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Giles Scott crosses the finish line in the medal race to take the European title
Please see corrections in first paragraph

Giles Scott and Joan Cardona secure European titles, while USA and Greece secure Tokyo 2020 qualification on final day at Finn Europeans in Athens


Giles Scott secured his third European Finn title in Athens today after holding off world champion Zsombor Berecz, from Hungary, on the final day of the Finn Open European Championship. Andy Maloney, from New Zealand, took second overall, while Berecz took third and European Silver. Fifth placed Nicholas Heiner, from the Netherlands, took the European bronze medal while Joan Cardona, from Spain, won the U23 European title.

It was the day of reckoning in Athens, with two European titles to decide and two places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Despite the forecasts of wind in the morning, the sun beat down on a calm Saronic Gulf for most of the day. The cut-off for the warning signal for the Final Race was 15.00 and at 14.30, with signs of wind further offshore, the race team moved position and set a course with a start at 14.55.

Inevitably this was a general recall, which was quickly turned around with a new warning signal at 14.57, with just three minutes left. This start got away cleanly, with a left shift soon after the start.
Day 6 Highlights
Top 10
After losing his Olympic trials on Friday, Pieter-Jan Postma, from The Netherlands, wanted to go out on a high, in his last race in the class, and, judging the port layline perfectly rounded in first and led all the way to claim the race victory, a fitting end to 14 years campaigning the Finn. It was a beautiful and poignant moment when he crossed the line, way ahead of the fleet, a supreme talent in the Finn class and one of the most popular sailors in the fleet.

Behind him the battle for the two places in Tokyo was heating up. Johanes Pettersson, from Sweden sailed a great race to cross in second, while 2016 Rio bronze medalist, Caleb Paine, crossed in third to secure a place for the USA in Tokyo.

Nils Theuninck crossed in ninth thinking he had secured a place for Switzerland in Tokyo but the elation turned to heartbreak when he was later disqualified after a mark rounding incident at the first windward mark. This meant that Ioannis Mitakis, who finished just behind in 12th, took the fourth place available here in Tokyo, for Greece.

So USA and Greece join Brazil and Norway as the four nations that qualified for Tokyo 2020 decided this week. Six more places are available from the continental qualifiers starting with the World Cup in Enoshima in August.
Giles Scott and Zsombor Berecz
Joan Cardona
Paine said, “It was a challenging day with the points really close. We had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Fortunately I started in a good spot and it shifted in my direction.”

On the regatta, “I struggled on the first beats in this event. I couldn’t really catch a break but across the rest of the course definitely had good speed. Improving on that first best strategy is definitely something to work on.”

Now USA has qualified for Tokyo, “It’s nice to finally get the ball rolling in the right direction.”

For Mitakis, the relief at qualifying came after the jury decisions on Theuninck.

“I am really happy qualifying Greece, It was a big goal and nice to happen now so I have plenty of time to prepare myself, or whoever will go, as we have not had the national trials yet.”

“I am proud to qualify my country in Greece. It was hard because the wind was not what we expected and not what we are used to and also there was a bit more pressure for everyone as everyone wanted to qualify in Greece.”

The medal race started soon after with the possibility of a match race among the front-runners. Maloney escaped to the right soon after the start, which left Scott locked in combat with Berecz. Scott slowed him and inflicted some match racing moves and a penalty to drag them both to the back of the fleet. Berecz had to beat Scott by eight places to take the title, but the title was as good as Scott’s from the first mark as they rounded some way behind the fleet.

At the front, Maloney took advantage of this and was soon in the lead to take the race win from Facundo Olezza, from Argentina and Alican Kaynar, from Turkey. Kaynar made a great move at the end to move into third, but it wasn’t enough to take the Europeans bronze away from Heiner.
Top 5 U23
Scott said, “It wasn’t really the plan, but the medal race entailed me and Zsombor going at it a little bit, in a bit of match race which was good fun. Fortunately I managed to get the better of him after the first cross.”

“Zsombor was the only guy that could beat me, so I felt I had to go and be aggressive. It’s never nice sailing someone out of a position they had fought hard to be in but you have to work hard to protect your own position.”

But still friends afterwards. “Absolutely. The fleet is great like that. I like to think we are all good sportsmen and respect each other well, and I’ve also got a lot of respect for the week that Zsombor and Andy have put together. They are very deserving of the medals they got.”

