2005 Finn Gold Cup - Moscow, Russia

 

GOLD FLEET
Sailed:8  Discards:1  To count:7 Entries:49
 
 
 
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
Q5
Q6
F1
F2
Total
1
GBR 3
Ben Ainslie
2
1
1
2
10
2
8
1
17
2
GRE 7
Papathanasiou Emilios
1
3
1
8
5
3
2
6
21
3
CAN 41
Christopher Cook
3
OCS
3
13
8
5
1
9
42
4
POL 12
Waclav Szukiel
19
8
7
4
2
14
5
14
54
5
CZE 9
Michal Hruby
8
10
17
2
1
7
23
13
58
6
NZL 1
Dan Slater
10
1
2
7
17
10
13
26
60
7
ESP 100
Rafael Trujillo Villar
8
12
11
1
32
8
12
8
60
8
AUS 228
Joshua Beaver
12
5
40
9
4
22
7
5
64
9
SWE 11
Daniel Birgmark
2
3
8
21
19
8
21
4
65
10
CRO 25
Marin Misura
11
18
2
3
1
15
20
16
66
11
NED 6
Stefan de Vries
9
7
11
10
OCS
6
17
10
70
12
DEN 2
Jonas Hoegh-Christensen
3
9.6rdg
9
7
12
17
14
18
71.6
13
SLO 5
Gasper Vincec
1
22
5
5
17
22
3
19
72
14
DEN 7
Soren Holm
4
4
19
14
21
12
19
2
74
15
GBR 6
Andrew Simpson
7
11
12
11
9
1
25
28
76
16
SWE 736
Johan Tillander
9
9
6
20
16
2
15
22
77
17
AUS 221
Anthony Nossiter
5
14
18
1
13
20
27
11
82
18
CRO 524
Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (J)
6
6
15
18
6
4
30
OCS
85
19
RUS 1
Krutskikh Vladimir
13
18
5
25
3
13
16
20
88
20
USA 12
Kevin Hall
22
11
6
16
20
4
10
21
88
21
FIN 216
Tapio Nirkko (J)
14
8
10
22
24
3
35
12
93
22
UKR 1
Borysov Olexiy
11
13
4
22
2
19
32
24
95
23
POL 7
Rafal Szukiel
17
26
16
8
3
10
18
25
97
24
NED 64
Wietze Zetzema
17
15
4
17
5
11
29
43
98
25
GBR 541
Chris Brittle
21
14
39
10
21
1
31
3
101
26
GBR 111
Edward Wright
14
2
10
6
26
13
41
31
102
27
NOR 1
Peer Moberg
16
16
12
12
19
6
26
40
107
28
NED 842
Peter-Jan Postma
4
5
13
33
4
32
36
17
108
29
IRL 8
David Burrows
5
7
31
16
7
24
22
OCS
112
30
GBR 550
Matt Howard
18
17
13
21
25
18
44
7
119
31
SWE 7
Kristian Aderman
10
17
14
3
13
28
43
35
120
32
IRL 10
Aaron O'Gradi
7
22
28
23
23
16
6
34
125
33
BLR 7
Karatkevich Ivan
32
29
30
11
11
9
4
36
126
34
RUS 8
Chernov Evgeniy
28
10
19
30
10
29
11
23
130
35
RUS 77
Semerkhanov Maxim
26
31
18
17
25
5
9
41
131
36
ESP 836
Alberto Vadell Sabater
21
6
42
24
20
12
39
15
137
37
CRO 16
Emil Tomasevic
13
23
20
4
29
14
38
DSQ
141
38
POL 17
Norbert Wilandt  (J)
24
12
8
15
28
16
40
DNF
143
39
BLR 4
Alexander Mumyga
23
21
7
15
31
24
24
37
145
40
ESP 310
Pablo Arrarte Elorza
15
28
9
26
7
31
37
30
146
41
DEN 9
Thomas Laursen
19
2
36
24
23
15
33
33
149
42
USA 1181
Darrell Peck
6
9
34
45
11
21
48
27
153
43
GBR 88
Mark Andrews (J)
25
25
15
40
12
9
46
29
155
44
TUR 3
Arif Gurdenlu
15
13
28
5
30
OCS
28
39
158
45
AUS 1
Richard Ironmonger (J)
16
24
29
25
9
17
45
44
164
46
ESP 1
Diego Fructuoso Perez
26
19
26
29
27
7
34
32
166
47
GBR8
Tim Carver
22
4
29
9
46
23
42
42
171
48
IRL 5
Timothy Goodbody
23
30
22
6
15
DNC
47
38
181
49
NED 80
Sander E.Willems
24
36
3
28
28
20
OCS
DNC
189

SILVER FLEET
Sailed:9  Discards:1  To count:8  Entries:49
 
 
 
