The Italian Job – Giovanelli wins both races on Day 3 of Finn Europeans

Italy’s Giacomo Giovanelli did the seemingly impossible and won both races on the third day of the 2022 Open Finn European Masters at Club Nàutic Hospitalet-Vandellòs, at Hospitalet de l’Infant, Spain.

However, Spain’s Miguel Fernandez Vasco again extended his lead at the top to three points, from Laurent Hay of France while Giovanelli moves up to third.

After an early morning thunderstorm offshore, the offshore wind was not as strong as expected and died as soon as the fleet arrived on the course. An hour later a sea breeze had built and two more races were sailed.

Miguel Fernandez Vasco extended his lead – Robert Deaves pic

The day belonged to Giovanelli, leading at virtually every mark and taking two decisive race wins to move him up to third overall.

In the first race, he had the course to himself, sailing away from the fleet and enjoying a big win from Portugal’s Filipe Silva and Christoph Burger from Switzerland. Some of the leading boats were buried on the first beat, but Fernandez managed to extract himself from the 30s to cross ninth, while Hay couldn’t quite find the lanes and crossed 18th.

Filipe Silva could not catch Miguel Fernandez Vasco – Robert Deaves pic

Then in the second race, a crowded pin end start left a few boats floundering, while Hay started well. However, Giovanelli emerged from the right in better shape to lead downwind. He was challenged on the final downwind by fellow Italian, Matteo Iovenitti, who took the lead halfway down the leg.

However, Hay then picked up a jury penalty to allow Giovanelli to take the second gun of the day and his third of the week. Iovenitti crossed second with France’s Florian Faucheux in third.

Burger is up to sixth overall. He said, “The forecast predicted a pretty strong northerly, also called ‘Tramontana’ or ‘Mistral’ but that didn’t really happen. We were called out on the water in a dying northerly breeze and then the sea breeze took it’s time to get going.

“The first race we started in a marginal 5 knots I would say. I had a great start. I got the first right shift and I managed to take third from there so that one was really good.

Christoph Burger moved up the rankings – Robert Deaves pic

“During the second race the wind built up a little bit but not quite quickly enough to be fully hiking. Again, one of these rather difficult starts and first beats. The left was paying, so I wanted to go there. I stayed in the top 10 all the way through. Then I had a few hiccups, but I think no one really gets around these days without a few, it’s only about having a few less.”

On the event, “I think the Spanish club and the Finn class did a great job putting the event together.

“We are still in finding our way after the Olympics, so I think that will be the future of the events, Juniors and Masters together, which is not really a problem. We are having a great time here, we are getting taken care of, the weather is great and it’s a good time of the year for most of us to join these events, so hopefully we can do a few more in the future.”

Sinan Sumer has returned to Finn competition after a 25 year break – Robert Deaves pic

Sinan Sumer, from Turkey, is sailing his first Finn event since 1997. He was also here in 1996 at the Junior Europeans and remembers it well.

“I sailed the Finn Class until 1997, then I stopped for a while. In 1996, I came to Hospitalet de L’Infant for the Junior European Championship and now, after 25 years, this is my first event. The Finn Class is always on my mind, in my blood and now I find the opportunity to come back to these events. I am very happy to be here again after such a long time.

“I had the chance to train two months before coming here, so it’s like riding a bicycle, you know, but the muscles are crying a little bit. It is such a good feeling, to sail alone, feel the boat. Conditions here are very nice, and the wind is not so strong. For beginning sailing again, it’s such a good place for me and it’s going better than I expected.

With one day and two races left in the Championship, it is still wide open at the top. Both Fernandez and Hay had difficult days, with the Spaniard showing great form to recover from bad first beats.

A scene from Race 5 – Robert Deaves pic

Though only three points separate them, Fernandez has the upper hand, though in the challenging winds of Hospitalet de l’Infant it’s not over until it’s over, with a few boats close enough behind to catch them if they have enough hiccups.

The championship concludes on Saturday local time with a possible two races left to sail.

Top five results after 6 races
1 ESP 161 Miguel Fernandez Vasco 12
2 FRA 75 Laurent Hay 15
3 ITA 202 Giacomo Giovanelli 24
4 FRA 96 Florian Faucheux 37
5 NED 29 Bas De Waal 37

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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