Giles Scott (GBR) has all but secured yet another regatta victory as he takes a 19 point lead into Sunday's medal race at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres. Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) won both races on Saturday to move up to second overall, while Ed Wright (GBR) drops to third.
The wind continued to be uncooperative for the final day of the opening series and with the points very close it was going to be an important day for some. As it turned out, there were again a lot of changes.
In Race 7 Josh Junior (NZL) was the early leader but Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) was on a mission and after rounding the first mark in eighth pulled through the fleet to record his first win of the week. Junior had to settle for second while Zsombor Berecz (HUN) crossed in third.
The final opening series race was also won by Zbogar climbing from sixth at the first mark and taking the lead on the final downwind. Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) rounded the top mark in ninth but also climbed through the fleet to finish second, and move up to fifth overall. Max Salminen (SWE) had his best race of the series, led for some of the race and eventually finished third.
Regatta leader Giles Scott (GBR) scraped an eighth and tenth to actually extend his lead going into the medal race. Only Zbogar can beat him on Sunday. Zbogar, though has a fight on his hands with both Wright and Berecz close enough to deny him a medal.
Scott said, “It was a pretty stressful day for me actually. I just didn’t really get the first beats right and ended up being on the back foot which I was pretty frustrated about as I was starting well and just got the first sector of the first beats all wrong. That kind of left it all to do on the last lap. Fortunately I had some good downwind speed so I was able to pull through on the last run and catch up to eighth I think in the first one, which kind of rescued me going in to the last race.” “I think if you’d told me after race one that I’d have a 19 point gap going into the medal race I’d have said you were a liar. But I was able to be pretty consistent from that first race and fortunately it paid off.”
“It’s a nice place to be going into tomorrow. I’ve just got to make sure I don’t do anything stupid and get round the course without being disqualified. We’ll see what the conditions are like tomorrow – I’m looking forward to it.”
Ed Wright, said, “Going into the medal race in third position with a great chance of getting second is going to be fun tomorrow. It’s going to be all on and the only thing I want is silver – so watch out.”
Vujasinovic was pretty happy with his day. “Today I again had solid starts and always came on upwind marks in the top 15. I sailed very concentrated and made some good decisions. Good boat speed helped too. In the end I can say it was a good day.”
Berecz commented on his week. ”This is my second time in Hyeres in the Finn and my best result so far after a 28h in 2013. This is my favourite regatta and I came here many times before in the Laser. With this new format and the 40 top guys there is very close racing and i really like it. Every move count and you can make big gains as well as big losses. My worst race was a 17th so I am very consistent and very happy especially when most guys collected high scores here. About tomorrow's medal race: I will try to win the medal race ...this is my chance.”
Sunday's medal race start at 11.15 with the Finn scheduled for 12.30 with highlights on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/f7ERcAOFhdM
Results after 8 races
1 GBR 41 Giles Scott 37
2 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 56
3 GBR 11 Edward Wright 60
4 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 69
5 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 77
6 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 82
7 USA 6 Caleb Paine 83
8 NZL 24 Josh Junior 83
9 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 84
10 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 88
Photo: Gabor Cserta