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
Q5
Q6
F1
F2
F3
Nett
1
LTU 70
Giedrius Guzys
25
25
22
12
23
30
5
4
6
122
2
GBR 625
Edward Greig
18
20
34
27
18
25
17
8
3
136
3
HUN 1
Balazs Hajdu
20
24
24
26
14
27
OCS
9
1
145
4
HUN 5
Tibor Pallay
34
16
17
35
31
32
12
5
2
149
5
GER 8
Eiermann Jurgien
37
33
23
19
17
31
6
3
17
149
6
RUS 11
Bozhedomov Yury
35
38
42
31
6
18
2
16
5
151
7
RUS 111
Zhbankov Timofey
39
35
14
33
22
34
7
15
7
167
8
EST 7
Harles Liiv
30
28
21
19
34
25
16
17
11
167
9
EST 15
Janno Hool
36
26
21
20
14
39
4
13
36
170
10
CZE 3
Rudolf Lidarik
20
21
25
14
DNF
39
23
18
13
173
11
USA 1140
Bryan Boyd
36
29
38
28
27
36
3
11
8
178
12
POL 45
Piotr Mazur (J)
35
23
27
29
29
42
21
7
15
186
13
RUS 7
Kapitonov Vladislav
33
27
39
18
8
29
37
25
9
186
14
BAR 2
David McGregor
31
19
36
38
38
34
1
2
26
187
15
GRE 8
Dragoutsis Alexandros
27
40
31
43
21
26
19
1
22
187
16
GER 108
Sebastian Munck
28
32
33
30
OCS
33
13
6
14
189
17
USA 167
Bradley Nieuwstad (J)
39
32
37
36
26
11
9
10
31
192
18
NED 41
Karel van Hellemond
12
20
24
35
DSQ
21
OCS
23
12
197
19
NED 29
Bass de Waal
37
34
44
32
30
26
11
12
21
203
20
GER 137
Sebastian Petrov (J)
29
43
44
38
36
23
8
19
20
216
21
GBR 10
Robert Deaves
32
35
36
23
15
19
30
36
28
218
22
GER 203
Duisberg Hartmut
29
33
16
41
34
36
31
32
19
230
23
DEN 231
Kenneth Boggild
27
30
45
34
37
35
24
31
29
247
24
EST 8
Aare Taveter (J)
33
31
26
34
47
38
20
21
45
248
25
GRE 71
Davourlis Panagiotis
43
42
20
42
33
38
14
35
25
249
26
NED 1
Cees Scheurwater
34
36
34
13
38
44
29
33
33
250
27
EST 11
Mihkel Kosk (J)
44
37
41
37
37
28
10
20
43
253
28
BUL 20
Kosta Stergidor
31
39
49
31
43
DSQ
22
28
10
253
29
UKR 2
Zelenskiy Valeriy (J)
38
43
32
40
41
33
15
22
46
264
30
SUI 8
Benz Nick
41
45
37
32
32
41
34
27
23
267
31
HUN 6
Gaszton Pal
38
34
41
27
44
30
DSQ
24
32
270
32
SUI 496
Gautsci Thomas
40
46
30
37
35
44
32
26
30
274
33
RUS 21
Lavrov Alexey
47
46
43
45
39
45
18
37
4
277
34
BLR 8
Strelok Anatoli (J)
40
39
40
36
33
37
25
DNE
18
278
35
USA 975
August Miller
49
40
29
42
42
43
28
29
27
280
36
GER 266
Eller Michuel
41
37
45
40
32
37
38
42
16
283
37
CAN 111
Evan King (J)
42
27
23
DNF
36
42
DNF
41
24
285
38
GER 92
Detlen Guminski
45
44
25
44
42
27
35
39
35
291
39
BUL 5
Nikolay Vasilev Vasilev
46
38
32
39
40
35
27
DNF
41
298
40
RUS 38
Kravchenko Vasiliy
48
48
43
41
44
40
26
14
44
300
41
HUN 8
Marton Beliczay (J)
42
45
35
43
39
40
39
38
34
310
42
RUS 55
Borovyak Alexey
44
41
39
45
41
41
36
34
38
314
43
GER 19
Andreas Bollongino
43
42
47
47
35
46
41
40
37
331
44
BUL 69
Nikolaj Emilov Rusev (J)
46
OCS
48
46
46
46
33
30
39
334
45
AUS 22
John Shallvey
30
44
46
48
45
43
40
BFD
48
344
46
GER 12
David Guminski
47
41
46
47
40
47
42
44
47
354
47
RUS 18
Danilov Valentin
48
47
47
46
46
47
43
45
40
361
48
ITA 892
Cisbani Paolo
45
47
48
48
43
45
OCS
43
42
361
49
UKR 3
Evgen Yaroshenko
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
DNE
450
 
 

 

Finn Gold Cup 2005
9th to 18th September

Event website: www.finngoldcup2005.ru

(c) September 2005 Robert Deaves, International Finn Association


Finn Gold Cup 2005 - Preview

Robert Deaves

The 2005 Finn Gold Cup and Junior Finn Gold Cup will open in Moscow on Saturday with 100 sailors from 33 countries taking part. Registration and measurement will continue through to Sunday with the first race scheduled for Monday 12th and continuing through until next Sunday, the 18th.

The hosting club is the Moscow Sailing School, with the racing scheduled to take place on Pestovskoe Lake, about 30 km north of the centre of Moscow. The 49er Class have just held their World Championship at the same venue and now it is the turn of the Finn class - these are the first two Olympic class world championships to be held in Russian waters.

The organisers have supplied all the Finns for competitors, who were also free to bring their own rigs in a laid-on container from the Europeans in Kalmar, Sweden.

Defending champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) is back to try and win the event for a record breaking 4th time in a row. After wins in Athens (2002), Cadiz (2003) and Rio de Janeiro (2004), as well as Olympic Gold in Athens last summer, Ainslie has taken a step back from Finn racing this year. However, he emphatically won the Holland Regatta and the Europeans with virtually no training. He is viewed by most of the fleet as the firm favourite, but with the light and shifty conditions expected, nothing is certain.

Ben commented, “Winning the Europeans was a bit of a shock, but I guess it's like riding a bike. I hope to be in the frame in Moscow. Things have gone well this season but winning big championships is all about performing when it matters.”

