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Donaghdee's McClleland Lying Mid Fleet as Wright Opens Finn Euros With Two Race Wins

9th May 2017
Each of the first two races of the Finn Euros started with one general recall and then the black flag Each of the first two races of the Finn Euros started with one general recall and then the black flag Photo: Robert Deaves

A 28 and a 32 scored at the 53–boat Finn 2017 European Open Championships leave Ireland's Oisin McClleland from Donaghdee Sailing Club in 29th overall. The Northern Ireland solo sailor is competing at the Yachting Club de la Pointe Rouge, Marseille, France. The competition includes an Under–23 division. 

Ed Wright from Great Britain opened the 2017 Championship with two emphatic race wins after a strong mistral kept the fleet on shore for most of the day. France's Jonathan Lobert was consistent with two fourth places to sit in second, while two fifth places for Anders Pedersen of Norway leaves him in third overnight.

After the practice race was abandoned yesterday, the mistral was still in place for the first full day of racing and though the early indication was that racing would start on time, this was soon rethought as gusts of 37 knots and a very steep sea was recorded on the race area. So the fleet sat on shore under AP under mid afternoon, when finally the wild wind abated slightly, but enough to get some racing underway, though the wind was still topping out at 30 knots.

Each race started with one general recall and then the black flag. The race was really one of two halves: in the starting area big waves and 25 knot winds; at the top mark, 10 knots, flat water and 60 degree shifts, with the windward mark set a few hundred metres of the high ground of L'ile de Pomegues.

The first race was initially led by class veteran Rob McMillan, now of Australia, who had a 30 second lead round the top mark. However his training partner, Wright, had taken the lead on the second upwind to extend down the reaches for his first win of the day, followed by Hungarian Zsombor Berecz and Ben Cornish of Great Britain.

The second race was much the same with the strong winds at the start line giving way to huge random shifts the further the fleet progressed up the course. This time Wright led all the way round, to win from Sweden's Max Salminen and the young Nenad Bugarin from Croatia.

The fleet finally came ashore after 19.00, exhausted, but happy after an awesome day of Finn sailing.

Racing in the opening series continues until Saturday, with the Semi-final and Final scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Top ten after two races
1. Edward Wright, GBR, 2
2. Jonathan Lobert, FRA, 8
3. Anders Pedersen, NOR, 10
4. Max Salminen, SWE, 11
5. Ben Cornish, GBR, 11
6. Zsombor Berecz, HUN, 12
7. Milan Vujasinovic, CRO, 17
8. Oliver Tweddell, AUS, 19
9. Ioannis Mitakis, GRE, 21
10. Henry Wetherell, GBR, 21

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