The Finn Gold Cup is an extraordinary collective experience that is second to none in the Finn sailor’s calendar. It brings together sailors from across the world, and across the spectrum of experience and ability. It matches Olympic champions against the best youth in the world; it matches experienced helms against the inexperienced; the young against the old; the knowledgeable against the knowledge hungry; the elite against the club sailor. There is nothing quite like it on the Olympic campaign trail. It is unique to the Finn class and something that is valued and respected by Finn sailors across the world.
It is a fantastic university of sailing with knowledge and experience flowing down and through the fleet, with sailors sharing an understanding of how to sail this simple and yet complex sailboat, both within their own pier groups and most importantly to the new generation of Finn sailors. There are 35 U23 sailors on Balaton this week, all soaking up the experience of the exceptional level of knowledge on offer from the top sailors.
The insight that sailors learn from competing alongside and against such a world-class fleet stay with them for the rest of their lives and set them up to be the world and Olympic champions of the future. You cannot buy this experience; it has to be earned through competing at the Finn Gold Cup. The 113 sailors here are learning this valuable lesson day by day. Even a day spent on shore turns into a valuable learning and bonding experience with conversations and sharing of experience and stories that educate and clarify the magic of sailing a Finn.
Max Salminen of Sweden will go into Sunday’s medal race at the Opel Finn Gold Cup with a seven-point advantage at the top of the leader board after no more races were sailed on Day 6 in Balatonföldvár.
For the second day running no racing was possible, despite a promising forecast. The expected wind arrived far too late to be useful and the time limit expired before a race could be held.
The sailors were held on shore until mid afternoon, until, with the time limit of 16.00 approaching, the fleet was released at 14.20 to wait on the lake to make the best use of any wind. Within 10 minutes the decision was rewarded with a sailable wind, however by the time the sailors arrived at the start line the wind had evaporated.
Thirty minutes later the race committee smelt some wind further south and moved over to investigate. It soon signalled everyone to follow and all support and coach boats were called upon to tow the fleet half a mile south to meet the incoming wind.
Time was tight with the deadline fast approaching, and the race committee did a fantastic job setting up a course and a start line in time to hoist the orange flag at 15.55, the latest possible time.
However at 1 minute to go before the start the wind shifted 30 to 40 degrees, skewing the start line and the upwind, which meant the race committee had no option but to abandon racing for the day, as the time limit had passed.
So the results from Thursday decide the medal race line-up.
The medal race is planned to be held first on Sunday with any of the top five sailors mathematically capable of winning the title. Only Ed Wright, of Britain, has won the title before, in 2010. After that race has been sailed the final race from 11th and up is scheduled.
The tentative plan is to stream the medal race live on the Finn Class Facebook page, with commentary, so hopefully the technology will work. Keep your eyes on the social media for updates from 10.00.
Medal race sailors
1 SWE 33 Max Salminen 31
2 GBR 11 Ed Wright 38
3 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 38
4 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 48
5 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 49
6 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 53
7 POL 17 Piotr Kula 60
8 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 65
9 NOR 1 Anders Pedersen 81
10 CRO 69 Milan Vujasinovic 84