Also present in Moscow is the 2004 Olympic Silver medalist, Rafael Trujillo (ESP) and 2001 European Champion, Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) who are probably the greatest threat to Ainslie’s dominance at the moment.

However there are a large number of sailors capable of high finishes including world ranked number 1, Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), Gasper Vincec (SLO), who has hit form this year with a 3rd at the Europeans and a win at Kiel Week, Andrew Simpson (GBR) - 6th in Rio and 3rd in Cadiz and back for another go - and Marin Misura (CRO) who finished 4th at this year’s Europeans.

The fleet has also seen an influx from the Laser class over the past year including Dan Slater (NZL) - who recently finished as runner-up to Ainslie at the Europeans - 1996 Bronze medalist Peer Moberg (NOR), Daniel Birgmark (SWE) - who finished 14th in the Finn in Athens last year - Ed Wright (GBR), who finished 3rd in Hyeres this year.

Commenting on the depth of the fleet, Dan Slater said, “The fleet is littered with experience and great sailors. There are also some new sailors like myself who have been lucky with the light air season so far. Most of the new guys have all been good in Lasers and other classes so they know how to pick wind shifts and race a fleet but we are all not as good in the boat handling and tuning of the boat. The level is high but it’s watered down by sailors like Ben, Rafa and Maier all not spending so much time Finn sailing due to America’s Cup sailing, so us new guys can catch up a little.”

The format for this Finn Gold Cup is different to previous events with a two fleet format. Six qualifying races will be sailed (2, 1, 2, 1) over the first four days, followed by a gold/silver split for the final two days (2, 1).

There are also 13 sailors competing for the title of Junior World Champion, and based on performance so far this year Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is the clear favourite. He followed a 3rd at Kiel Week with a 12th at the Europeans, well ahead of many experienced helms.

New Finn Class President Balasz Hajdu (HUN) commented, “It is good to try a new format. However, because of likelihood of extremely shifty winds, equipment will not be a decisive factor. We are expecting light and shifty winds with calm waters, so reliable starts, good pointing and good boat to boat sailing skills will be important as the sailing area will be rather small. Bearing in mind the expected conditions, light, smart sailors with a feel for light winds should do well.”

The first races are scheduled for Monday.


Sunday 11th September - Practice Day - All set for a great championship
 
Last night at the opening ceremony, new Finn class president Balasz Hajdu (HUN) opened the 2005 Finn Gold Cup in front the 100 sailors and more than 200 officials, personnel and guests at the Moscow Sailing School. The opening ceremony was very impressive with a marching band, majorettes and all the sailors lined up behind a local girl carrying a banner with their national letters on it. Dr. Balazs Hajdu, said that it was a great honor to come to Russia, with its deep traditions in Finn sailing. In his speech he drew attention to the many Russian Finn sailors over the years, some of whom were present at this event including 1972 Bronze medalst Victor Popatov, Evgeny Chernov and Oleg Khoerpski.
 
Following the ceremony - which was attended by local dignitaries including Mr. Mikhail Stepaniants, The Chairman of the Moscow Sports Committee, Mr. Alexander Kotenkov, President of Russian Sailing Sports, Mr. Anatoly Yudaev, Vice-Chairman of Moscow Region Sports Committee and Mr. Mikhail Tikhomirov Vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee - the sailors and guests were treated to a buffet of Russian style food followed by a band and dances by traditionally dressed girls. A dancing Russian bear also made an appearance, although you could clearly see the zip up his back if you looked carefully! The party continued well into the night...
 
Today, the practice races were sailed in a shifty, fitful wind. The wind was across the lake so only allowed first beats of 0.4 and 0.6 miles with the fleets sailing windward leeward courses. However, the usual sailors were near the front. Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Andrew Simpson (GBR) headed the Green fleet, although both were OCS, and Daniel Birgmark (SWE), Peer Moberg (NOR) and Marin Misura (CRO) were at the front of the Yellow fleet. The two course areas are run by two separate race teams, one from Spain and one from Sweden, with assistance from Russian staff as well. Each course area also has a full International Jury, with Pat Healy (USA) as Chairman.
 
The organisation here is immense. The very impressive modern campus of the Moscow Sailing School sits alongside the Klyazminskoe Lake where the cruise ship acting as home to the 100 Finn sailors is moored. However the Finns are sailing at the larger Pestovskoe Lake, about a 10 km tow to the north. Here the organisers have constructed a day marina with full facilities where the boats will be kept for the week. Hydrofoil ferries will whisk the sailors to and from the marina each day.
 
All the boats are now located at the day marina - an impressive construction - easily accommodating the 100 Finns on a specially built platform, with tents on land providing cafe and changing facilities and a small cruise ship moored next to it.
 
The hospitality experienced by all the sailors and guests is also something special. Marinepool is one of the main sponsors of the regatta and has generously outfitted all the sailors and officials with smart event clothing, for which many sailors - who came expecting a summer heat wave - are now using gratefully as some colder weather has descended on Moscow.
 
If everything goes to plan, four days of qualification races will be followed by a lay day and then two days of gold/silver finals. It seems as if everything has been taken care of and nothing too much trouble for our hosts and the sailors are now looking forward to the racing, with the first start scheduled for midday local time on Monday.

 


Monday 12 September - Day 1 - Challenging day in Moscow
 
The 2005 Finn Gold Cup got underway in Moscow today with two challenging races sailed in near perfect conditions. A complete change in weather overnight saw a healthy and relatively steady 8-14 knots breeze from the south-east. After two races, defending champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) narrowly leads Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE).
 
