SAILING: Great Scott seals early Finn Europeans victory

Dorset Echo: UNBEATEN: Giles Scott UNBEATEN: Giles Scott

Finn sailing star Giles Scott believes there’s more to come after clinching European Championship gold with a day to spare at the Finn Europeans in La Rochelle today.

The 26-year-old maintained his unbeaten regatta run since ret-urning to full-time Olympic Classes sailing in September, dominating these Champion-ships with six race wins from his 10 races so far to claim his second European title.

Portland-based Scott will still have to sail in tomorrow's 10-boat medal race, but takes an unassailable 34-point lead into the finale.

“The Europeans is a major event and I’m most happy about this from all the events I’ve won since I’ve come back,” Scott confessed.

“Last time I sailed in the Europeans was in 2011 when I won it, so it’s nice to come back and still be able to do it in the big fleets and at the big events.”

Today's penultimate day of the regatta proved Scott’s most testing one results-wise, posting a 15th and an eighth from the two races in shifty conditions. But it was enough to fend off the challenge from Slovenia’s defending European champion Vasilij Zbogar – and claim his second European title after victory in 2011.

“I think I’ve had the right sort of approach to the big fleets,” said Scott of the racing challenges in La Rochelle this week.

“It’s actually a bit of a change racing with 100 boats as oppose to the 40-boat fleet that you might normally race at World Cup event.

“The starting, especially earlier in the week, was a bit sketchy because we had tide underneath a slight wind and lots of OCSs.

“Surviving the starts was crucial but I managed to be conservative and had good all-round speed and that was it really.”

Scott, who also won the World Championship in 2011, brushed off talk of being a marked man after his five-regatta, seventh-month winning streak, and said he was just focused on improving his own game.

He said: “I don’t try and think about that – whether that’s the case or not I don’t know. I’m just happy with the way I’m sailing at the moment.”

Scott’s victory came on the first anniversary of British Olympian Andrew Simpson’s passing, and he admitted that his friend was in his thoughts today.

“The sailors and officials all gathered at 9am this morning and jury chairman John Doerr said some very nice, emotional words and we had a minute’s silence.

“It was a fitting way to remember Bart. He was a bit of a counsellor to me – he’d offer his advice and I’d always take it on board. As everyone knows he was seen as a pretty wise man.”

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