Open Europeans Helsinki - Racing challenge for fleets

Open Europeans Helsinki 2011, Laser Radial - Day 3: FIN188373 VOUTILAINEN Ida
Patrick Forsblom
Open Europeans 2011 are currently underway in Helsinki, Finland. Tuesday's racing posed quite a challenge for the fleets.

The Star class was able to finish two races smoothly, but the Laser Standard and Laser Radial experienced delays due to a tricky wind.

Sailors' nerves were put to the test due to the postponements. However, there were no major changes at the top in any of the classes.

With six races completed and a 21st in the last, Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia lost the lead in the Laser Standards. His compatriot Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) took the lead while Poland's Jonasz Stelmaszyk held 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 for me favoured the left.' admitted Stipanovic.

Amongst the strong Croatian Laser team, in Helsinki for the first of two Olympic selection event, competition is fierce.

Olympic medallist, Andreas Geritzer (AUT) is in fourth place after a race victory. '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', Geritzer said with a smile on his face.

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 airs. 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.

On 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 to be on top after seven races. Fernando Echavarri and Fernando Rodriguez Rivero of Spain are in the second place, with Japan's Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada holding third.

Open Europeans Helsinki website