 
With the wind aligned along the main axis of Prestovskoe Lake, the race committee on each of the two courses could set long legs. Both fleets sailed 3 windward leeward loops for each race with the maximum wind strength coming half way through the first set of races. At the second windward mark in the first race, the wind had increased in excess of 12 knots, just enough to allow free pumping on both courses and the Finn sailors had great fun. However, the flag remained in its bag for the afternoon race.
 
Green flight
 
Course 2 is furthest from the day marina and saw the steadiest winds of the day. It also saw the first showdown between two of the main favourites for this event. 2001 European Champion Emilios Papathasaniou (GRE) led race one from start to finish. Starting at the pin end he was never headed throughout the race. Ben Ainslie (GBR) rounded the first mark in 5th place and gradually worked his way up to second by the finish.
 
The second race again saw Ainslie playing catch up. Josh Beaver (AUS) rounded the first mark in the lead followed by Soren Holm (DEN) and Ainslie. At the bottom mark Thomas Laursen (DEN) had taken the lead, which he held until 100 metres from the final upwind mark, when Ainslie moved in front to lead to the finish.
 
Yellow course
 
Course 1 is set just a short sail from the day marina and the windward mark was set just below the dam at the south-east end of the lake. Both right and left paid at times, and the sailing proved challenging for some. The first race saw Peter-Jan Postma (NED), an ex Laser sailor in his first Gold Cup leading round the first mark followed by Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN). Postma led until the second windward when the O flag was raised. Vincec took the lead on the free pumping run and led inrto the finish followed by Daniel Birgmark (SWE) and Hogh-Christensen.
 
Race two was sailed in slightly less wind, with a large shift out of the start favouring those at the committee boat end. Edward Wright (GBR) led Dan Slater (NZL) and Tim Carver (GBR) into the top mark. These three battled down the run with Carver just (probably) ahead at the leeward gate. However on the next beat Slater and Wright gained some distance and fought all the way to the finish. Birgmark just pipped Carver on the third beat to take third.
 
 
With today's forecast of very little wind, the sunny, windy conditions were a surprise to many, but a welcome one nevertheless. The day was challenging not because of the expected fluky conditions, but because of tired legs and arms after a hard day's sailing. The racing was tight in places, with the corners of the beats well up on dry land, but finding the right shifts and the better pressure paid big dividends. The race committees did an excellent job today timing the races to perfection. With a suggested duration of 75 minutes, the first boat on the green course finished after 74 minutes in race 1 and then 75 minutes in race 2. Not bad.
 
While most of the fleet are using the supplied equipment, some sailors have opted to bring their own rig. All underwent the same rigorous measurement procedure and it will be interesting to see how many supplied rigs feature high up in the results.
 
There are 10 Russian entries in this year's Gold Cup, the most ever seen and an international championship. In fact the number of entries from Eastern European countries is very high indeed with Bulgaria and Lithuania fielding entrants in addition to the usual countries such as Belarus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Estonia.
 
The forecast for the week includes more wind for tomorrow but also - for those sitting at home in front of their computers - temperatures are forecast to plummet to zero on Wednesday morning!
 
Race three is scheduled to start at midday Tuesday.

Tuesday 13th September Lack of wind causes problems
 
While Yellow fleet completed one race today with a large win for Ben Ainslie, Green fleet had two abandoned races when the wind died away to nothing. The wind kept coming and going, coming and going all day long and was a race officers nightmare. Light winds and calm patches delayed racing by two hours.
 
 
The only race sailed on the yellow course today saw a win for Ben Ainlie (GBR) after rounding the top mark in third place. He moved into the lead on the second upwind to extend his lead to win by some 3-4 minutes.
 
The green course saw two races started. The first was abandoned at the first windward mark when the wind completely disappeared. An hour later the second races was started and three laps were completed of the four lap course when the wind died again and the drumming of tillers on decks was followed by the second race abandonment  of the day.
 
As a result, green flight must sail three races tomorrow with yellow sailing two to level things up. The forecast is for more wind so hopefully this will happen so the fleets can keep to the schedule

 


Wednesday 14th September - Coffee shop reports record breaking sales!
 
Today in Moscow, the sailors at the Finn Gold Cup drank coffee all day and waited for the wind. The coffee kept coming but unfortunately the wind didn't. One start was attempted at 18.00, but was soon abandoned as the wind started playing games again.
 
 
In order to get three races in today, green flight had their start time brought forward to 11.00 with the yellow flight due to start at 12.30. As no more races could be included in the flight allocation system, they remained the same as yesterday. The first hydrofoil of the day to the day marina took only the sailors of the green flight. However when yellow flight arrived an hour later, green flight were still waiting for the wind to come, sipping coffee and enjoying the sunshine.
 
It was a lovely sunny day, although the air was cold. It remained hot in the sun but the air remained still. The only sounds to fill the air were the chatter of Finn sailors, the throb of motor vessels as they briefly sped past and the thunderous roar of the never ending stream of planes arriving at the nearby Sheremetyevo Airport.
 
The little cafe in the large tent at the day marina did a roaring trade in coffee and soft drinks as the sailors waited for seven hours. The race team were determined to get some racing in and were going to wait it out. However, the wind just wasn't playing ball.
 
Finally at 16.00, the PRO postponed racing for the day for the yellow flight. The green flight, still a race behind, had to wait another hour. The AP came down and everyone assumed that that was that. However nothing replaced it so the fleet rapidly uncovered their boats and headed for the race area. After half an hour, with the race about to start, the wind clocked 40 degrees. Another 10 minutes of wind shifts and the race officer, now running out of enough daylight to complete the race cancelled racing for the day.
 