On winning his third European title “It’s a great place to be. Winning a third title is amazing, but ultimately it’s all about what is happening in 18 months time. Every event and every training is trying to build towards that, so this is one little step along that journey to Tokyo.”

“It’s great to come here and great to win but always a lot of work to do.”

In the U23 European Championship, Joan Cardona took the title after sailing an excellent week and finished as top Spanish sailor, and just two places short of securing a Tokyo place. Second place went to Henry Wetherell, from Britain with Theuninck dropping to third.

It has been a fantastic European Championship in Athens, with great hospitality from everyone. Many of the sailors had been here training through the winter and in the weeks before the championship. The welcome from the Hellenic Sailing Federation and the local people has been amazing, and the sailing base at the Athens International Sailing Center is a perfect location for running a major regatta. It surely has a great future as a major regatta venue.

You can watch all the live converge again and follow the tracking through YouTube and SailRacer. All the links are on the event website 2019.finneuropeans.org.
 
Final results (medal race in brackets)
1   GBR 41  Giles SCOTT  48  (10)
2  NZL 61  Andy MALONEY  52  (1)
3   HUN 40  Zsombor BERECZ  61  (9)
4   ARG 48  Facundo OLEZZA  84  (2)
5   NED 89  Nicholas HEINER  97  (8)
6   TUR 21  Alican KAYNAR  98  (3)
7   BRA 109  Jorge ZARIF  111  (4)
8   NZL 24  Josh JUNIOR  111  (6)
9   NOR 1  Anders PEDERSEN  112  (5)
10   GBR 11  Edward WRIGHT  114  (7)
 
Full results here: http://www.eio.gr/athens-international-sailing-center/item/5042-finn-2019-european-championship-results
Pieter-Jan Postma
HOW TO FOLLOW THE FINN EUROPEANS

VENUE

The 2019 Open Finn European Championship is being hosted by the Hellenic Sailing Federation in Athens, Greece. The sailing base is the Athens International Sailing Center.

SCHEDULE
Friday 10 May – Sunday 12 May / Measurement/Registration
Saturday 11 May / Opening Ceremony
Sunday 12 May / Practice Race
Monday 13 May – Friday 17 May / 10 Races Scheduled
Saturday 18 May / Medal Race and Final Race
Saturday 18 May / Closing Ceremony & Prize Giving

PRESS RELEASES
The Finn Class will release international press releases each day during the event. Sign up to receive these at: http://www.finnclass.org/media-finn/newsletter-a-press-release

MEDIA REGISTRATION
Visiting media are requested to notify the OA of their arrival by completing this form.

LIVE FEED
There will be a daily live feed available through the YouTube channel on eio.gr.

TRACKING
Racing with be tracked each day with Sailracer here: http://finn.sailracer.org.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
Daily highlights will be produced by Beau Outteridge Productions and available on the Finn Class YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/thefinnchannel and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalFinnClass/

All highlights, and all other Finn Class videos, can easily be found at finnclass.org/Finn-tv

VNR
VNR highlights will be available to download from the Finn Class Googledrive here.

Interviews of sailors in English and home language will be carried out on demand only and made available for download, subject to schedules and available time. Please send requests to Robert Deaves.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Daily photo galleries will be posted on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalFinnClass/

Flickr: flickr.com/finnclassphotos (Full galleries – medium resolution)

Selected high resolution imagery will be available here to download from the World Sailing Photoshelter site using the password WSimages. Images are free for editorial use and must be credited accordingly.

All photos are free of rights for editorial use only, with credit to photographer.

For specific requests please contact Robert Deaves robert (at) finnclass.org

SOCIAL MEDIA
Follow the event through the Finn Class Social Media Channels

Hashtags for the event are: #finneuros #finnclass

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalFinnClass/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/finnclass/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Finn_Class

Event Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/2019-Finn-European-Championship-237633433830063/

ENTRIES
A list of all entries can be found here: http://2019.finneuropeans.org/entries/

RESULTS
Results will be posted here: http://2019.finneuropeans.org/results/

DOCUMENTS
All event documents will be posted here: http://2019.finneuropeans.org/category/onb/

Please watch this page on the Event Website for any updates to this information.

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