After three more races for the Finns at the Skandia Sail for Gold in Weymouth, the points at the top have closed up. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) still leads but his points gaps is down to 5.4 from Ben Ainslie (GBR) while Giles Scott GBR) moves up to third after winning the first two races. The third race was won by Zach Railey (USA).
Overnight the top 10 had changed slightly. A protest for redress for an error in moving the windward mark from Dan Slater, Ben Ainslie and Ed Wright gave them all average points which significantly improved their position after day two and gave them something to consolidate on Wednesday.
After a short postponement to allow the wind to settle day three got underway in a 10-12 knot breeze with three races scheduled to catch up with the programme.
In race four Dan Slater (NZL) led at the first mark from Ed Wright (GBR) and Giles Scott (GBR). Scott took the lead on the first downwind and gradually extended to take his first race win of the week by a comfortable margin. Daniel Birgmark (SWE) climbed through the fleet to third at the gate to finally place second, while Slater ended up in third. The fight between second third and fourth was very tight, but the fastest climber of the day was Zach Railey (USA) who rounded the first mark 40th and moved up to 12th at the gate, to finally cross the finish in 11th.
Scott continued his good form in race five by leading all the way to take his second race win of the day by another large margin. Ben Ainslie (GBR) finally broke into the top three finishing in second with regatta leader Jonathan Lobert (FRA) in third. It was a good race for the British sailors with four in the top 10. Andrew Mills (GBR) rounded the first mark in third but slipped to 10th by the finish.
There was still one more race to go to catch up with the schedule and this time it was Railey who was first out of the blocks. He led all the way to record a fine victory, though it got a bit tense on the last downwind as Ainslie had found second gear and was catching fast. Deniss Karpak (EST) crossed the line in third.
Railey said, “It was a good race for me. I got out in front on first upwind then was able to get a pretty good lead on first reach. From there I just covered on the second upwind. Things tightened up a bit on last downwind but I was able to get the win, which was a good end to a long day.”
The best performer of the day was undoubtedly Scott. With a 1-1-4 he stormed up the overall results to third, discarding the OCS from Tuesday. He said, “It feels really good – it was just what I needed. It’s very important for me to do well here, more than any other regatta really.”
“The first two races were really similar and I kind of took a similar approach, it paid off and I won both races. I had cautious starts in the middle of the line - I found a really big gap in both and a clear lane and sent it out to the left which seemed to be favoured.”
Meanwhile Ainslie climbed to second overall with a 6-2-2 scoreline. After a slow start to the series he seems to have found his form and is back in contention and is making the most of his average points from Tuesday. However there is still a long way to go – the series is still effectively only half done.
It was a long day on the water. Sixth placed Dan Slater said, "Today the breeze was 10-15 knots with about 1 knot of current pushing us up the course. This made for a one way track upwind and very long downwinds. We left the marina at 930 am and arrived back at 630pm it was like doing a offshore race and going on and off watch between races."
"I had really good first beats and starts but my downwind legs let me down and I gave away 14-16 points today from the places I lost downwind which became very frustrating. I was pleased with my upwind sailing and starting strategy today but was disappointed with the downwinds. Tomorrow is maybe more of the same so I will get a chance to sort it out."
Racing continues to Friday with the medal race for the top 10 to be sailed on Saturday 14th August.
Results after 6 races:
1 FRA 112 Jonathan LOBERT 14
2 GBR 3 Ben AINSLIE 19.4
3 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 26
4 USA 4 Zach RAILEY 27
5 CRO 524 Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC 30
6 NZL 1 Dan SLATER 37
7 GBR 11 Edward WRIGHT 37
8 FRA 115 Thomas LE BRETON 40
9 AUS 241 Brendan CASEY 44
10 SWE 11 Daniel BIRGMARK 45
Full results at http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk/results/Finn.htm