The planned lay day in Moscow on Friday is now a distant hope as there are still four races to get in before the finals start on Saturday. With only two races sailed so far and a maximum of three per day to be sailed, it looks like racing will go into Friday.
 
Each day in Moscow begins with breakfast on board the cruise ship moored alongside the Moscow Sailing School between 7 and 9. After that the sailors get ready for the first hydrofoil shuttle at 9.00 down to the sailing centre at Mikhalevo Village some 10 km and 30 minutes fast ride away. If you miss this one, the next one is at 10.00, although this is cutting it fine if you are sailing in the green flight, a much longer sail out. The main deck on the cruise ship is always crowded at 8.55, but they normally manage to squeeze everyone on. Yesterday morning there were so many Finn sailors at the front that they had to be asked to move aft so that the bow would lift enough to get the craft on the hydrofoil!
 
The boat passes through Klyazminskoe lake first, which is quite developed with many small marinas, waterside houses, yacht clubs and restaurants. Then we pass through the long canal with its shores lined with fishermen and hundreds of small makeshift fishing tents and shacks. Occasionally there are elegant buildings, gates and churches - some of them quite impressively extravagant - no doubt country residences for some of the country's rich and famous.
 
After 20 minutes at high speed we emerge into the Pestovskoe Lake where the racing is held. Mikhalevo Village is on the far shore about 0.5 km up a sheltered channel. The whole lake is surrounded by spruce and birch trees - apart from the dam to the south-east - with only the odd village or building breaking up the shoreline.
 
One of the sailors here at his first Finn Gold Cup is Lithuainian Giedrius Guzys. Giedrius has sailed the Laser since 1996 and competed in both the Sydney and Athens Olympics and this event is his first International event in the Finn. He is only sailing here due to the ease of using one of the supplied boats, as he has yet to secure funds to buy his own. Currently in 50th place, he is thoroughly enjoying his first exploits in a Finn.
 
He says, "I have no Finn so this is a great chance for me. The class is really friendly compared with the Lasers. Perhaps because the sailors are generally older, they are more gentlemanly and create a very nice atmosphere."
 
Giedrius, currently studying vetinarian immunology, continued  "We have no Finn sailors in Lithuania sailing internationally, so our national Finn association is really happy to have me here and support me. I hope to get a Finn soon and do the international circuit. I am using some of my Laser techniques, which at first seem strange, but I am gradually getting used to the feel of the boat. I also feel very comfortable here as I am racing against many friends I made in the Laser class who have also moved onto the more technical Finn. Sailors are a special social group, with a similar path of life which gives us all something in common. I think that's important to sailors."
 
He concludes, "The organisation here reminds me of the Sydney games with the travelling to the day marina and the official opening ceremony. Everything is also so well organised. I am having a great time."
 
Probably the lightest sailor in the fleet is the Russian Timofey Zhbankov. At just 76 kg, he is here for the experience, and is finding the transfer from his usual Laser Radial - where his best result was a third at the Europeans - interesting. However he did find his way to lead round the top mark in the only race competed yesterday, which should do his confidence no end of good. Before this race is scored - when green flights catches up - he is lying in 77th place after the windy first day.
 
Tomorrow (Thursday), the wind is forecast to be 8-12 mph all day long, so the fleets should catch up with green fleet sailing three races and yellow fleet sailing two. The groups will then to reallocated for the final qualification race on Friday morning.

 


Thursday 15th September - Finally some racing
 
Finally there is some racing to report at the Finn Gold Cup in Moscow. Five races were sailed today, two for the yellow flight and three for the green flight. A 2nd and 10th for Ben Ainslie (GBR) is enough to hold the series with 6 points from Emilios Papathanasious (GRE) on 10 points and Marin Misura (CRO) on 17 points. Today the sailors had it all. Flat calms, flat out planes and hard hiking beats, sometimes all at the same time coming into the weather mark!
 
 
With only two complete sets of races sailed after 3 days, all fingers and toes were crossed this morning that we would get a full day's quality racing in. The day dawned windless and cold again and there was an audible sigh from the Finn sailors as the hydrofoil entered Pestovskoe Lake to a near mirror like surface. However very soon the breeze started to fill and in green flight were sent out to the race area.
 
Green flight
 
It took a long while to set the course as the breeze kept changing its mind where to blow. The breeze was across the lake only allowing a short windward/leeward course. The windward marks were quite near the trees so the approach was critical. Sometime it was easy, sometimes it was hard went the wind died away and sometimes it was fun when the shift was so big you came into the buoy on a reach. To say it was quite shifty would be a gross understatement.
 
Finally it kind of settled in one direction (+/- 30 degrees) and race 3 was started. Repeating his success of race 1, Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE) started well at the pin end, tacked onto port, cleared the fleet and was never headed. He was followed by Sander Willems (NED) and Emil Tomasevic (CRO). Dan Slater (NZL) eventually passed Willems to finish second.
 
The next race got underway fairly soon with Rafael Trujillo (ESP) leading at the first mark followed by Michal Hruby (CZE) and Edward Wright (GBR). Apart from briefly losing his lead to Hruby on the second lap. Trujillo led into the finish to win by a considerable margin.
 
There was a long wait for the third race as the fleet waited for yellow flight to finish their second race on the larger, slightly more stable course area, so that they could use it. Hruby finished off a great day with a win followed by Borysov and Vladimir Krutskirh (RUS), the first of four Russian sailors in the top ten.
 
