New Laser leader

At the multi-Olympic class European championships in Finland

Tuesday July 5th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Finland

Tuesday proved to be a challenging day at the multi-class European Championships in Helsinki, Finland. The Star class was able to finish two races, but the Laser and Laser Radial experienced delays due to tricky wind conditions. Sailors' nerves were put to a test because of the postponements but in the end there were no major changes at the top in any of the classes.

With six races completed culminating in a 21st in the last, Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia has lost the lead in the Laser Standards. His compatriot Milan Vujasinovic has claimed first place with Poland's Jonasz Stelmaszyk third.

"I was expecting the wind to go right, so I started at the Committee boat, but today was different, the wind was light and shifty and unfortunately the left was favoured," admitted Stipanovic.

The battle is fierce for the strong Croatian Laser team, as Helsinki is the first of their two Olympic selection events.

Olympic medallist, Austrian Andreas Geritzer is in fourth place after a race victory today: "The conditions were tricky today, mostly because of the changing wind. But I'm happy with the way I performed. Tomorrow is another day, and the gold race is like a new beginning. I just want to avoid mistakes and enjoy Finland."

In the Laser Radials, Evi Van Acker of Belgium is the woman to beat right now. Van Acker who won Silver in both Sail for Gold in Weymouth and at the Delta Lloyd Regatta is showing she can also perform well in the lighter stuff. She is being chased by China's Lijia Xu and Spain's Alicia Cebrian. Local Sari Multala, who celebrated her 33rd birthday today, is currently 13th.

Wednesday the Lasers will sail their final stage in Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets for the Men and Gold and Silver for the Women.

In the Star class, Greece's Emilios Papathanasiou and Alexandros Dragoutsis continue at the top after seven races. Fernando Echavarri and Fernando Rodriguez Rivero of Spain are in the second place, whereas Japan's Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada hold third.

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