However bad the conditions are or whatever the racing throws at the sailors the same names always seem to rise to the top. And that’s exactly what happened in the Finn fleet on the fourth day at the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Iberostar in Palma. Giles Scott (GBR) is back in his normal place, at the top of the leaderboard in front of the 73 other Finns. Though he traded race positions with the overall leader for the last two days, Josh Junior (NZL), Scott’s redress score from race 4 is working in his favour and gives him a scant 1.2 point lead over Junior. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) remains in third.
Thursday in Palma started with a 7-12 knots breeze that grew through the day to produce a great day for sailing and enjoying the ocean. After a few days of struggling with huge wind shifts, boat damage and a replacement boat, Giles Scott (GBR) was back on form to win the first race of the day from Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Zsombor Berecz (HUN). More importantly for Scott, the previous regatta leader Josh Junior (NZL) was in fourth, which gave the overall lead to Scott for the first time since the opening race.
However in race 8 Junior turned the tables and took his second win of the week from Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Tapio Nirkko (FIN). Scott matched Junior’s day and finished in fourth.
This means that Scott and Junior are starting to move away from the chasing pack with a 14 point gap now separating them from third placed Lobert.
Scott was happy with his day but still getting to grips with the borrowed boat. “I managed to get my head around his boat a little more today and came away with some decent results. It’s not quite the same. It’s taken a little bit of getting used to, but I’m almost there with it and it’s going reasonably well.”
“Josh and myself are very close on points at the top. It's also good to get through today because now my average score is fixed, so I know what I'm dealing with points wise going into tomorrow.” His redress from race 4 was the average score over the first four days of the regatta.
There are several stand-out performances going on lower down the top 10. Alejandro Foglia (URU) is still trying to qualify himself for the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres and for the Rio 2016 Olympics at the Finn Gold Cup later this year. His score line today of 5, 7 is proof that his campaign is on track to achieve both objectives and moves him up to ninth overall.
He said, “Today was beautiful day for racing. Slowly the sea breeze started to build and we ended with about 15 knots and long waves for surfing downwind. It was very enjoyable. The breeze was quite stable with small shifts to play. I am glad with my performance today. My speed was good with the new Fantastica, and the decisions I took were right.”
“In the first race I started close to the pin and after some minutes I had a good cross. I came from the left to the mark and rounded in the top 10. Downwind I was going well and passed some boats to finish fifth. In the second race my start was close to the committee boat and the wind shifted 5 degrees to the left and I went to the right. When the wind came back I was close to the layline and managed to round the mark with the first group and finish seventh."
“Tomorrow two more races to go so nothing is decided yet. I have to keep sailing well and have fun.” Foglia is one of the sailors receiving part funding through the Finn class development programme to train at the Dinghy Academy in Valencia. It’s nice to see this kind of dedication paying off on the water.
Björn Allansson (SWE) also had another good day with an 11, 9 to move up to eighth overall. “I managed two good starts today and making good tactics on the first beat. In both races I rounded well inside the top 10 at the top mark. Then the rest becomes easier.”
Also using a new D-Fantastica hull he said, “My upwind speed has been great, while downwind I’m mixing good with bad. It's all part of the process in learning the feel of the hull. Overall I’m quite satisfied with my day.”
The final qualification races are on Friday before the top 10 advance to the medal race on Saturday.
Results after eight races
1 GBR 41 6 Giles Scott 34.8
2 NZL 24 14 Josh Junior 36
3 FRA 112 13 Jonathan Lobert 50
4 CRO 524 1 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 56
5 FIN 218 26 Tapio Nirkko 57
6 USA 6 2 Caleb Paine 72
7 HUN 40 25 Zsombor Berecz 82
8 SWE 6 4 Björn Allansson 84
9 URU 301 37 Alejandro Foglia 86
10 TUR 21 28 Alican Kaynar 89
Photos (from top): Alejandro Foglia chases Giles Scott, Björn Allansson, Josh Junior, Alejandro Muscat.