Yellow flight
 
The first race was started at 1pm and while Trujillo was winning the green flight, his +39 team mate Anthony Nossiter (AUS) dominated race 4 of the yellow group by leading from the start to win. There was a strong challenge early on from Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), before he fell foul of a large shift, and then Marin Misura. However, series leader Ben Ainslie came through from 8th at the first mark to second at the finish. The wind strength went over the magic 12 knot mark after the first beat, allowing for free pumping downwind.
 
The second race turned into a battle between Marin Misura (CRO) and Waclav Sukiel (POL). Neck and neck most of the way round, they finished in that order within just yards of other other. The final downwind was an epic battle of strong arm pumping. To make it a family affair, Rafal Szukiel (POL) finished 3rd, albeit quite a long way back from the leaders.
 
Every night the sailors either eat on board the ship, take a free shuttle bus ride into Moscow or are entertained in the large tent by the cruise ship. The other night there was a games evening and last night there was a Turkish evening with hubble bubbles, food and belly dancers. When this is finished the usual go-go girls take up position in the corner and gyrate to the music and their Finn fans.
 
Topics of conversation include which angle the ship will be angled today. Sometimes it's towards the shore, sometimes towards the land. The thing is that the showers in the cabins only have drain holes in one corner so if the ship is angled the wrong way, your shower water doesn't drain and creates a puddle in the corner under the sink. A committee has worked long and hard to find the reason for this, but rumour has it that it all depends which side of the dining room Chris Brittle (GBR) is sitting at the time!
 
So after four days, there have been five sets of races sailed, so tomorrow's flights will be reseeded for the final qualification race for the gold and silver fleet finals. The forecast tomorrow is for less wind, but hopefully just enough to get the start off promptly. After 5 races, Ainslie leads by 4 points on Papathansiou and 11 points on Misura.
 
This year's event sees the highest number of Junior sailors in recent times with 15 sailors representing  11 countries. Defending World Junior Champion Tapio Nirko (FIN) is currently lying in 28th place, some way behind the favourite to take the title, Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) who is up in 17th, some 21 points ahead. Third is Norbert Willand (POL) in 31st place with 59 points.
 

Friday 16th September - Ainslie extends lead after good day for the British sailors
 
The final race of the qualification series for the 2005 Finn Gold Cup was sailed this morning in Moscow. Andrew Simpson (GBR) and Ben Ainslie (GBR) led the yellow flight home with Chris Brittle (GBR winning the green flight by nearly two minutes . For the next two days the fleet will be split into gold and silver fleets with 49 Finns in each fleet.
 
 
The wind was blowing most of the night. After two days of near nothing on Tuesday and Wednesday, it seemed a shame to waste all that wind. However the forecast for Friday morning at 11.00 was 12 knots from the SW, which was not the best direction but at least a good strength. When sailors awoke in the morning, for the first time this week, there was a healthy breeze across the lake.
 
The qualification series has been plagued by shifty winds that have tested the patience of even the most laid back sailor. Gus Miller (USA) - currently languishing in 88th place - put it nicely, "Uncle Wiggley had a great time with his stacks of red chips, large and small and green chips, large and small. The pressure would look good on one side while the angle would look good on the other with confusing little shifts up by the weather mark. On runs there would be random strong shafts what would pick up one small group and send them flying ahead through the fleet."
 
While those at the top of the fleet had guaranteed a place in the Gold fleet, and those at the bottom of the table had done their best to be in the Silver fleet, the points in the middle were so close, that there were a great many battles of honour to be able to sail in the gold fleet on Saturday and Sunday. There was only 20 points separating 40th place and 60th place, so a good final result could make all the difference.
 
Yellow fleet got away second time with Wittze Zetzema (NED) leading followed by Tapio Nirko (FIN). Andrew Simpson (GBR) took the lead on the second beat to lead to the finish. Ben Ainslie (GBR) recovered from a poor first beat to finish second, taking off places on each leg.
 
In the green fleet Kevin Hall had a good start to lead round the top mark from Chris Brittle (GBR), having started at the committee boat. Brittle took the lead on the first run and extended his lead to win by two minutes. Johan Tillander (SWE) sailed  a great race to come second with Emilios Papathansaiou (GRE) in third.
 
This leaves Ainslie leading the regatta on 8 points followed by Papatahansaiou, 5 points back and Michal Hruby in third, some 20 points behind. It is all very tight going in the final two days, and with the eratic winds in Moscow, anything could happen. Many sailors results are just as eratic as the wind. Yesterday, class newcomer Peter-Jan Postma (NED) posted a 13, 33, 4 and lies 7th overall. Meanwhile Athens Silver medalist Rafael Trujillo (ESP) posted a 11, 1, 33!
 
Meanwhile in the junior fleet, Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) continues to lead after a scoring a 4th today, with second placed Tapio Nirko (FIN) finishing 3rd to sit in 24th place. Both are in the gold fleet going into the finals, so the title is still open for the taking.
 
Over the weekend Ben Ainslie will be racing for a place in the record books. Not just the Finn class record books, but also those of the sport of sailing. Having already won this title for the past three years - equaling a record lasting for some 32 years - a fourth win will make him the most successful Finn sailor of all time.
 
Meanwhile, second placed Emilios Papathansiou is looking for his first Finn World Championship. So determined is he, that he is one of the very few sailors here - and the only one from western Europe - who brought their own boat to sail. He was European Champion in 2001, but the World title has continued to elude him, his best placed being 3rd in 2000, 2001 and in 2002.
 
