Wright expecting fierce battle to retain Finn European title

Reigning Finn class European champion Ed Wright says he’s expecting a big fight to defend his title when the world’s best go head-to-head in Athens, Greece, next week.

Wright, from Bournemouth, stormed to victory at the 2018 Europeans in Cadiz, Spain, before rounding off the season with third at the World Cup Series on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic sailing waters of Enoshima.

However he will face intense pressure from a stellar fleet packed with Olympic sailing’s heavyweights such as world champion Zsombor Berecz of Hungary, World Cup Series Enoshima winner Nic Heiner from the Netherlands and Rio 2016 gold medallist Giles Scott.

Ed Wright will look to defend his European crown in Athens

Ed Wright will look to defend his European crown in Athens. © Lloyd Images

“The Finn Europeans has a lot of talented sailors so it’s going to be a tough week, and it means a lot to many nations who didn’t already qualify for the Olympics,” Wright said.

“How it works this cycle means the European nations don’t have so many Olympic spots so it will be interesting how that all pans out. There will be a big fight for the title and further down the standings another for the countries that haven’t qualified yet.

“Last year’s win was pretty exciting, and I loved the conditions in Cadiz with the big waves and wind that makes the Finn so much fun to sail. This year seems to be a different kettle of fish – having been here for a while Athens seems to be a great place to watch beautiful sunsets but we haven’t seen a great deal of wind yet. We will see what next week brings.”

Olympic champion Giles Scott will be among the stellar Finn fleet in Athens.

Olympic champion Giles Scott will be among the stellar Finn fleet in Athens. © Lloyd Images

Scott, who splits his time between his Olympic campaign and Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup challenge, will be looking to go one better than the second he scored at the class’s first major test of 2019, the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma.

“It’s been a while since I’ve done a Euros so I’m looking forward to it,” said Scott, from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. “We’ve been here for just over a week and the weather hasn’t really been playing ball with some pretty light conditions.

“Hopefully over the next few weeks conditions will improve for some good racing. We’ve had a good block of racing and training this year so it’s good to be getting into some major championship racing.”

Completing the British Sailing Team line-up is Doncaster’s Henry Wetherell, who remains open-minded about what the regatta has in store.

“The fleet looks really strong with everyone really ramping the training up at a critical time of year,” he said. “It looks like we could get anything so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Henry Wetherell in action.

Henry Wetherell in action. ©Lloyd Images

Racing starts on Monday May 13 and concludes with medal racing on Saturday May 18.

Stay tuned to the British Sailing Team’s social media channels for updates from the regatta.