Three-time champion, Andre Budzien (GER) leads the 235 Finn sailors at the 2014 Finn World Masters in Sopot, Poland, after two races were sailed Tuesday, to finally get the championship off to a great, if late, start. Marco Buglielli (ITA) had a 'perfect' day to sit in second, while defending champion Michael Maier (CZE) is third.
While the hot, sunny weather continued, there was another dismal wind forecast for the morning. However, there was a slight hope racing would be possible in the afternoon, after both Sunday's practice race and all Monday's races were cancelled through lack of wind. A light breeze arrived around 11.00 and the fleet set out for another long day afloat, finally coming ashore around 18.00. The wind filled in from the north and built to around 8-10 knots before easing down and settling at 5-7 knots for most of the afternoon. A tricky current also played havoc with the starts with a number of general recalls and black flagged competitors.
Yellow fleet got race 1 under way after around 15 sailors were pulled out under the black flag. Marc Allain des Beauvais (FRA) led at the top, but Andre Budzien (GER) was not far behind and he gradually reeled in the Frenchman and took the lead as the wind all but died on the second upwind. Stefan Fagerlund (SWE) worked his way into second while Allain des Beauvais finished third.
In Blue fleet it was a familiar story with Michael Maier (CZE) leading round the course to win from Marco Buglielli (ITA), who made a big recovery, and Thomas Schmidt (GER). The wind came back in enough to let the fleet finish and then dropped to 3-4 knots for a while.
It took an age to get Yellow fleet off for their second race with initially the wind dropping, and then multiple recalls as the wind and current conspired to make the pin end favoured. Uli Breuer (GER) led at the top but again Budzien came though and had a small lead downwind to win his second race of the day from Aleksandr Kuliukin (RUS) and Panagiotis Davourlis (GRE).
Blue fleet's second race was led from start to finish by Uwe Barthel (GER). Favouring the right side he found a gift of a shift to hold a sizable lead at the top mark, which he never looked like relinquishing. Buglielli again came through to second, while Allen Burrell (GBR) crossed in third.
Budzien commented on the day, "For me it was nice today. I chose the right side of the start line and I went straight to the right. The rest is a little bit easier if you get to the top mark at the front. Then I was really fast on the downwind. It was good to lose 15 kg in weight, but we will see on Thursday what will happen then." Stronger winds are forecast for Thursday and Friday.
He thought the race committee did a great job. "They were very tricky conditions for the sailors and the race team. I think the race officer was right in every decision she made. She abandoned when she needed to, and also gave some BFDs, but it was the correct thing to do."
Buglielli was also happy with his day, "It was a perfect day for me. In the first race I had a bad start and I recovered a bit when the wind decreased a bit. I was 25th at the top mark, but I had speed and went the right way downwind and upwind and slowly passed everyone but Maier in the first race. In the second race I had a good start and went to the right and there was a big shift to the right and I was fifth at the top. Then I recovered to second."
"It's tough because in the first race we had wind and then it went down, and became very shifty and patchy; very difficult. But I like these conditions; they are my conditions. On Thursday and Friday we are expecting a lot more wind and the big guys will kill me. I know that. But it's OK for now."
A very happy Barthel said, on winning his first ever race at a Finn World Masters, "There was a big windshift on the first upwind about 20 degrees to the right, so at the first mark I led by about 50 metres. A lot of the guys were a long way away, and it was enough of a lead for me to win the race." he joked, "This is my first win, and the last I think."
So finally, the Finn Masters have two races on the board. Budzien hold a two point lead from Buglielli, with Maier picking up a tenth in the second race to sit in third.
The setting here is just fantastic.More than 200 Finns are lined up in ranks along a beautiful sandy beach; there is a very hospitable host club just behind the tree line and the sailors have been treated to simply gorgeous weather. It has the makings of a great championship, despite the lack of wind until today.
The day ended with a Mount Gay rum party hosted by the Barbados Tourism Authority as part of its pitch to host the 2017 Finn World Masters. This will be presented at Wednesday's Annual Masters Meeting and unsurprisingly has generated a lot of interest. If successful it will be only the second time the Finn World Masters has been held outside Europe. The meeting will also hear bids for the 2016 Championship from Tihany, Hungary, Torbole, Italy and Bracciano, Italy.
Racing is scheduled to begin after the meeting at 14.00
The 2014 Finn World Masters consists of a series of eight races scheduled from Monday to Friday, ending with a medal race on Friday afternoon.
Results after 2 races
1 GER 711 Andre Budzien 2
2 ITA 2 Marco Buglielli 4
3 CZE 1 Michael Maier 11
4 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 14
5 RUS 41 Felix Denikaev 15
6 FRA 99 Marc Allain Des Beauvais 18
7 SUI 5 Christen Christoph 18
8 ITA 55 Walter Riosa 21
9 RUS 51 Mikhail Petriga 21
10 RSA 1 Greg Davis 22
Full results at: http://media.ergohestiacup.pl/results/finn.htm
More photos at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.690550260981709.1073741828.106887889347952&type=1
Event website: www.finnmasters.pl
Club website: www.skz.sopot.pl
Class website: www.finnclass.org
Masters website: www.finnworldmasters.com