A NEW FINNISH CHAMPION!
From Tomi Hakola in Finland - What a weekend! The Finnish Open Championships in Vaasa offered the fleet everything possible - from light winds under blue skies to strong winds with gusts over 15 m/s in pouring rain. Ten Finnish Melges 24 teams made their way to the city of Vaasa on the west coast of Finland. The championship title, "Pohjola Trophy", was open for the 6th time. During the past five years Team Suunto has been unbeatable.
Friday started in the command of Suunto - they took 3 wins in the three races. Only three points behind Jaguar X-Type. Saturday gave the fleet shifting winds in three races. Suunto, Jaguar X and S Type took one win. After day two the championship title was going to Team Suunto. They were leading with 3 points to Jaguar X-Type.
But Sunday gave the Melges 24 fleet what the weather forecast promised -strong winds from NE with a velocity of 10 to 15 m/s with gusts going over 15 m/s. All but Lainisalo sailed to the starting area. Everything looked ok after the first beat up to the windward mark. All boats rounded the spreader mark, Suunto leading and right after them Jaguar X-Type. All boats got their spinnakers up and off they went blasting downwind. Only about 500 metres from the spreader mark came a strong gust. BANG - the mast of Suunto came down and Jaguar X-Type made "a ten point" broach. The hunt for the 6th Championship title for Suunto was dramatically over in 2 seconds! The rest of fleet stuggled to the end. Besides Suunto losing their mast the jib of Pirjo was ripped totally. After the first race of Sunday 4 boats retired from the race leaving only 4 boats on the race course. The last race went off in LOTS of wind. Joonas Päivärinta on Orjatar took their second win moving them to fourth place. Jaguar X-Type finished 2nd securing them the Championship title!
These Championships were historical - although Suunto lost their mast and gave open chance to Jaguar X-Type to win the title you have to remember that this is the first time Finland has an other championship title holder than Team Suunto...
Congratulations Sami Ekblad, Kari Heikkilä. Tuija Huvila, Timo Lankinen, and Peter Lumme!