Two horse race

Giogi versus Blu Moon going into the final day of the MKB Bank Melges 24 Europeans

Thursday May 8th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: Hungary

The MKB Bank Melges 24 European Championship 2014 hangs in the balance tonight after light winds meant only one race could be sailed on the penultimate day.

Just four points now separate the top two teams with two more races scheduled for tomorrow's final day.

Despite a promising morning breeze which greeted the competitors when they arrived at the pontoons today, only one race was possible on the fourth day of the championship.

That race started in a shifty 10 knots breeze which faded and became increasingly unstable throughout.

Andrea Racchelli on ITA 735 Altea made the best of the tricky conditions - leading at the windward mark and never being seriously challenged from there on.

After rounding the first mark in fourth place, David Rowen on GBR 557 Imagine fought his way up to second by the finish. Third was Franz Urlesberger on AUT 681 Schoenherr.

Lying in second place going into today, Matteo Balestrero on ITA 693 Giogi pulled up from sixth at the first windward mark to fourth at the finish - a significant result given that regatta leaders SUI 825 Blu Moon recorded their worst result so far with a 12th.

This fact, combined with the race committee's overnight removal of Balestrero's 20% Z-flag starting penalty from the previous day after realising a mistake had been made, means the Italian crew have closed the gap on Blu Moon at the top of the leaderboard to just four points.

Michael Schineis on AUT 716 PURE scored a win in the Corinthian division (no professionals allowed) - also finishing fifth in the main fleet.

Alfredo Capodanno on ITA 636 Marrakech Express was the second Corinthian, coming home seventh in the main fleet. Finish sailor Sami Ekblad on FIN 529 finished as third Corinthian.

Meanwhile, overall Corinthian leader Tonu Toniste on EST 790 Lenny struggled to an uncharacteristic Corinthian 18th, but still retains a significant lead in the division - 14 points over second placed Peter Warrer on DEN 779 Salty Dog who scored a Corinthian fourth today.

Third overall Corinthian is Kris Houmann on DEN 612 despite a Corinthian 13th today.

With just two races of the scheduled 10-race series to go the overall title looks likely to come down to a two-boat battle between the Blu Moon and Giogi.

However, with this pair currently discarding a 12 and an 11 respectively neither can afford a deep result tomorrow, particularly with Ian Ainslie on HUN 392 Strange Brew in third place and ready to pounce on any signs of stage fright from the top two.

With light winds forecast for the final day and a cut off for racing at 1400, the race committee have moved tomorrow's first race start time forward an hour to 1000 local time.

Full results here


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