The largest ever Finn Europeans was officially opened Monday evening at the YC Labud in Split, Croatia on the shores of the Adriatic. The opening ceremony was held on Monday evening in front of the club.
After the Croatian flag was raised by the 2009 Laser Radial European Champion, Tina Mihelic, from YC Labud, the President of YC Labud, Mira Boban, welcomed all the sailors and guests to the championship. “On behalf of the club, I would like to welcome everyone to Split and I hope you all have a pleasant stay during the next week. We have a record entry of more than 100 sailors from 28 nations and I would like to thank everyone that has helped put this event together including all the sponsors and the city of Split for their invaluable help.”
Regatta Director Karlo Kuret spoke next. “The Finn is such as class that everyone is already focused on the competition itself and are already preparing for the six days ahead and after 11 races we will find out the real quality of what is happening in the class at the moment. The Finn is the oldest Olympic dinghy class and Split has a outstanding tradition and I'm very proud to have so many competitors competing here in Split. I'm sure the organisers will do all they can to ensure the best quality racing possible.”
IFA President Balazs Hajdu commented, “It's a pleasure and a great honour for the Finn class to return to Split which is one our bases for major Finn events over the years. Such events and such venues are very important for the Finn class and having a look around I see many bright and athletic sailors here and see that our class in in good shape.”
Then the Deputy Mayor of Split, Ms Anđelka Visković declared the event open. She said, “It's an honour to welcome you all to Split on behalf of the Mayor and the city of Split. Thank you to the organisers for bringing yet another very important championship to Split.”
Earlier in the afternoon a practice race was started, though many boats did their own thing. The conditions were just perfect with 12-15 knots and blue skies and nice waves, though everyone headed in after one lap.
The high entry is evidence of the growing numbers worldwide. Each nation has set quota for places based on its membership levels, so the high entry is the result of growing membership in many of the member nations.
Flight cancellations across Europe on Saturday delayed the arrival of several of the Jury members officiating here. Chairman of the Jury Ralph Roberts and his wife were were stuck in Vienna for 12 hours before being diverted to Zagreb where they had to catch the bus to Split, arriving at 3.00 am. Marianne Middelthon from Norway had a similar delayed journey, taking 30 hours to finally arrive in Split on Monday afternoon. But everyone has now arrived and the racing can start.
Racing starts Tuesday at 12.00 with two races scheduled for each of the next five days before the medal race for the top 10 and the final fleet race for the rest.