19 March 2018
Ed Wright won his second Finn European title in Cádiz on Saturday after a spectacular medal race in high winds and huge waves that nearly resulted in the race being cancelled. Nicholas Heiner, from the Netherlands, had led all week, but several capsizes and a last place left him with the silver, while Max Salminen, from Sweden did enough to take the bronze, after placing second in the race.
The Final Race for the rest of the fleet was cancelled with sustained gusts well over 30 knots and huge seas. This meant that Nils Theuninck, from Switzerland, won the U23 European title, from last year’s winner, Henry Wetherell, from Britain, and Ondrej Teply, from Czech Republic in third.
The medal race started with an average windspeed of 24 knots gusting to 29. With the huge waves it was on the limit, but the Finn sailors wouldn’t have it any other way. The race was on and they loved the extreme challenge of survival against the elements.
Wright got off to a great start, on top of Heiner, but Brazil’s Jorge Zarif escaped at the pin end and led the fleet the entire race to cross the line with a comfortable lead. However he neglected to round the final downwind mark and was disqualified. Josh Junior, from New Zealand, and Salminen were chasing him down and Salminen just got through on the downwind to cross behind Zarif and Junior and take the bronze. Junior took the race win.
On his second European title, 12 years after the first, Wright said, “It was a crazy race. I saw Heiner capsize at the five-minute so then I realised everyone was having a hard time with the conditions not just me.”
“I knew I needed to nail the start which I did and immediately rolled Heiner, which was great and had good speed to extend. I tried to sail him back and still stay in contention, as I needed boats between us. I got an early gybe in on the first run and sailed the boat hard downwind and extended. By then it was a matter of keeping it upright.”
“The seas were massive and very difficult, but it was awesome sailing and awesome racing. I enjoyed every second. What a race. I am so happy to win the title again.”
Results after medal race (medal race in brackets)
1 GBR 11 Edward Wright 57 (5)
2 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 60 (9)
3 SWE 33 Max Salminen 71 (2)
4 NZL 24 Josh Junior 73 (1)