The event is receiving a lot of media interest with both Russian TV crews following the regatta as well as international TV companies such as the BBC here for filming. Internet aficionados will also be interested to note that they can follow the gold fleet finals live online. Track and trace equipment is being places on the boats in the gold fleet which will be relayed live through the event website www.finngoldcup2005.ru. Check the forum section for details and the web address.

 


Saturday 17th September - Ainslie and Papathanasiou set for last race showdown
 
The first day of the finals at the 2005 Finn Gold Cup saw a mixed bag of weather from which Ben Ainslie (GBR) still holds a narrow lead over Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE). A good day for Chris Cook (CAN) sees him lifted from 6th overnight to third going into tomorrow's final race.
 
 
Yesterday's moderate breeze was still in place this morning, albeit now from the south. However by the time the races were started this had died to a shifty 3-5 knots. However, by the start of the second Gold fleet race it had shifted some 120 degrees towards the west and increased to 16-18 knots.
 
Gold fleet
 
Starting in the light rain and lights winds, Chris Cook (CAN) led round each and every mark of the first race of the day to score his first win of the regatta. At the first mark he was followed by Ivan Karatkevich (BLR) and Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE). Papathansaiou moved up to second on the third upwind, while Gasper Vincec (CRO) moved up to third. Karatkevich, sailed his best race of the regatta to finish in 4th. Series leader Ben Ainslie (GBR) got himself boxed in at the start and spent the entire race trying desperately to catch up with the leaders. Picking off places on every leg, he finally caught up to 8th at the finish, his second worst result so far, but also a countable race.
 
However, after this first race, for the first time in the regatta, Ainslie had lost the overall lead to Papathanasiou by one point. He responded in typical Ainslie fashion by winning the final race of the day, but not after a great deal of confusion.
 
The second race was started in similar conditions to the first with Cook again in front, Walclav Szukiel (POL) in second and Ainslie in third. However, half way up the second beat, a 120 degree shift in the wind led to its abandonment. Papathanasiou must have breathed a sigh of relief as he was second to last at the time. Actually this is the third time this week, he has got out of jail through a race abandonment.
 
The course was reset along the length of the lake and with gusts up to 18 knots and waves starting to build, the sailors had a great time with the O flag raised for free pumping throughout. Again Ainslie didn't get a great start, but recovered to round the top mark just behind Soren Holm (DEN) and Dan Slater (NZL). Behind him there was chaos. Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) was finally having a good race and about to round the top mark in 4th, but David Burrows (IRL) didn't see him as he ducked Ainslie rounding the mark and the two collided and capsized.
 
Behind this collision, a lot of boats were arriving at the windward mark together allowing the top three to escape down the run. Holm maintained his lead at the second top mark with Josh Beaver (AUS) moving up to second and Daniel Birgmark (SWE) in third. Ainslie had slipped to 6th. He put that to rights on the third beat, taking the lead which he held to the finish. Holm held on for second place, with Chris Brittle (GBR) claiming third.
 
After the top mark collision, Burrows happened to be OCS anyway, so sailed home, but Hogh-Christensen has trouble righting his boat in the strong winds and moderate waves and rounded the bottom mark in 44th. He sailed well though, to recover to 18th by the finish but was understandably upset.
 
Commenting on his success today Chris Cook - finished 9th in the second race of the day - said "I have been doing a lot of training in Canada on a lake similar to this, with flat water and very shifty winds. A shoulder injury meant I was unable to do the European summer circuit, so instead I did a lot of training at home. It seems to have worked."
 
Silver fleet
 
In the silver fleet, both races became somewhat scrappy due to the shiftiness of the wind. Consistency is very hard to achieve here due to the vagaries of the wind, and most people are looking for a few top positions to boost them up the results table. One such is David McGregor (BAR), representing another new country in the Finn community. Taking the lead on the final run of the first race in his own private patch of wind, he sailed well to score second in the next, after recovering from around 10th at the first mark. Second race winner, Dragoutsis Alexandros (GRE) found an impossible shift out of the start line to lift out on port and cross the entire fleet. He sailed well to lead throughout and win by a large margin.
 
Finn Class president Balasz Hajdu (HUN), who missed the gold fleet by just 3 points, had an unfortunate day with an OCS followed by a 9 to lie 5th in the silver fleet. Giedrius Guzys (LTU) and Jurgien Eirmann (GER) both had a consistent day to end the day first and second.
 
 
The battle for the junior title took a new twist today when overnight leader Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) had a bad day with a 30th and an OCS to drop to 18th overall, just 8 points ahead of the defending champion Tapio Nirko (FIN) in 21st place. Tomorrow, these two will fight it out for the Jorg Bruder Silver Cup while third placed Norbert Wilandt (POL) will try to maintain his 12 point margin over Mark Andrews (GBR).
 
Our time here in Moscow is nearly coming to and end, and it will be sad to leave. All the sailors and officials here have been made so welcome by everyone, and have had a great time. Most have made the time to visit Moscow and see the sights - Red Square, The Kremlin, St Basils, the shopping areas. Life aboard the ship has also been an interesting and different experience, with all the sailors and helpers eating breakfast and often dinner together, creating a community atmosphere that is rarely present at major international regattas. However, it must be said that the ship has taken on the look of a sailing club changing room, with all the corridors decked out with drying wetsuits sand rash vests, along with the natural aroma that only wet wetsuits can create. One factoid this is interesting is that the vessel, the Felix Dzerzhinski, was named after the found of the Cheka, which was the forerunner to the KGB!
 
