Giles Scott (GBR) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) take an 18 point lead into Saturday’s medal races at the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía MAPFRE in Palma de Mallorca. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) has moved back into third overall, but begins with a much tighter points gap on the chasing boats that the two leaders.
On the second day of finals racing, the fleet enjoyed moderate conditions from 8 to 12 knots with some nice waves to surf downwind. Postma picked up a 3, 1, 2 to close the gap on Scott, who placed 1, 2, 8. Lobert's finishes of 7, 10, 4 were just enough to put him back in a podium position as many sailors had a tough day with inconsistent results.
Scott described the racing, “There was a big righty in the first race that PJ made the most of to have the race pretty much wrapped up by the windward mark. In the second it was a bit more of an even race track with the guys in the middle leading.”
In the silver fleet Milosz Wojewski (POL) won four out of the six races to end up on just 2 points. James Hadden (GBR) and Viktor Filippov (RUS) won the other two to end up second and fourthm while a consistent display from Anrei Ianitski (RUS) left him in third.
It was a great day on the water Postma, “Today I sailed very well in difficult conditions. And that result of today has much influence on how we go in to the Medal Race tomorrow. I'm in a good position. There are 40 points to win tomorrow. That is going to be terribly exciting.”
Class newcomers Josh Junior and Andrew Murdoch (NZL) are sixth and seventh in their first international Finn regatta, while ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami winner Caleb Paine (USA) just missed out on the Medal stage in 11th position.
Murdoch said, “I have been in the class for just over 2 months and this is my first international event. I'm really enjoying the change to the Finn class and look forward to racing the rest of this season. There are so many new things to learn, it's not just the techniques but also the technology in the rigs.”
On his performance so far, “I had no idea how I was going to go prior to the event. It's a great start to my Olympic campaign and I'm really happy with how it's going. I know I have a lot to learn and the fleet will no doubt continue to improve over the next couple of years as well.
Like most sailors he is not convinced the trial scoring format being used this year is the best solution. “It's certainly a change from what we are used to, the importance of the races really steps up as the event progresses. I can see us having issues if the weather plays havoc with the race schedule. We have been fortunate to have very reliable weather at this event so it hasn't caused any issues there.”
Scott has much stronger views. “I think it's no good at all. It brings in a level of randomness and also penalises those who sail consistently, whilst at the same time giving those who have made mistakes almost as good a chance of winning the regatta. In my mind the format is completely flaweded because it hurts those that sail better.”
“I also believe the two medal races to be a bad idea especially with the points being so tight by the end of the regatta with only six races being scored. Most importantly I think that with the Olympics going to a light and potentially shifty venue it's more import that ever to have the fairest scoring system that rewards the consistently good performers.”
The Finns will sail two double scoring medal races on Saturday with a potential 40 points up for grabs. This basically means any of the sailors could potentially win the regatta with only 40 points separating the top ten boats. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Event website: www.trofeoprincesasofia.org
Photos: Pavlina Soukupova