Ed Wright (GBR) has taken a comfortable lead at the 2010 Finn Gold Cup in San Francisco after another outstanding day, placing first and third in the two races. Rafa Trujillo (ESP) won the second race of the day to climb to second, while a string of top 10 placings leave Giles Scott (GBR) in third.
After a short postponement to allow time for the wind to clock round and build, the first race was sailed in 10-14 knots with Ed Wright leading at each and every mark. He rounded the top mark from the right with Michele Paoletti (ITA) rounding second from the left. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) rounded third.
Wright took off on the downwind to build a substantial lead with Lobert climbing to second and these two separated from the pack, and most of the fleet favoured the right hand track. Regatta leader Thomas Le Breton (FRA) recovered from a poor first beat to place third.
Race six was then sailed in 14-17 knots with Rafa Trujillo (ESP) leading from start to finish. He rounded the top mark ahead of Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Paoletti, Zach Railey (USA), Bjorn Allansson (SWE) and Wright.
Not much changed on the first downwind but on the second upwind the left side was favoured for a change and while Trujillo and Wright favoured the right, a lot of boats made up a lot of distance.
Trujillo still maintained a narrow lead but Allansson had climbed to second in front of Wright with Giorgio Poggi (ITA) moving to fourth from the right. Trujillo made enough of a break early on the reach to be comfortable in the lead while the fight for second to fifth was very tight.
Poggi eventually found a route under Wright to claim second by a few boatlengths with Dan Slater (NZL) finally finding the front to take fourth on the line from Allansson.
With the drop now coming into effect, Wright now has a 13 point lead with four more races to sail before Saturday's medal race, while the next four boats are separated by only four points. The leader going into today Le Breton drops to fourth while Railey maintains his consistency to end up in fifth, just four points off second. While the points at the top at tight
Poggi said, “Sailing in San Francisco is nice. These are nice conditions and I had a good day. The good thing is that races races are perfect with the wind and you can always gain some positions. In the first race I was about 35th on the first upwind and I finished about 12th as I gained a lot on the last downwind. In the second race I finished second so I am quite happy because I passed many boats on the downwinds and the last reach.”
On the second race, Trujillo said “The downwind was very difficult, the fleet very open and on the second beat the right was not paying at all. But to get out in front the starts are so important as the right side has so far mainly been favoured.”
Lobert commented on his second place, “It was my first good start of the championship. So this week if you have a good start then you have done half of the job. Both Ed and Thomas have been getting good starts, they are always ready to get on the good tack to the right hand side. So this is what I did in the first race. I got out and went right and the further you go the better it gets.
The current European Junior Champion and the runner up last week in the Silver Cup Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) is lying in 28th place overall after a 33rd and a 61st today. He said he is finding it tough to keep sailing at this high level over three weeks. “I am really tired because we have been training hard and it doesn't stop blowing every day, so it's really tough. I enjoy sailing in the breeze but I prefer the lighter winds like we had at the Europeans. I have a hard time but it's OK. I can catch a lot of boats on the downwind legs, but to be good I have to be fast on the upwind too.”
“I am not in top shape at the moment but now I am fighting hard together with men and it's really hard. It's more complicated because you are not in front you have to make make better tactics but it's really good racing. We have over 80 boats, and you have to make space to be in the right place at the right moment and that's hard as well.”
The Silver Cup was sailed off the city front while the Gold Cup is being sailed in the Berkeley Circle. “This place is very different to where we sailed the Silver Cup. There is less current and the wind is more steady. But it's still really tough sailing here, really windy, still lots of current. I think you have to know the place very well to sail here. For the rest of the week I will keep my tactics the same and try and make something out of the races.”
Mitakis is also the leading junior so far this week, though Caleb Paine (USA) and Oliver Twedell (AUS) are very close to him on points. Tweddell is new to the class this year and really enjoying himself.
“It's a bit of learning experience for me, so I am trying to watch all the senior guys to see how they do it. I haven't been sailing the boat for that long and today I getting a bit of a mouthful from Rafa for not going fast enough. He gave me a few pointers on how to get the boat going better. Sailing here is very tough, very hard work, and I am struggling for speed, but downwind is good fun.
“I love sailing the Finn compared to the Laser. I can eat normally, the guys are really great and really keen to help everyone else get along. The Finn is a great boat and I can see myself sailing it for many years to come.
“My learning curve has been pretty steep so far. I learned a lot at the Silver Cup but at the Gold Cup it is even steeper. I started off slowly and have been learning a lot, so that makes it all much more fun.” After a 30th and 28th today Tweddell is lying in 30th place overall.
Sailing Finns in these conditions is all about power. Only the fittest, strongest and smartest survive in these testing waters. The effort to perform, to do well, is immense. After the finish of the free pumping final two races, with boats surfing and planing just metres apart, most of the sailors have to stop to catch their breath and regain their strength after 15 minutes of full on downwind sailing. It could be compared to running a 1500 metres sprint, but on top of two 20 minute upwind legs and a 20 minute flat downwind. No other class needs this level of power and stamina for such long periods as the Finn. If you want to go fast then you need to drive it hard. It is simply awesome to watch.
Racing continues Thursday with two more races scheduled for 13.00, with a one hour postponement already in place as the conditions are forecast for the same as today.
Follow it online at www.finngoldcup.com with live boat tracking from Kattack, live video feed from SailGroove, and live Twitter and blog updates from the Finn Class.
Results after 6 races:
1 GBR 11 Edward Wright 9
2 ESP 100 Rafael Trujillo 22
3 GBR 41 Giles Scott 24
4 FRA 115 Thomas le Breton 24
5 USA 4 Zach Railey 26
6 SLO 5 Gasper Vincec 36
7 CRO 524 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic 49
8 SLO 573 Vasilij Zbogar 55
9 CRO 25 Marin Misura 56
10 GBR 88 Mark Andrews 57
Full results at http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=342
About the event
The Finn Gold Cup, the world championship of the Olympic Finn class runs from Monday 30 August to Saturday 4th September, with two races scheduled each day at 12.00 each day until Friday and the medal race for the top 10 and the final race for the rest on Saturday.
Class website: www.finnclass.org
Event website: www.finngoldcup.com
Class event blog: http://finnclass.blogspot.com
Class Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Finn-Class/110408332633
Class Twitter: http://twitter.com/Finn_Class
Class Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/thefinnchannel