In some real Welsh weather, Michael Maier (CZE) won both races on day four at the Finn World Masters in Pwllheli to close in on his fourth Masters title. Two second places for Allen Burrell (GBR) lifted him to second while Laurent Hay (FRA) dropped to third overall in wet and windy conditions.
After the soaring temperatures and wall to wall sunshine of the past few days, Thursday brought some real Welsh weather to Pwllheli. Light rain and a building wind turned the day into a relatively cold and wet day on the water, but the 131 Finn sailors were glad to be able to stretch their legs and enjoy some fantastic sailing in some great wind and waves, despite the damp conditions. It was tough racing for all, but it was what many here had been hoping to happen after a week of light winds.
Race five got away with a number of boats pulled out for being over early. This included the leader at the top mark, Marc Allain des Beauvais (FRA). He rounded the top mark ahead of Uli Breuer (GER) and Michael Maier (CZE). However, it wasn't long until Maier had taken the lead but with the shifting winds, there were lots of place changes possible. Allen Burrell (GBR) enjoyed the windier conditions and moved up to second at the finish while Breuer claimed third.
As the conditions deteriorated further, with the wind increasing to 11-14 knots and the top gust recorded at 18 knots, race six got under way at the first attempt. The leaders again emerged from the left and at the top mark Denis Kharitonov (RUS) led round from Breuer and Burrell. Maier rounded in fifth and again moved into the lead fairly quickly while Burrell claimed another second place. Allain des Beauvais was clearly spurred on by his BFD in race five by crossing race six in third.
Burrell, who now moves up to second overall, commented on the day, “It was great fun today. To have a bit of breeze and some waves to surf down was great and it made a nice change to be able to hike out and do some work. I'm very happy with two second places. Both races I started in the middle of the line by the committee boat and just got clear air straight away with good speed and got of the line which gave me the options to go either way up the beat and takes the shifts I wanted.”
“There were some quite big shifts. I guess there were a couple of 15 degree shifts but one side was never really favoured over the other. But it's also so important to get a clean lane as there are so many boats out there.”
On Friday's race. “I've never done a medal race, so it's going to be a bit different with double points to count. I'd be quite excited about it if the forecast was for a bit of breeze but I think we are in for light winds, so I am bit concerned.”
Maier almost has his fourth Finn World Masters title in the bag. Realistically only Burrell can beat him, but to do that he needs to win with Maier last. In reality the real fight is for silver and bronze. Burrell leads Laurent Hay (FRA) by just two points with Breuer and Tauras Rymonis (LTU) also in with a chance.
For the Grand Master title, there are four sailors in the medal race. Rob Coutts (NZL) leads Andre Budzien (GER) and John Greenwood (GBR) and are all within 13 points of each other, so that should be a great battle as well. The Grand Grand Master title is much clearer with Pascal Tetard (FRA) having an unassailable lead. Likewise Howard Sellars (GBR) leads the Legend category by a very safe margin over Richard Hart (GBR)
The final races are scheduled for 12.00 on Friday, though the forecast is not particularly encouraging.
Top 10 after day four
Photos: Claire ADB
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