie is a fantastic venue, with a great atmosphere and lots of spectators. We'll see how it goes," said Johnie Berntsson from Stena Sailing Team, during press conference at the end of day one.

The second day of the European Championship (Friday) in ?winouj?cie was rather cloudy, with a strong breeze building throughout the day. It was perhaps the worst day in the match racing career of Przemyslaw Tarnacki (POL), who caused two serious collisions, collected minus points twice, and finished day two in last place. Eric Monnin remained the dominant force throughout the second day and continued to top the qualifying scoreboard. Unfortunately, due to the strong breeze gusting up to 38 knots, the Race Committee was forced to finish racing early, with some matches in the Round Robin series left to be completed on Saturday.

After nearly three days of qualifications, which were full of protests, penalties and collisions, the Round Robin was finally over.

Due to time constraints and the weather forecast, the Race Committee decided to cancel the quarter-finals and to proceed straight to semi-final stage. Eric Monnin, as the Round Robin winner, chose Johnnie Berntsson as his opponent, leaving the other semi-final pair as Simonne Ferrarese verses Tomislav Basic. The semi-finals were the first to two wins and due to the weather did not get underway until the late afternoon. By the end of the day the results were 1-1 between Monnin and Berntsson and Ferrarese and Basic, leaving two deciding semi-final matches to be sailed on the last day of Championship. Johnie Berntsson received a black flag during the prestart of his heat, so it was Eric Monnin who qualified for the final. Ferrarese won against Basic and joined Monnin in the final.

In the petite finale Johnie Berntsson (SWE) won against Tomislav Basic (CRO) and took third place and the bronze medal of the 2014 EUROSAF Match Racing, Open European Championship.

The final was the first to three wins and after four races the result was 2-2. In the fifth and final heat of the final it was Italian crew of Simonne Ferrarese, who took the initiative and went on to win and become European Champion, with Eric Monnin as the runner up.

"I am extremely happy with the outcome of this championship," said Simonne Ferrarese. "This is my first win in Poland, and already a European Champion tittle! My crew worked very hard for four days. It was a very successful event for us. Now we are going to celebrate."

Final results of the Polskie LNG, EUROSAF Match Racing, Open European Championship:

Position Skipper Nation

1 Simonne Ferrarese SWE
2 Eric Monnin SUI
3 Johnie Berntsson ITA
4 Tomislav Basic CRO
5 Mati Sepp EST
6 Arthur Herreman FRA
7 Antii Luhta FIN
8 Marek Sta?czyk POL
9 Felix Ochme GER
10 Niklas Deckhammar SWE
11 Przemek Tarnacki POL
12 Philip Bendon * IRL
John Friend
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