Fernandez and Giovanelli take European Finn titles

Miguel Fernandez Vasco from Spain has won the 2022 Open Finn European Championship after one final race was possible on the final day at Club Nàutic Hospitalet-Vandellòs, at Hospitalet de l’Infant, Spain.

Italy’s Giacomo Giovanelli won the 2022 Finn European Masters title, while Laurent Hay of France dropped to third overall on countback and second in the Masters, but won the Grand Masters.

A relieved and happy Miguel Fernandez Vasco – Robert Deaves pic

With an early start planned, to get two races in, the forecast finally proved correct and 25-35 knots of wind delayed racing until early afternoon. Then it promptly died when the fleet was sent out. Finally, a sea breeze developed and the final race was started just 15 minutes before the 15.00 hours cut off.

With only one race possible and only three points between them, Fernandez went on the offensive and after 10 circles, Hay bailed out and went back down the line and the had to play catch up. Both were deep at the top mark, but Fernandez still kept tabs on Hay. Hay finally got past on the final downwind, but did not have enough race track to make enough of an advance to overcome the Spaniard, who had led the regatta from Day 1.

Giacomo Giovaneilli won the Masters title – Robert Deaves pic

However, it was heartbreaking for Hay, as Giovanelli was clear of the trouble and ahead of both and crossed the line in fourth. It meant Giovanelli ended on equal points with Hay and took the European Masters title on countback.

Lawrence Crispin, from Britain, led the race all the way to the end of the second downwind, when Florian Faucheux (France), found the best side to sail through and took the win. Crispin crossed second, with Italy’s Matteo Iovenitti sailing another great race to cross third.

Fernandez described the race, “It was an intense race. The fight with Laurent was hard because there were only three points in between us. Hence we fought all through the race. In the end, he finished in front of me, but it wasn’t enough to beat me.

Laurent Hay placed third overall – Robert Deaves pic

“So, I am the new European champion. It’s so important for me, because 26 years ago Jose Maria van de Ploeg won the Finn Class European Championship here, the last time a Spanish sailor has won the title, so I am so happy for this.

“The Spanish nationals was a very good test event leading to the Europeans. We got to check the racing area. We had some good days with 10-12 knots, sometimes a bit less, but I think it’s a very good racing area for the Finn class.”

Finn Europeans podium – Robert Deaves pic

What next? “The intention is to continue my training towards Miami; there’s a possibility to rent a boat there. The Finn is a part of my life and it’s a fantastic boat all around.

“Conditions were good, the wind was a little shifty, but at the end, I’ve always figured out which side paid off the most. My speed is similar to the others fighting in the top 10. Laurent also had very good speed.

“I finished the Gold Cup in sixth place and after that result, I felt that I needed to compete in more races. I wanted to race the Europeans in Kiel, but the event was cancelled, so this title is special to me. There are a lot of people here who sailed the Olympics in the past, so the level is high and hopefully it will continue in the next years.”

Iovenitti said of the event, “The place is really cool, and we got lucky, even if the weather has been a bit uncertain for the whole event. We managed to do nearly every single race scheduled. The environment is always nice and friendly and here we are all friends. I’ve finally managed to race well after a long time!”

Race 7 – Robert Deaves pic

Giovanelli added, “As Matteo said, the Class is always friendly. On the water we are all a little bit more competitive, but onshore the environment is always very good.”

On growing the Class, he said, “It’s a tough question. For a younger individual it’s hard to begin with the Finn because of the cost, but it has to be said that it’s a long-lasting boat. Once you invest the first time then the boat lasts forever.

“I heard the Italian Association has a bought a new promotion boat to encourage new sailors into the Finn by lending it out for a season. I’m sure that whoever will try it, will stay within the Class. It’s just amazing, the boat is fantastic.”

The close of this Championship brings to an end a fantastic international championship season and 2023 already beckons with the Finn Gold Cup in Miami, the Open Europeans on Balaton, the World Masters in Greece, The Silver Cup on Como and the European Masters on Garda. There is a lot to look forward to in the coming year.

Final results
1 ESP 161 Miguel Fernandez Vasco 21
2 ITA 202 Giacomo Giovanelli 28
3 FRA 75 Laurent Hay 28
4 FRA 96 Florian Faucheux 38
5 NED 29 Bas De Waal 42
6 SUI 7 Christoph Burger 45
7 POR 21 Filipe Silva 51
8 ITA 1071 Matteo Iovenitti 56
9 FRA 61 David Huet 56
10 ESP 7 David Terol Albaladejo 64

European Masters Champion
Giacomo Giovanelli

Open European Championship
1 Miguel Fernandez Vasco ESP
2 Giacomo Giovanelli ITA
3 Laurent Hay FRA

Super Legends
1 Joop Wuijts NED

Legends
1 Peter Vollebregt NED
2 Filip Willems BEL
3 Gerardo Seeliger ESP

Great Grand Master
1 Kristian Sjoberg, FIN
2 Tom Dodson NZL
3 Fernando Bello POR

Grand Master
1 Laurent Hay FRA
2 Florian Faucheux FRA
3 Bas De Waal NED

Master
1 Giacomo Giovanelli ITA
2 Christoph Burger SUI
3 Filipe Silva POR

Full results at: https://www.cnhv.sailti.com/en/default/races/race-resultsall/text/finn-european-masters-eng-en/menuaction/race-toa

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