The Finn fleet at the World Cup Series in Miami is arguably one of the most competitive Finn fleets to attend Miami in more than a decade. It contains five former world champions, four former European champions, four Olympic medalists, and perhaps more importantly, seven former junior champions.
Last’s years winner at the World Cup Series in Hyères, Alican Kaynar, from Turkey, tops the leaderboard after three more races on Thursday in winds up to 20 knots. Five times world champion, and Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medalist, Giles Scott, from Britain, is on equal points with the Turk, while Rio bronze medalist, Caleb Paine, from the USA, is in third.
The race wins went to Tapio Nirkko, from Finland, Scott and Kaynar. The racing so far in Miami has been very close. Today the breeze was up, pushing 20 knots for the first two races before dropping slightly. It was a testing day on the water with the sailors having to up their work rate to stay in the race and in the boat.
Ed Wright was the early leader in Race 4, but was soon passed by Nirkko and Scott downwind. Nirkko held off Scott on the second upwind tack for tack, and if anything extended slightly. Scott stormed down the final offwind leg and closed right up on Nirkko, but was outside the Finn as they rounded the final mark. At the finish there was just one second in it. Ben Cornish crossed third after moving through the fleet on every leg.
Defending Miami champion Jorge Zarif, from Brazil, led round the top in Race 5, with Scott back in fourth. By the leeward gate Scott was in front, but never really made much more of a gain, crossing the finish just seconds ahead of Zarif and Kaynar.
With the breeze starting to drop slightly, former Miami winner Paine, at his home regatta, took the early led in Race 6. Kaynar was second round and led through the gate. By the last downwind, Zarif and Kaynar were neck and neck, fighting for every metre down the final run. Kaynar had the better angle into the final mark and slid round ahead of Zarif, with current world champion, Max Salminen, from Sweden, passing Paine on the final leg to take third.
After all that excitement, Kaynar moves to the top, tied on 13 points with Scott. Paine moves up three places to sit in third, after a consistently hitting fourth place in each and every race today.
The forecast for Friday is for very similar conditions with winds above 20 knots.
Racing for the Finns in Miami continues until Sunday.
UPDATE: A disqualification for Caleb Paine for a port-starboard contact incident gives Scott a 1 point advantage at the top and changes a few positions further down.
Results after six races (updated Fri 26)
1 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 12.0
2 TUR 21 Alican KAYNAR 13.0
3 USA 6 Caleb PAINE 23.0
4 GRE 77 Ioannis MITAKIS 28.0
5 NOR 1 Anders PEDERSEN 28.0
6 BRA 109 Jorge ZARIF 30.0
7 GBR 11 Edward WRIGHT 36.0
8 SWE 33 Max SALMINEN 37.0
9 CZE 5 Ondrej TEPLY 39.0
10 FIN 218 Tapio NIRKKO 40.0
Full results, live tracking and much more: https://wcs2018-miami.sapsailing.com/