Laurent Hay, from France, has taken the lead at the 2023 Open and U23 Finn Europeans in Csopak, Hungary, after just one race was possible on the second day on Lake Balaton. Filipe Silva, from Portugal, moves up to second while Hungary’s Domonkos Nemeth drops to third. The race was won by Czech Republic’s Matouš Červenka, after a close battle with Attila Svastits, from Hungary.
One day made a huge difference to the conditions with strong winds and heavy rain swapped for light winds and sunshine, but though it was much more pleasant, it was equally as challenging for the 70 Finn sailors from 21 nations.
After a brief postponement, Race 3 got underway in 6-8 knots from the south-west straight over the top of the Tihany peninsula. Some went left and some went right, but both Červenka and Svastits started at the pin and went left to round first and second with Hungary’s Geza Huszar in third. Regatta leader, Nemeth, was one of those going right and he could only finish 15th.
Svastits took the lead on the downwind and maintained it on the second upwind, with Hay moving up to third. Then on the run to the finish, Červenka and Svastits split gybes and the Czech found more pressure on the right to just cross ahead at the bottom mark to take the win from Svastits and Hay.
A second race was attempted, but it was now getting quite hot, and the wind started to decrease. The race was abandoned half way up the first beat and the fleet sent home, with further racing abandoned an hour later as the lake turned to glass.
Červenka said of the win, “It was very easy. Every other sailor was going to the right. I went left and it happened, and I won. There was enough space for me on the left, I started there as it was my strategy, and I went for more pressure.
He took part in the training camps here over the past few weeks and it has clearly paid off. “I’m from Czech Republic. We race on small lakes with light and changing winds. For one month I was here in training with Zsomber Berecz and Ian Ainslie and this is the result. It was good for me. Before I came here, I didn’t know what to train, but the camps helped me a lot and clearly it worked. So, I’m very happy.”
This championship has also seen the return of the Serbian sailors, who have recently re-joined the Finn Class and are growing in numbers. Fürstner Bálint is sitting in 31st and Tihomir Zakic is in 48th.
Zakic explained, “I have been sailing the Finn for almost ten years. I came here because this is my other playground. We come here often, at least four or five time a year, because they have on start 30 to 50 Finns training. It’s not far away, for us, it’s just 200 km. In Serbia, we have 10 Finns sailing, and that’s when we get together, all of us.
“When I came to the Finn, I got one boat from the club, and there were not even three boats on the starting line. That was 2014, but after that, I managed to gather more and more people who had been sailing for a long time, like myself, and we all started sailing the Finn and we made the class. Two years ago, I think, we had 14-15 and that was a record, but today, two weeks ago, there was a competition in my lake, Lake Palic, and 21 people started.
“So, in our country now, we have a state championship in October, on the river Danube. The venue is good because in that part, the river then is 6 km wide, it’s like a lake. We are getting around now, there’s a couple of us, there should have been four of us. But the important thing is that we are growing and we’re here.”
Racing at Csopak is scheduled to continue Tuesday at 10.00 with more wind and more rain forecast. Seven more races are scheduled.
Results after 3 races
1 FRA 75 Laurent HAŸ 8
2 POR 21 Filipe SILVA 14
3 HUN 80 Domonkos NÉMETH 17
4 ITA 983 Alessandro MAREGA 19
5 GBR 74 Lawrence CRISPIN 27
6 HUN 911 Elemér Péter HAIDEKKER 28
7 RSA 1 Ian AINSLIE 35
8 FIN 201 Kristian SJÖBERG 42
9 HUN 50 Akos LUKATS 47
10 HUN 7 Székely ANTAL 51
Full Gallery here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/finnclassphotos/albums/72177720308303593