YC Labud, Split, Croatia, 8-16 May
Split in Croatia could be regarded as one of the Finn classes’ favourite venues. In recent times, this picturesque Adriatic port has staged the Europeans in 1997, the World Masters in 2002 and the Finn Gold Cup in 2006. In 2010 the city will host two major Finn events. At the end of May the World Masters will return again, and next week the YC Labud will host the 2010 Finn Open Junior and Senior European Championships.
An all-time record entry of 101 sailors from 27 nations will be competing, including three former European Champions. The defending champion is Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), though with all but one of the top 25 world ranked sailors attending it will be a tough call for him to take the title for a second year.
His main home competition comes from local sailor Marin Misura (CRO), who with wins at the Split Olympic Week and in Hyeres last week, is bound to be brimming with confidence.
Arguably the other main favourite has to be Ed Wright (GBR). With wins at the Rolex Miami OCR and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre this year, Wright is producing better results than anyone else in the fleet and baring a major mishap should be in with a chance come the medal race on Sunday week.
In fact, any of the impressively strong Skandia Team GBR could be in the medal race. Giles Scott (GBR), second in Miami, Andrew Mills (GBR) and Mark Andrews (GBR) have all won races at grade 1 events this year and skipped Hyeres to prolong their training in Split to prepare for this event.
Other favourites to look for include: Rafa Trujillo (ESP), 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2007 World Champion; Pieter Jan Postma (NED); Gasper Vincec (SLO), third in Miami this year; Dan Slater (NZL), runner up, 2008 Finn Gold Cup; Rafal Szukiel (POL); Jonathan Lobert (FRA); and Thomas Le Breton (FRA).
Both Lobert and Le Breton have been training hard together and the results are starting to pay off. Lobert won races in both Miami and Hyeres, while Le Breton took the bronze at Hyeres last week.
This event also brings the return of Karlo Kuret (CRO), a four time Olympian in the Finn and part of the event organisation, though he has not raced a major Finn regatta since the 2004 Olympics.
Other race winning potential comes from: Eduard Skornyakov (RUS), 2007 European Champion; Deniss Karpak (EST), his second season and improving all the time; Tapio Nirkko (FIN), runner up at the Europeans last year; Giorgio Poggi (ITA); Peer Moberg (NOR); and Bryan Boyd (USA). In addition there are lots of new faces and talented sailors joining the class, so there could well be a few surprises along the way as well.
In the very strong Junior fleet, the defending champion is Ioannis Mitakis (GRE). He is also probably the favourite to take a second title after an outstanding performance in Hyeres where he placed in the top 10 for most of the week.
Measurement and registration opens Friday with the practice race on Monday 10th May. Ten races are scheduled between Tuesday and Saturday with the medal race for the top 10 and the final fleet race for the rest on Sunday 16th May.
You can follow the event on the Finn class event blog, Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube site as well as through the regular press releases.
Class blog: http://finnclass.blogspot.com/
Class Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Finn-Class/110408332633
Class video site: www.youtube.com/thefinnchannel
Class Twitter page: http://twitter.com/Finn_Class
Class website: www.finnclass.org
Event website: http://jklabud.hr/finn-europeans-2010