Before we all head home though, there is still tomorrow to sail, and all eyes will be on Ainslie and Papathansaiou. Between them they are guaranteed first and second. The 4 point margin means that Papathansaiou has to be in the top 5 to stand any chance of winning, and at least 3 places clear of Ainslie. While not pre-empting Ainslie's strategy for tomorrow, some pundits are already expecting a repeat of the Ainslie/Scheidt showdown in the last race of the 2000 Laser regatta in the Sydney Olympics. For third place, Chris Cook has a 12 point margin over Walclav Szukiel, but with the wind the way it is in Moscow, that could all change.
 
The forecast is for a miserable, cold day but with wind. It all starts at 11.00 local time, with live internet coverage through 

Sunday 18th September - Ainslie makes in four in a row
 
Eighteen months ago in Rio, Ben Ainslie (GBR) made history by winning the Finn Gold Cup for the third time in a row. It was only the second time in the event's 48 year history that this had been done. He equalled the record set by Jorg Bruder (BRA) between 1970 and 1972. Today in Moscow, Ainslie has made his own record, winning the Finn Gold Cup - arguably one of dinghy sailing's hardest and most coveted trophies, for the fourth time in a row.
 
 

With a light northerly light wind in the morning, the fleets set sail for the final race of the 2005 Finn Gold Cup. The temperature had dropped to 3 degrees overnight so those sailors who had only brought summer sailing gear found the day rather cold. In fact the Gold fleet sat around for over two hours before a race could be started. The wind changed from one minute to the next and was varying by over 70 degrees. So the race committee waited around in the cold air for it to stabilize.

Finally at just after 13.00, the postponement came down and the fleet got underway. Series leader Ben Ainslie said, “In these conditions I was going to try to control Emilios [the only man who could beat him] from the start.” At the four minute signal, the two were locked together in their own match race. Ainslie succeeded in delaying Papathansaiou’s start, but picked up a penalty himself. “I wasn’t sure if our boats touched, but I did the turns anyway to make sure.”

The two boats started well behind the fleet with Papathanasiou banging the left hand corner in a bid to find a large enough shift to get him back to the front. Ainslie played the shifts and looked ahead half way up the beat when the wind died again and the race officer admitted defeat and abandoned racing. “It was a huge relief when they abandoned,” Ainslie admitted later. “With the wind we have had here this week anything could have happened.”

So Ainslie makes history in being the only sailor to win four Finn Gold Cups, and these in successive years. He won in Athens in 2002, Cadiz in 2003, Rio de Janeiro in 2004 and now Moscow in 2005. His coach David Howlett commented, “Ben’s outright professionalism is the key to his success.”

Ainslie concluded, "The organization is great, I liked the sailing centre but the race conditions were very difficult. I am very happy that I could cope with the wind and win."

Second placed Papathansaiou scores his best Finn Gold Cup result to date, but is still looking for that world championship win that continues to elude him. Third placed Chris Cook (CAN) wins his first major championship medal after being one of the few sailors here to find any sort of consistency.

Meanwhile the silver fleet sailing on course two further down the lake - had just enough wind to start a race at 11.30. The race was characterized by large shifts and flat patches and the left hand side was made more interesting on the third beat with the arrival of a cruise vessel trying to get down the lake. The lead changed several times and it was a surprised Alexey Lavros (RUS) who found himself leading the fleet. He eventually finished 4th with the lead finally going to Class President Balasz Hajdu (HUN) to lift him to third in the fleet. A good 3rd place from Edward Greig (GBR) lifted him to second in the silver fleet, while the ever consistent Giedrius Guzyz (LTU) posted a 6th to win the fleet by 13 points. Full credit must go to the slick race team who managed to change the marks for each and every leg of the race as the wind performed circles around them.

The Junior Finn World Championship was won by Ivan Klakovic Gaspic (CRO) in 18th place, beating defending champion Tapio Nirko (FIN) bu just 8 points. Third placed Norbert Wilandt (POL) finished in 38 place, 58 points behind Gaspic.

 
Interestingly, Ainslie is one of many America's Cup sailors taking time out of their AC dayjobs to sail the Finn. In fact five of them have won races here. From +39,  Rafael Trujillo (ESP), Andrew Simpson (GBR), Chris Brittle (GBR) and Antony Nossiter (AUS) have all won individual races. In addition, both Ainslie and Kevin Hall (USA) - who finished 20th - are with Emirates Team New Zealand.
 
Before the regatta, ISAF World Ranked No 1, Jonas Hogh-Christensen had commented, "Sailing against Ben is like biking against Lance, playing basket against Jordan, driving against Schumacher or playing golf against Tiger. More and more when you look good in a race you start looking around to see if Ben is close to you, if he is not, be ready to get a big shift not going your way. Ben is already a legend in sailing and he will probably be the biggest ever. But bear in mind that legends get beaten. I think Ben looks unbeatable because he has the highest ground level in the world. The rest of us just have to turn it up a level or two, to beat him. If we didn't think that he could be beaten we should start doing something else."
 
Finally a big thank you to Moscow, Moscow Sailing School and the literally hundreds of helpers, staff and officials who have made this championship possible. While the sailors expected difficult sailing conditions, the magnitude of the welcome and the organisation took them completely by surprise. Moscow Sailing School have a first class facility here, and have excelled in running a fabulous regatta, to which the Finn Class has been honored to be invited.
 

Next year's Finn Gold Cup in in the beautiful town of Split, in Croatia. Will Ainslie turn up and try to make it five in a row? Watch this space...

 

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