This week has been one of swings and roundabouts for Jake Lilley (AUS). Leading after two race wins on day 2, he struggled yesterday only to bounce back and win the final opening series race to lead the fleet into the medal race by seven points. Anders Pedersen (NOR) has sailed an exceptional week to move up to second with Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) just one point behind.
Sailed in winds from 18-28 knots, Lilley took control of the only race of the day on the downwind after rounding behind Pedersen. Josh Junior (NZL) was in third for most of the race to make amends for a poor day in Friday and now sits just one point off the podium.
Pedersen has sailed well all week and is close to his first World Cup medal. He has also met his national Olympic committee criteria to qualify for Rio. On the day he said, “The wind kept building when we got out and when we finally started we had a solid breeze. I had good speed and worked my way out to the left and got some good pressure and led at the first mark.”
“Jake caught up on the downwind and we fought up the second beat, with Jake in the lead. I had some trouble with a nosedive on the last downwind and lost two boats, but it could have been a lot worse, so I’m happy with the day.”
Meanwhile, Lilley has regained a points break. “Today we spent a while waiting for the wind, and then for the Nacras to finish. By that time a front had come through and we had about 18 knots of wind.”
“It was a really nice race, pretty much resembling the classic Hyeres Mistral breeze. I just tried to take any risk out of the race. I had an average start and just tried to shut down the players when I had the opportunity and sail the phases.”
“The last downwind picked up a lot, gusting maybe to 28 knots.”
“It was nice to get another win and extend the lead after I had a bit of a shocker yesterday.”
“Then we sat there for a few minutes and the race committee decided to send us in which was a bit disappointing.”
Mathematically any of seven sailors could take gold in the medal race. Nine take a medal. The week will end as it began. Tight.
The medal race line up looks like this:
Jake Lilley (AUS) – The youngest sailor in the fleet at 22. Came into the Finn in 2013 and immediately started to pick up results at junior events, including being Junior European Champion in 2014. He has sailed amazingly well this week and still trying to win national selection for Rio. World ranked No. 8.
Anders Pedersen (NOR) – Was the Junior World Champion in 2014 and surprised everyone by following that up with an eighth at the ISAF Worlds in Santander to qualify Norway for the Olympics. Since then he has been pushing the front of fleet and winning races. World ranked No. 17.
Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) – Three time European Champion and double Olympian, he hasn’t shown the best of form recently, but with his own national trials for Rio concluding at the Finn Gold Cup next week, he is peaking at the right time. World ranked No. 2.
Josh Junior (NZL) – One of the brightest talents in the Finn fleet at the moment and still chasing Olympic selection. Won the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma a few weeks ago after a fourth place at the Europeans. Has a history of being slightly inconsistent and taking risks, but seems to have overcome that this year for his most consistent results since he stepped into the Finn in 2013. World ranked No. 3.
Oliver Tweddell (AUS) – Has been in the class for six years and is a former World No.1 and a six-time medallist at the Sailing World Cup. Was born and raised in England before his family migrated to Australia when he was 15. After a sub-standard 2015 season he has substantially raised his game in the last six months to try and win selection for Rio. World ranked No. 14.
Jorge Zarif (BRA) – Junior World Champion in 2009 and 2013, World Champion in 2013. Only sailor to have won the Junior and World titles in the same year. Also won SWC Miami this year and sailing as well as he has done since 2013 as he heads into a home Olympics. World ranked No. 18.
Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) – The ‘old’ man of the fleet, World Champion in 2006 and 2009, three-times an Olympian and the silver medallist in 2012. Now heading into his fourth Olympics. World ranked No. 12.
Jonathan Lobert (FRA) – The 2012 Olympic silver medallist has struggled this week, but can still take one of the minor medals. Overcame a major obstacle last year with his first ever world championship medal. World ranked No. 4.
Caleb Paine (USA) – Former World. No. 1 and recently survived the very close and stressful US trials, but one of the hardest working Finn sailors around and always sets his sights very high. Winner of two World Cup events. World ranked No. 6.
Max Salmimen (SWE) – Rio will be his first Olympics in the Finn after winning the 2012 Gold medal as crew in the Star class. World ranked No. 9.
Results after seven races
1 AUS 41 Jake Lilley 28
2 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 35
3 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 36
4 NZL 24 Josh Junior 37
5 AUS 261 Oliver Tweddell 39
6 BRA 109 Jorge Zarif 43
7 DEN 2 Jonas Hogh-Christensen 45
8 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 48
9 USA 6 Caleb Paine 54
10 SWE 33 Max Salminen 56
The Finn medal race is scheduled for 12.30. You can watch it live on the World Sailing YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/8HNURakIT7o